What do you see when you look into the mirror?
Well, first, let me tell you what I see when I look into the mirror.
I see brokenness. I see a rugged, beat-up past full of constant failure that somehow continues to cycle. You see, I struggle with living in fear of sinning… again and again. Because I know I will. I know I will hate the sin, as I should. I know I’ll be disgusted with myself yet again. It is almost as if the guilt never goes away. It is a constant battle that deteriorates my very being. My self-worth continues to depreciate as I act against my core values. My joy is constantly being given to thieves. My voice silenced haunted by my own past.
I HATE looking in the mirror. I HATE what I see. I HATE how daunting he is.
I run from accepting reality; I seek validation and acceptance from the world. I desperately ask people to pray for me instead of going to God myself. I am not knocking asking for prayer at all. I think it is critical in life to live in community with others. But hear me out… I am saying that my priorities were screwed up. I would run to others before I ran to God and we are told that God is our refuge…
Well, is He really if I continue to run to people before Him?
When I run full-force to people before God, my desperate need to be fulfilled and forgiven… let us call it, my momentum… carelessly plows right into people. And they cannot handle my burden, nor can I handle their burden! God is the only one who can handle the oh, so, heavy burden of mine and yours.
Accepting God’s grace and mercy is the hardest thing I get to do every… single… day! Not only do I struggle to accept God’s grace on my life every day, but I even wrestle with fleeing from repentance sometimes. My sins become my Nineveh. I refuse to go and allow God to fix them. I run from the only one that can fulfill the empty voids inside of me and heal my wounds by showing up in my weaknesses.
For a long time, I would run and choose to stay in my guilt continuing to allow my past to beat me up. What I was really doing was allowing scar tissue to form on top of untreated wounds. This is obviously not healthy. As long as I am stricken with the guilt of my sins, I will be captive to them, and will often find myself re-committing the very sins about which I feel most guilty. The guilt continues to deteriorate my very being form the inside out. I allow my heart to harden like allowing scars to form over an open, unclean wound thinking that covering them will somehow fix the problem within.
BUT… And that is a BIG BUTT because God likes big butts and he cannot lie… BUT…
If I allow and accept Grace into my life, it will sterilize my utterly, deep wounds. If I choose to rip open those painful scars and treat my wounds, grace will forgive. Grace will purify. It might take time and some alcohol on my wounds, but it will purify. My sins try to drown me, but Grace will always dive deeper to rescue me.
When we sacrifice our desire to seek acceptance and approval from our peers, our social media accounts, or anything else that we run to, God blesses us with Himself and fulfills the very desire we slaughtered on the altar. God wants our weaknesses. Yes, the weaknesses that lies so deep within us that we are so frightful of, those ones. We may not even know they are there. But, they are. Or. We may not understand what they are. But, He can.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
My inability to be good, to be sinless, is a daily blessing that points me back to God’s grace through the Gospel. It is indeed, the blessing of a thorn in my flesh. It is like God bounding Israel to disobedience so that grace could be given to Gentiles and the rest of the world too! He wants to show everyone mercy!
Too often I get stuck in my own inabilities, my failures, and my weaknesses. But they are just a liability when I choose not to acknowledge them. I must constantly remind myself that God yearns for my good side (Israel) and He wants my bad side (Jacob). He is the God of Jacob and He is the God of Israel. He boldly tells us that His strength is perfected in our weaknesses. If we choose to stay stuck in our weaknesses, we refuse God’s gift to work in and through us. We are saying no to God whom so selflessly desires to share His glory with us! If we confess our sins and give our weaknesses to God, He may just deliver us to save the many just like He did with Joseph being delivered into slavery to become the one who saves the nation during extreme famine.
It is through the Gospel that I am no longer bound every single day. It is through grace that I have the opportunity of choosing forgiveness and freedom. It is through Christ that God shines his glory on and through me! And, on top of that; it is He who gives me purpose. I get to be a transparent vessel that allows God to shine his glory on me and through me impacting the lives surrounding me! The Gospel changes everything about me and those around me!
God’s grace called me out of the grave. He watered my seed that I dug so deep. It is my choice every day to keep digging and die OR to ask the Holy Spirit to awaken inside of me so that I can continue to grow and sprout. The hard part is, my past has left a rocky trail that I need to go through in order to sprout and it is screaming at me to keep digging. It seems so daunting.
God casts his seeds wherever He pleases. He threw me upon incredibly good soil which I have carelessly saturated with boulders and weeds. My past decisions have created a rocky future to fight, but I know there is hope gleaming through. The rocks in the soil make it difficult for my seed to grow, but I see the hope piercing through my abyss of darkness. It is moving around the dirt in my life. Hope and Grace are creating the pathway for me to overcome these obstacles and I will be stronger for it.
I choose if I allow the rocks to blur my intended purpose to grow. I choose if I will focus on the reward of sprouting and being told, “Well done, good and faithful.” I have faith that through my fight to grow through this rocky soil I have created, I will inspire others to choose to fight through their rocks as well.
Every day you get to accept God’s grace through the Gospel. Do not let your sins and your past leave you in that broken, dismantled grave. Take your focus off of yourself in the mirror and look at Jesus who has created the pathway and your ability to grow and sprout! Preach yourself the Gospel of grace every single day! RISE UP! Reach the surface and breathe!
So, let me ask you again…
What do you see when you look into the mirror?
Do you see yourself bound by guilt, or do you see yourself free with grace?