20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! - Psalm 107:20-21
Let’s be real - looking at our own sin and owning it is hard. It’s super easy to look at the path another person is walking, and immediately discern the potholes in their path, isn’t it? We can look at someone who gives everything they have to their job and know that 10 years down the road, they will struggle to find a meaningful relationship with their children. We see the generational strongholds other parents are creating for their children when they constantly jump in to fight their battles or protect them from anything challenging. We can listen to someone share their refusal to forgive from a deep hurt and know that will impact their future relationships in such a damaging way. It’s easy to recognize the dangers in the path of someone who struggles financially, yet still finds money for those new shoes or that vacation. We know the woman who has unrealistic expectations for her husband will eventually find herself feeling trapped and alone in her marriage. We know the person who walks into our office to gossip about yet another co-worker, or complain about the latest directive from management, will find themselves alienated and alone or without a job. Our hearts can break for the person who continually comes to us struggling with the brokenness in their lives - they suffer with depression, anxiety, loneliness, broken relationships, yet they will not pick up Scripture on a regular basis and spend any meaningful time in it. It’s so incredibly easy to look at the path of destruction for others when we see their pride, their critical spirit, their anxiety, and know exactly where they’re headed, but so incredibly difficult to look at our own path and recognize our own sin.
We also have a tendency to push the blame of what’s happening in our own life onto external factors rather than looking down at where our feet are in recognizing that we are the ones on the wrong path. We place the blame of a broken marriage onto our spouse, stuck in the camp that they’re the ones who need to change. We excuse our enabling behavior for our children, let’s be real - our idolatry of our children - because we just don’t want them to struggle like we did. We use the comforts of gossiping about another person when we’re frustrated, claiming we’re just doing it because we need prayer or wisdom. We turn to food, or the TV, or spending money with the excuse that God understands the rough day I’ve had - He put me here in this situation. Or worse yet, we excuse away our lack of dedicated time with Him because He’s the one who dictates our schedule. If He wanted me to spend more time with Him, then He wouldn’t have given me such a crazy schedule. I cringe at each one of those because I’ve used all of those excuses in my life. I literally had to have someone tell me that God would never create a schedule for me that doesn’t allow for Him, I created that one all on my own. It’s so hard to look in the mirror and own the sin that lives inside of us.
The people in this passage know the sin in their hearts, yet they continue. We do, too. We know what we should be doing, but we continue to turn to the comforts of the world because it’s easier, it’s quicker, and it feels more tangible in the moment. Why do we take our struggles to others as gossip? Because the feeling we get when people side with us in our hurt or anger feels good. Why do we turn to food when we’re stressed? Because the immediate gratification we get feels good. Why do we pack our schedule? Because it makes us feel accomplished or important. We continue to turn to the comforts of this world over the Comforter because we esteem comfortable living more than we esteem redemption. We want to feel good. We want things to be easy. What He wants is for us to have redemption, but that’s hard work. That takes us looking hard in the mirror at ourselves, peeling back layers of strongholds and behaviors to find the sin that lies beneath it all...and that means coming face to face with our fears and past hurts. It takes releasing it when we do finally own it, and trusting that a God who doesn’t initially appear as tangible as that friend giving us false comfort will fight the battle, redeem the sin, and walk us to the path of freedom. That’s hard work. It’s way easier to find comfort in a chocolate cake shake and a large order of fries.
I’m so appreciative of the fact that God has given me the incredible gift of time in this diagnosis - time to reflect and look hard in the mirror of who I’ve been and why I’ve done the things I’ve done in life. When we’re running the race, it can be hard to slow down long enough to see the truth in our lives. My schedule was always packed and my life was full of responsibilities - wonderful, delightful responsibilities I truly enjoyed being a part of, but each one of them also served as a huge distraction to what He was trying to show me. He intentionally pulled me off the track for a little while and is giving me the time to dig deep into my heart. I’ve been more and more humbled at this GIFT over the last few weeks. He truly is a magnificent God.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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