Therefore confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
It is amazing when the Lord takes the blinders off our eyes and suddenly we can see something that we were totally blind and completely missed the obvious.
For years I have been working under the mistaken assumption that God had a plan for my life and and I messed it up. Not only that, I probably messed up His back up plans B, C and D as well. So my posture has been to make the best of things but not really fully embrace them as Gods intended plan.
To back up a bit - I got to a place of being able to begin to tell my story to some trusted friends and in so doing I began to hear my own spin on things and suddenly realized how it was kind of warped and twisted in places. I realize that in all my 30 some years of walking with the Lord I have never really felt safe to share my struggles. I have been the person who has been the strong one for everyone else but never let many people get close enough to really share my struggles. I think much of it comes from years of being in church leadership, there was no place for leaders to be open and vulnerable. To do so was to risk the loss of ones position or ministry or to be made and example of how not to do things.
I remember being told by one pastor that we worked under, as we shared with him how our car was about to be re-possessed. Could we go to the congregation for help? "No he told us, we don't want to scatter the sheep." We stood there amazed because they were bound to find out once we had to ask them to give us rides because we no longer had a car. This and other similar stories have led me to be very private and careful about who I share my issues and struggles with.
I find myself in a safe and healthy faith environment currently. We all love the Lord and we all have our issues, and things that push our buttons. We all have days that we struggle but rather than getting condemned and having stones hurled at you when you are down, I'm finding that these people love me and pray for me, encourage me and are not afraid to confront one another in love. When we have problems we try to talk them out and work through them to a place of being "clean" with each other. It takes some work and some we have found are not up to that level of transparency and honesty.
While I still work through most stuff with just the Lord I am beginning to see that I don't have to. I'm also beginning to see that I don't have to run away when people get too close.
I won't say that some days are not still a struggle for me. I often catch myself using old programed defense mechanisms and have to circle back around and open up and share whats really going on.
I'm finding that actually sharing and being open is not as big of a deal as I have thought it might be in my mind. I am beginning to see how the enemy will use fear, shame, guilt and condemnation to keep us isolated and trapped. It is as if the powerful control that the enemy once wielded is suddenly broken when we push beyond the bullying and actually confess what is going on in our life.
Its no longer secret, its no longer able to be controlled by fear, guilt and shame.
Anyway I have had a few difficult days as I have worked through some of the things that I realized that I have avoided because they triggered memories back to my failed plans, A, B, C, D's. I have had to take some twisted things to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness now that I can more clearly see the error of my way. Can I fully embrace that God is sovereign and that he was never caught off guard by my failures. He has not had to throw up his hand in frustration saying "Now look at the mess she has made of my wonderful plan." What if some of the things that did not work out according to my plans, dreams and desires were because they just were not part of Gods plans for me. So now I need to decide if I can some how move beyond being defined by my brokenness and come forth from the shadowy tombs of shame and walk into the light of today knowing He will be with me today, and tomorrow and to the end of my days. That he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
Ok so I could probably write more - but its late and I should go to bed. Let me pray for you before I sign off on this post. Also let me pass on a blog post that my friend Ryan sent my way that spoke to me in a deep way today along these same lines. http://thegoodenoughpastor.com/2012/05/03/tombstones-and-death-wraps/
Dear Lord, Thank you that you are not limited by our failures, our miss understandings, that you are able to see all the little nuances of your larger plan. Take off the blinders and help us to see the places were we are off the mark and missing your truth. Help us to come out of the tombs of shame and to walk in to the light of this new day. Help us to embrace the idea that your plans are good and you know how to move us along and bring us to discover the path of your plan A. Help us to trust you and Lord thank you for people in our lives who are safe and who might be able to act as sounding boards to help us hear and see our own blind and deaf spots.