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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ramblings from the Heart

I've never been a secure person, especially when I was younger. I might have looked sure of myself, but it was only a fa├žade. Behind it, I was scared to death. I put up a shield of protection and was very aloof. This shield and my fear kept me apart from others. I had difficulty making friends.

Part of my anxiety is that there is a part of my body that is different from anyone I've ever known. Because this difference was pointed out by school mates, "friends", and even in disgust by my paternal grandmother (as if it was something I had any control over), this only intensified my insecurity. It's exhausting living life trying to hide a part of your body.

I looked for attention in all the wrong ways. I felt shame and didn't like myself very much as a young adult.

As I got older, I focused on advancing in my career. I thought this is what I needed to help me to feel better about myself. I would puff up with all of my accomplishments and tried to find my worth in what I did, when I needed to find it in who I am.

It's only been in recent years that I've truly been able to understand my true worth is based on. It is not my job, the shape my body is in, how I dress or how my hair looks, who my friends are or how much money I have. My worth comes from my relationship with Christ.

I've learned that God loves me no matter what. I don't have to do anything to earn this love. I am His child and He loves me, and that will never change. When I sin (I am human - it's inevitable), He doesn't love the sin but still loves ME.

I've had a hard time accepting this because I haven't always felt lovable. I've made mistakes in the past and didn't understand how God could love me. I used to think He sat in constant judgment of me and rained down punishment for my past sins.

Instead, I'm learning that we worship a merciful God. A never changing God who I believe is GOOD, and I believe the promises that He has made to all of us.

1. He promises to supply every need we have.

This does not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs. We have to learn to be happy with what He provides, and allow Him to work in our lives and bless us with more if this is what He desires for us.

2. He promises that His grace is sufficient for us.

He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. It is through obedient faith that we have access into the grace of God.

3. God promises that His children will not be overtaken with temptation.

He assures us a way of escape will be provided. No matter what situation you might be in, there will be a way out. Save yourself heartache and look for it. Put your relationship with God and what He wants for you above immediate gratification.

4. God has promised us victory over death.

He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection.

5. God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, for instance when I watch my mom suffer over the death of my dad, or how two of my friends are watching their grandchildren suffer with cancer. But only HE knows what lies ahead. We only see the here and now. He sees the big picture. He promised it, and He will deliver.

6. God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved.

Baptism is the outward expression of our inward transformation.

7. God has promised His people eternal life.

This life is only temporary. I believe our real home is in Heaven.

I'm 51 years old and I'm still a work in progress. My emotional self is learning to be submissive to the spiritual.

I'm still insecure, but not as much. I reach out to people more easily now. I try not to focus on what is wrong, but what is right within me. I still have bad moments but they don't last as long as they used to.

Being a Christ follower doesn't always make life easier. Bad stuff still happens. For me, at least, it makes the inconsistencies of life easier to handle when you put Him in charge. In the spirit of the season, I am thankful for this most of all.

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.
Psalms 86:5