28 Aug THE FIGHT FOR MY HEART
Shame was one of the first consequences for sin. One we were never meant to experience.
I knew shame. And I knew it well.
In high school, I struggled a lot with depression. It overwhelmed me at all hours of the day and night. I didn’t tell anyone of this depression because I felt really guilty about it. Thoughts filled my head,
“If you truly called yourself a Christian, why don’t you just get over it?”
“You are making too big a deal over nothing, other people have it way worse.”
“Why don’t you trust God more, then you’ll be fixed!”
The thoughts were never ending. One day in my junior year, I decided to stop trying to take them captive. God’s Word says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) But instead, I just gave up. I specifically said out loud, “I’m done fighting this, I’m too weak. I have no fight left. Let them come.” I allowed the self-hatred to begin to flow through my mind.
It was around this time that my struggle with self-harm began. I hated every fiber of my being, I thought I was a complete disappointment. My shame spiked whenever I made a mistake or hurt someone with my words. I held myself to a standard of perfection, and when I didn’t meet it, I needed a punishment and found an outlet through cutting, pinching, and intentionally bruising my body. I would cut, then feel shame, then want to cut again because of the shame. The cycle was debilitating. I was disgusted with myself. I thought the Lord was completely done with me. I had trusted the Lord for my salvation when I was a small child, but that felt so long ago. I had no idea who I was in Christ – I viewed myself as a mistake.
By God’s miraculous grace, I was working a job that put me in connection with the church I now call my home. I started listening to the sermons online and it changed my world. The first sermon I heard was on abiding with Christ. I had no knowledge of this God who wanted to abide with me. I had been taught and had come to believe that He followed me around with a checklist, making a mark for every time I sinned. I thought He was so disappointed with me. I thought I could never approach Him in my broken state, with all my scars. But the pastor spoke from John 15, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:3-4)
I cried the first time I heard this. The Lord wanted me. I had never felt loved before.
Growing up, I was told many lies about my identity. I had believed the lie that I was truly worthless. I thought I needed to approach God cleaned up and perfect. There were layers and layers of lies I had to unravel and I am still unraveling them today. I spent so many Sundays in worship just crying.
I had been found.
I was the lost sheep, and Jesus regarded me with such high value that He went after me and rescued me from the miry pit. He delighted in me. (2 Samuel 22:20)
A little while later, the Lord led me to a recovery ministry called, Re:Generation, held at my home church in Dallas. It was there I found a safe space to get to the root of the fears, harms, and lies I was believing. I got to the root of my sin and shame: pride, numbing my emotions, and not wanting to trust that God is ultimately for me. I had deep-hearted issues that I numbed with unhealthy coping mechanisms. I also had a deep-hearted distrust in God. But in that revelation, I found the Lord there with me. He wasn’t afraid of my sin and disbelief, but He entered into it with me. Jesus died for my sin and my shame. I found that the Lord God of the Universe wanted a relationship with me. I confessed my fears and sin, including the self-harm. I confessed that I knew all the facts about God, but the relationship wasn’t there. In an act of faith, I started to surrender my life to the Lord daily, and made a declaration that I wanted to trust Him in this life, not just in eternity.
The Lord changed me. I am a redefined, redeemed, and renewed – a daughter of the King. It is the best place of all! My identity is in Christ and that will never change. “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:6)
Today, I still have to work to take the thoughts captive. I am an active participant in the fight for my heart – it is a battle, but one the Lord fights with me. He will never leave me to fend for myself. He is my Good Shepherd. He wants my heart, all of it, broken and torn. It was never about knowledge or keeping up a good show.
He wanted me and accepted me all along.
“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”