Sunday, April 15, 2018

For anyone who's also struggling with this


(I have SOOO much that I want to say about this topic, but I don't think I can say it all yet, so I wanted to say a little.)

Over the past couple years, especially, God has really been showing me some profound insecurities, misconceptions, and struggles that have lodged themselves in my soul.  He's helping me root them out, but I've got a feeling it will be a years-long process.  They go very deep.

In the midst of discovering my fears, God has showered me with confirmation that they are not unique to me.  I believe these are issues that many of us deal with.  The problem is that we don't talk about them, and that needs to change.

I mean things like:

- perfectionism
- works-based approval (both from God and from others)
- religiosity & legalism

These problems can manifest themselves with symptoms such as:

- inability to believe that you are truly "free in Christ"
- tendency to overanalyze even insignificant thoughts, decisions, etc.
- wondering whether you're idolizing something or someone you deeply love
- inability to let your mistakes go 
- inability to rest in your spiritual life

We're ever striving, striving, striving.  Ever feeling like we haven't quite reached the mark -- like there's a little more we could and should give.  Never feeling like it's okay to say, "That's enough for now"; not wanting to settle down and be at peace or "do something for us" --  something fun and frivolous and "not spiritual" -- because we equate peace (a gift of the Holy Spirit) with complacency, and we believe that being "all in" for God means shunning anything that even slightly resembles satisfaction for our "flesh." 


Forgetting that maybe sanctification is actually a thing and maybe it's actually a process and maybe that's actually okay.  (I mean, were the disciples magically perfect when they received Jesus' call?  A resounding "heck no" to that.  Well, then, did Jesus give up on them in disgust because they weren't instantly perfect?  How about another resounding "heck no".)

Forgetting that "every good and perfect gift comes from above" (James 1:17). 

Forgetting that "God . . . richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17). 

Forgetting that having doubts, questions, and fears doesn't automatically boot you out of the Kingdom.  (Remember Thomas?)

Forgetting that the Spirit gives different people different gifts, and that it's a crying shame when we fool ourselves into thinking our gifts and talents and callings aren't "spiritual" enough (1 Corinthians 12:14-27). 

Forgetting that when Jesus prayed for His disciples the night before His crucifixion, He didn't pray that God would remove our humanity, but that He would purify it (John 17:15).  (Michael Lloyd has great things to say about the whole issue of hating our humanity in his CafĂ© Theology.)

(random bunny because bunnies are happy)

I could go on, but, again, I can't cover it all right now.  Hopefully more will be coming soon over on my other blog (link on my sidebar).

Suffice it to say, for now, that I believe there are lies that the enemy has spoken into our souls, and it's been hurting my heart today to think about how deeply we've fallen for them -- what damage they've caused our mental, emotional, and spiritual psyches, what scars they've left on us.  So I wanted to hopefully speak some truth and love into this kind of situation (and please understand that I need to latch onto this every bit as much as you might).  I think this is one of the main things it comes down to: we haven't really grasped, deep down in our souls, that we -- individually -- are loved by God.  And there is something so broken in the outlook of a Christian who doesn't believe God adores them.


Beauty, please believe that you are loved.

That's what I want to leave you and I with today.  We think we're clinging to God by a thread, and that any mistake or mishap could break it and send us plunging.  We also think that we're the ones doing the running after God, as if He isn't running after us too -- more than that, He was running after us first.  First and always.

So if this is you -- if you struggle with feeling like you never perform well enough for God, if every slip-up has the potential to send you into a whirlwind of self-doubt, if you don't truly believe down in the core of you that God loves you voluntarily and passionately -- please try to believe this instead.  Please allow this message to sink down into your soul and dare to believe that it might be true:

You are not alone and you will not be given up on.  


(P.S. I'm right here trying with you, and I'd love to talk. Please feel free to reach out. We need each other. <3)


18 comments:

  1. AAAhhhh, this makes me so happy! Because AMEN AMEN AMEN AND AMEN TO EVERY. SINGLE. THING. YOU. SAID.

    Ohhh, it's so uplifting and incredible to know other people feel the same. Those three things (Perfectionism, legalism and religiosity and works-based approval) are all things I've struggled with in my past, and still am to date. But God has done miraculous things in my heart and given me ample opportunities to have deep talks and read books that have helped clear my thoughts in those areas. If people out there are still hurting and trying to strive in being "good enough" for God but always coming short, falling flat, and feeling ashamed and frustrated, then I just want to yell out that that is not the end of things and THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!!! There is HOPE, and PEACE and JOY and FREEDOM and LOVE but mostly importantly there is GRACE in the Lord. He can give us faith to move mountains. Nothing is impossible. And His love is the strongest force out there.

    Amen with everything Olivia! <3 <3 <3

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    1. This comment made my day Gabby!!! :D Also since your email with the video I somehow can hear your voice when I read your comment, it's a weird thing I can do, I think it's vocal memory or something?? Anywho!

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    2. AMEN TO WHAT YOU SAID, GABBY!! It's definitely been encouraging to know that other people -- including you! -- have struggled with this too, and that we're getting out of these lies together with the help of Christ. <3 Thank you for sharing, Gabby!!

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  2. This was an amazing post, and I feel like more people need to read it. God loves us and is there for us, he’s our cornerstone in all things, and we ought to strive to obey his word and just be held, turning away from the lies of flesh and man. God’s grace is greater than all our short fallings, all our sins—it’s so relieving to hear other people say these things.

    God bless!

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    1. Amen, Bekah!! Thank you so much for your comment. <3 Hope you're doing well! God bless you, too! :D

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  3. oh you have no idea how badly I needed this post today!!!

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    1. I'll be back to comment more, just waiting for a certain gentleman (see my latest post) to arrive at the park :) and am typing this on my phone :-D

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    2. Oh, Evie, I'm so glad!!! We'll get through this with God's help. <3

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  4. Great post, Olivia! It's very encouraging to think that God won't give up on us. I thought of this song after I read your post:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DavJ9UKS2ps

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    1. Thank you so much, Katherine! And thank you for giving that link! That is a good song. Blessings!!

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  5. I have so many thoughts on this.

    God has been revealing how much I have let shame drive a wall between me and Him. He has shown me how fully the blood of Jesus covers future sins as well as past. And then the disciples! HOLY COW THEY WERE THE WORST. Anyway, God is incredible. Big fan.

    ALSO: I've learned that the process is the most important time because it's the time that we can give everything to Him, even the ugly stuff. I love the process (even though it can be really tough).

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    1. AMEN, EVANGELINE!! So true. Maybe God is honored more when we're willing to give EVERYTHING to Him, even our brokenness and inadequacies.

      So glad I have sister-friends like you to discuss this with! <3

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  6. THANK YOU for writing this post, Olivia! I struggle so, so much with perfectionism and overanalyzing things, and it can be so exhausting. I'm so hard on myself when I make even the smallest of mistakes, and in those moments it's so easy to forget that God loves me unconditionally, and that nothing can change His perfect love.

    "You are not alone and you will not be given up on." Yes, yes, yes. I so need to remind myself of that truth when I start buying into the lies of the enemy.

    Again, this post was beautiful and much-needed. Thank you for sharing this, friend. <3

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    1. Awwww, thank YOU for this comment, Molly! I'm so glad it encouraged you. We're definitely in this together!! <3333

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  7. *relates very hard*. Thank you for writing this. I really needed that reminder!
    It's so hard sometimes to believe that God really loves us...just as much as He loves everyone else, and doesn't expect us to be perfect. If we were perfect, there'd be no grace, and no reason that He came!
    So thank you, Olivia for this reminder.
    Love ya' girl! :)

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    1. Ahhhh, thank you, Christina!!

      Amen. <333

      (And just so you know, YOUR most recent post was amazing, too, and a needed reminder. <3 So thank you!)

      Love you too! :D <3

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  8. WOW. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS!!! I really needed to hear this right now!! (also the pic of gold paint is soooooo aesthetic, I must steal it ;))

    Thank you again girl! This post was amazing!! <3

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    1. Thank YOU, Miss Woodhouse!! <3 <3 <3 :) (And steal away! I stole it from Pinterest, so. ;))

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