I have a secret. I have kept it for years. It is the kind of secret that you don’t dare tell, if not for fear of the possible consequences, for fear that no one will listen. Both outcomes are unwelcome and damaging in their own right.
My friends and I have shared this secret and all its grisly details over eager sips of coffee after long overnight shifts, our voices heightened in our rage and our exhaustion. I had hurriedly whispered conversations with my coworkers during hasty smoke breaks and bathroom trips. These were girls with whom I had nothing in common – save our employment and our secret. Sometimes we exploded. Sometimes we wept.
It is not that I am weary from this business of silence; I have not broken. But I realize now that I have no reason to let my anger lie dormant. The injustice has become unpalatable.
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My life has not been extraordinary. I have not suffered outside the realms of the normal human experience. I have only been confronted by grief and loss as we all have or will, and I do not carry heartache with me. Instead, I keep it in a box on my bookshelf, and sometimes late at night when the window is open and the world has stopped its noises I open it. In the moonlight it shines. I cry and this is precious.
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Do you live under a burden of guilt and condemnation, feeling unrighteous, unworthy, and insecure? Are you a people-pleaser, always looking for the approval of others?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then God wants to help you move beyond those feelings, Why? Because they not only affect your personal relationships, but also your prayer life and your ability to be promoted. And I can tell you from personal experience, they certainly steal your joy and your peace—and that is not God’s will for you or anyone else.
I believe there are two states that can cause us to desire the approval of people: being emotionally wounded and being caught in a pit of self-pity.
Wounds that won’t heal
Because I grew up in an environment of sexual and verbal abuse, I thought I was wounded beyond healing. Worse, I projected the personality of my earthly father onto God and was sure that, like my father, God was impossible to please.
If you have been hurt and wounded by people who were difficult to please, you may think God is the same way. He isn’t! It is not as difficult to please God as we may think. Simple, childlike faith pleases Him. He already knows we will not behave perfectly all the time. That is why He sent Jesus to pay for our failures and mistakes.
God has no problem with the knowledge of what we lack; we are the ones who have problems with it. We often find it difficult to admit to ourselves or anyone else that we are anything less than perfect.
Remember, God is not surprised by your inabilities, your imperfections, or your faults. He has always known everything about you and He chose you on purpose for Himself.
Once we understand how God sees us through Christ, we can refrain from being oversensitive to what people think about us, and feeling bad about ourselves. We don’t have to be addicted to their approval, because we already have God’s approval!
Self-pity: The Self-curse
When we’re living to try to please others, we see our weaknesses as “curses.” They’re the things in our lives that we just can’t do anything about and will surely be our downfall in the end. It’s easy to see how this way of thinking can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The cure for this is simple: Give God not only what you are but especially give Him what you are not. It is easy to offer Him our strengths, but we should also offer Him our weaknesses because His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Don’t hold anything back; give God everything!
For years, I struggled with guilt and condemnation…and feeling like I had to “pay” for my sins by feeling bad about myself. If it was a “little” sin, I might feel bad for a few days. But if I really blew it, it would send me on a two-week guilt trip.
During one of these particularly bad episodes, the Lord spoke to my heart and asked, “Joyce, do you believe the blood of my Son Jesus paid the price for your sins?” I said, “Yes, I do.” He replied, “Well, if you plan on receiving this forgiveness two weeks from now, why don’t you just receive it now and begin enjoying your life again?”
I learned that feeling guilty over my weaknesses doesn’t accomplish one single thing! I don’t believe I have to add my guilt to His sacrifice. His sacrifice was complete and perfect, and no work of my flesh can improve on what He has done.
I love maps. Topographical, road, flight maps, ancient there-be-dragon maps and modern maps with ever-changing borders. An elementary school assignment — I can’t remember what grade — involved writing a log for a trip around the world. You could start and end wherever you wanted. I remember visiting Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Delhi, Tokyo, Perth, the Easter Islands, trekking high into the Andes, then to Rio, Mexico City, the Grand Canyon, way up to the Hudson Bay, and then landing back in my hometown in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I avoided the USSR. It was the late ’60s but it was before détente. I can still say that it was my all-time favorite school assignment ever.
For all my love of the earth “graphies” — topography, geography, cartography — I struggle with defining a sense of place where I live today. Pigspittle, Ohio, isn’t on a map. It is a nickname for a real place that…
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I have been forced, through sheer volume of Twitter exposure, to learn what #Gamergate is.
I’m not a gamer. Never have been. I have no reason to take any interest at all in the internal politics of the gaming community. But there’s this stupid hashtag peppering my Twitter feed, compelling me to find out what the hell it means.
Well, sort of. I know what some of its proponents say it means and I know what basically all of its opponents say it means. To be frank, I don’t care how it started (actually, given that the term was coined by Adam Baldwin, I’m actively bummed to know how it started) or whether the original accusation of bias has any merit (seems like it doesn’t, but I’m not going to do enough research to be able to speak with any authority on that). Here’s what I care about: Gamergate…
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God wants to take you to levels higher than you’ve ever been before.
When you begin to understand the levels of favor, opportunity, influence, promotion, health and creativity God has for you, you’ll never be the same.
Obstacles won’t intimidate you. Naysayers won’t discourage you. Limitations won’t hold you back.
No matter what the circumstances around you look like, I want you to get this down in your spirit today…
God wants to bless you in every area of your life! You aren’t called to barely get by. You weren’t created to struggle through each day, barely paying bills, frustrated at work, unhappy at home.
As a child of Almighty God, you are a joint-heir with Christ Jesus. Every good and perfect gift from the Father is available to you.
Success is your birthright!
That means that every setback is temporary. Every roadblock is artificial. Every limitation can be overcome.
I want to encourage you that we serve a God who strategically orders our steps. He is not random — He is precise and accurate.
God has already laid out His good plan for your life… down to the smallest detail.
Just as God will strategically use good breaks, promotions and the right people, God can also use adversities, disappointments and closed doors to move you toward your destiny. It might seem difficult right now, but if you’ll keep moving forward, one day you will see how God can use it for your ultimate success.
You may never know why you’re going through a challenging time, but you can come back to this core truth that God knows what He is doing. His plan for your life is better than you can imagine.
God is bringing you to a place of
Make this declaration a part of your daily life:
I am blessed for success. I am in it to win it. I will not let what somebody said about me, this rejection, this breakup, this closed door, this disappointment, or this sickness cause me to get sour. God strategically placed me here. I will succeed because God is for me, and He will provide everything I need.