Monday, February 6, 2017

Bowing Low

I want to share my heart in why I'm writing, and why, God-willing, I will continue to write on this blog.

The Lord has been doing a great work in my family's life, and I feel compelled to share bits and pieces of it here. I used to write because I felt like I had great wisdom to offer. [I'll pause for a bit so you can die laughing.] I was very foolish. Truly, I see no good thing resides in me apart from Jesus Christ.



I have made many, many mistakes, and most of those mistakes are due to a heart of pride and self-righteousness. I have compromised in many ways, across the board, but to other believers, it may not seem so because most of these sins and compromises are socially acceptable and excused in our Christian culture.

Last year, the Lord showed me my lack of humility and brought me lower than my knees. When I first came to Christ 11 years ago, I came in humility. I came broken. And there have been times since when I humbled myself, but humility was not a place I lived from. If I'm not living from humility, by default, I'm living from pride.

There are many reasons I walked in pride. One of the main reasons [I feel] is self-protection. I felt a constant need to protect and defend myself. It is rather frightening to let go of a defensive position and trust the Lord when you are pretty sure you are right. Who will stand for me if I don't stand for myself? It is even more frightening to let go and trust the Lord when you think you could be wrong. Even when I knew I was wrong, I had a terrible fear of confessing it. Some of that is because I feared what people would think and say of me.  Because most of my life I have felt like I am wrong, that I just can't get it right even though I so desire to get it right [what a horrible feeling], I have fought against being defined by "being wrong".  [Does that make sense? It's rather hard to explain.] 

I often lived from a place of "not wanting to be wrong"... which sounds okay except it's living with a negative purpose rather than a positive one.  The Lord has shifted my purpose to desiring to live a life that brings glory to God.  Before, I wanted to avoid being wrong, so even though I desired to bring glory to God, the true motivation of my heart was to be right.

But I have seen that often, living a life that brings glory to God means bowing low and admitting I'm wrong. And that it's absolutely okay to do that. It's not the end of the world.

When I follow this all out, as my friend Becky says, I come to this conclusion: Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23), so whenever I'm not functioning out of a heart of faith, whenever I function out of any other motivation, it is death. It produces death. So I can be motivated out of a heart of "rightness" and it will not produce rightness. It will produce death.

Last summer the Lord spoke to me before a women's retreat that I needed to humble myself before a sister in Christ. I had held on to my "rightness" because I disagreed with her on some points, and I was missing His heart entirely. He told me that I could not hold on to both Him and my "rightness". I was so bent on not being wrong that I had actually become wrong. That was a huge turning point for me. It required me to come forth while a group of women looked on and humble myself before this sweet woman who had felt such pain and distance because of my pride. 

She sat on the couch pouring out her heart of pain and rejection. I could see it on her face as I tucked myself back in a corner. I listened to women apologize and attempt to comfort her, but I knew.... I knew I was the cause. They could share their heart of love for her, but it wouldn't bring the healing she longed for. I needed to go forth.

When the Lord spoke to me to humble myself before her, the first thing that rose up in me was that I would have to admit I was wrong in my heart attitude... publicly. I have watched other people do that from time to time, and it's always an incredible experience as an onlooker, but to be the one who is bowing before another is even more humbling.  In my spirit, I heard Him say, "What do you want more? To be right... or Me?"

Photo credit: Meg McAvoy

The Lord wasn't just asking me to humble myself before her, He was asking me to humble myself before Him. Scripture says, "Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you." I never really understood that until that day.  I witnessed the Lord bring healing between me and my sister. I no longer felt driven by this "need" to be right. The Lord filled me with His love and compassion and said, "This is the fuel which every thought and action should run off of."  [And because she's gracious, she responded with love and compassion for my weakness and pride. Isn't that beautiful?]

There's a line from a song (Out of Hiding) by Steffany Gretzinger that goes, "Oh as we run, what hindered love, will only become part of the story." My intention here is to share the story, even what hindered love, what hindered me, what (in me) hindered others.

I'm in a process of letting go. I'm literally walking about Hebrews 12:1 second by second as I strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles me, so I can run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before me, looking away from all that will distract me and focusing my eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith. [Amplified Version]


I have found that true letting go means to humble myself. I let it all go, and I trust myself to the Father's hand. I trust that He has me, that He loves me... really, really loves me, and that He is for me. I have found that letting go means I stop striving for the perishable.

My perishable reputation. My perishable goals. A Pinterest-perfect but totally perishable home. I stop striving after having it altogether, being right, being smart or witty. I stop defending myself, stop protecting myself, stop obsessing about myself. I'm learning to let go, and at times I have to ask the Lord to pry my fingers off perishable things because I'm aware of my weakness. I'm aware that I'm prone to cling to good things and lose sight of the best things. Heck, I'm even prone to cling to bad things. I'm prone to strive after perishable things with a side of Jesus rather than simply Jesus Himself.

But that's another post for another day.

My point in all this is that I'm back to blogging because I want to share this journey. This journey in letting go, letting Him in.... letting Him have control of every single area and corner of my life.  I feel this need to record it, because I want to look back on it and remember.

Whenever the Lord began totally shifting our hearts, He gave me a clear message that He was indeed doing something new, and this new life was going to look, in the beginning, like a lot of death, but it would be better than I could have ever asked for.

He told me He was going to give me the desires of my heart that I didn't even know I had.  He told me that He was going to take our family on an adventure.  So I'm writing this down so I can keep track of the adventure and share it openly with you.

Thank the Lord, He is faithful!
-Mandy