Over the last couple of days, I’ve had two adults that I greatly respect look at me and say “God is using this to heal you and to grow you.” I’ve had those same adults tell me that I am not that girl anymore, regardless of my feelings, regardless of my nagging self-doubt, regardless of my fear, I am someone different in Christ, and when He said that I am new in Him, when He said that He would give me eternal life and that nothing could change that, no one could snatch me from His hand, He meant it.
And this whole time, during a particular battle, the largest most solitary war I’ve never been able to win, I’ve been operating, if you will, as if this exists outside of God’s realm, as if it’s not important to Him, as if, because it’s not my calling on rain from the sky, it’s not my saving masses of my classmates, it’s not my pushing myself beyond my limits, then it’s not important to His grand plan for the whole of humanity. It’s just a struggle I need to shut down and ignore so I can just do what He wants, because what I want doesn’t matter.
It’s in my struggle, especially this one, which has roots that reach down to the very marrow of my bones and the strings of my heart and the core of my spirit, that God is so glorified…isn’t that part of His grand plan for the whole of humanity? His glorification, the growth and goodness of His disciples, His children, His beloved, and the salvation of everyone is His desire and will for the world. So wouldn’t the healing of this deep, difficult, seemingly impossible struggle that causes my heart to hurt and ache be part of that plan? When did I fall into thinking that my struggles aren’t important?
God brings us to Him through our struggles, right (1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:10)? Christ redeems us from ourselves, makes us new, heals us, changes us, sanctifies us, makes us sufficient (2 Corinthians 3:4-6, 18). So, if I’m in Christ, don’t all of these things apply to me?
During my time with the Brocks, as I talked to Uncle Doug and Aunt Lori about relationships, marriage, Christ, spiritual warfare, and the journey that is my walk and relationship with the one true God, Uncle Doug and I had a random lesson in French. I realize it seems unrelated, but trust me: I’m French.
Anyway, after a day at Albany, New York’s state capital, gathered together with a thousand or so political Christians, listening to Rick Santorum rally the troops, and being challenged by Jason McGuire and talking to our assemblymen and our senators, Christina, Hannah, Uncle Doug, and I drove home in the young darkness of the fading day. We were talking about communication, and I was telling Uncle Doug about my and Jacob’s “argument” about the fact that he, as a viking from the North Sea, stole all of my croissants and burned my villages, leaving nothing left except, yep, my white flags 😛
Uncle Doug and I then talked about French grammar, and it divided itself into uses of “avoir” (to have) and “etre” (to be, with an accent circumflex sitting atop the primary “e” of the verb). He’d said “Je suis francais” and then I went on to explain that nationality would be appropriately used to describe a subject using “etre”, but when you say “I’m hungry,” for example, you use “avoir,” as in “J’ai faim.” This literally means “I have hunger.”
Uncle Doug pointed out the change in being identified as something (nationality) to instead saying that you’re almost putting on something (hunger), and it acts almost the same way as our identity in Christ. I may have weakness, or feel the wear and tear of it, but in Christ I am not weak. I may feel angry, or jealous, but I am, in Christ, patient and complete. It is inappropriate to identify as being angry or jealous or grouchy or afraid, when, in reality, according to God’s word, I am actually none of those things.
Let me explain.
When I, as a daughter of Christ, say “I am afraid,” this, grammatically, virtually, is a lie. Because I have been renewed in Christ, I am courage and bravery, ability and joy, determination and strength. I may feel scared, or I may experience an overwhelming temptation to run in fear, but I am not afraid. In Christ, I am brave and strong and able.
Do not mistake me: apart from Christ, I am insecure, afraid, worthless, incapable, paralyzed, worried, bad, and depressed. But, see, I’m not apart from Christ. I’m living in Him, and I can never be snatched out of His hand.
This is not a list of self-empowering maxims that I say to myself in the mirror every morning, sayings that might help me maybe feel good about myself for a few hours or maybe even a day or two, but genuine truth about who I am and who God is, valid and foundational and solid, unmovable realities that exist only because God is the rock upon which I stand and is all that He says He is, and His word is unchanging, absolute, and pure in every way imaginable and more so.
So why on earth am I living like I’m anything less than His daughter, like I’m one rank below the most significant soldier in His army, like I’m outside the realm of His power and beyond the scope of His love, like my struggles and difficulties are limits to who He is, and surely this isn’t important enough for Him to fight for me? I am a child of God, made royalty by the King of kings, made sufficient by the Provider of all good things and all necessities of life, made beautiful by the Creator of the universe, made righteous by the blood of the Perfect One. I am a soldier and I am equipped with all I need to take on this life and the enemies of my God, characterized by bravery, valiant acts, and courage, significant, important, and invaluable. I am overwhelmed by His love and filled with the power of His Holy Spirit, and I am not the same.
Can I fall? Yes, but I never stay fallen. Can I fail? I can certainly feel like it, but I walk in Christ’s victory on the cross, and He’s already won, therefore my failure is never truly failure, and any hopelessness or feelings of inadequacy are never more than a lie. My hope is valid and true, because the One in whom it’s placed is real, unchanging, perfect, powerful, strong, and faithful.
When in Romans God says via Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” He meant it. There is no condemnation. Zero. So why in the world do I act like Satan can condemn me, that he can stand there and bring everything up and knock me down with it? He has no claim on me and never will. He is certainly an adversary, and a powerful, capable enemy, but he has lost. He does attack me, and he does tempt me, and I do give in to believing the lie that I’m still under his power and the law of sin and death. But this is false. “The law of the Spirit of life has set me free in Christ Jesus,” and that freedom is very real and will never be taken away from me.
This battle, though it seems impossible, and though I may again fall into the mindset of believing my struggles are unimportant, that God can’t use them and I’ll simply be stuck with trying to ignore them, that I’m afraid and am a slave to that fear, I trust God in His ability to remind me once again of who I am in Him.
“Let us hold fast the concession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” —Hebrews 10:23, ESV