I won’t turn back. I will not back down. I am standing firm. And I most certainly will not be afraid. I’m crazy? Yes. Yes, I am. Crazy to believe that God couldn’t love me, that He doesn’t care what happens to me. Crazy is thinking that what our Creator says is not truth. We are His people. We are not silent. We are not doormats. And we are not weak. We are strong because He is strong. We are warriors because He is a warrior. We are not defeated because He can’t be. He can’t be anything but faithful to us. He will not go back on His promises and there are many. We stand firm and see His salvation, here, on this earth. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience the abundant life. That is not the plan and never has been. We pray until something happens. When’s the last time you turned off the TV, put down your phone, and prayed? And I don’t mean this namby- pamby, wussy, “God, be with us” prayers. (Pssst, he’s already with us without us having to ask.) I mean the “feet-stompin’, discouragement-crushin’, here’s-the-way-it-is-devil” prayers where you feel the Holy Spirit coursing through your veins like the blood that God Himself put there. God didn’t call us to boredom, sitting with our feet up, watching shows with four-letter words on 3-letter stations. Turn it off, put it down, and do something for Him instead of watching what other people are doing. Take a step in the direction that you know God is calling you to. Give Him more than the “allotted” 5-minute devotional time and see what happens to your world.
I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. That’s how the song goes. It echoes in my mind as I think about the fears that encompass me these days: being a mom and a woman in my home, watching as my parents get older, striving to be a good wife, trying to be the best that I can be within my career, serving with a spirit of excellence. The fears that encompass those hats on my head have changed over the years. I am no longer afraid that I’ll turn back to drinking and I’m no longer afraid that I’ll go back to smoking, like I was for so long. That’s not what I look to for help anymore. Who I look to now has conquered those fears. So to think that He would not conquer the spirit that exists in my mind these days seems like, to wax poetic, a “bonehead move”. I have fears of what people will think of me that seem to dissipate more and more each day as I get closer to Him and His ideas of who I am and what I am to Him. See, His ideas and goals for me trump any of mine. His bucket list for me is so much cooler than the one I made for myself. God’s plans are always so much more amazing than anything we could ever hope and dream for ourselves. So why would we be afraid, when we have the greatest cheerleader cheering us on? I laugh as I say that because I’m sure some will take offense to me giving a visual of God with a set of pom poms and a cheeky grin, but what if He truly is our cheerleader? What if we let him be that for us? What if we allowed the finger-pointing image that we have of Him to dissolve into nothingness like it never ever was? And what if we believed each and every day that He truly wants what’s best for us? That no one and no thing can stand in the way of that? Who would we be then? We would not only be free from fear but we would chase after the things that are on God’s to do list. Wholeheartedly, boldly, unabashedly, and unapologetically. Can we stop apologizing to God long enough to accept His forgiveness? Can we stop apologizing to other people for how we are, allowing the personalities that God gave us to shine through? Can we accept other’s personalities and look upon their journey with a smile instead of that pointing finger? A life built around fear or scare tactics is no life at all. God is freedom. He is everything and without Him, we have nothing. And if any part of that statement makes you feel a little uneasy, or your pride gets a little bruised, then the enemy’s working on you. That little twinge you feel about not being able to believe that we need Him wholeheartedly is evidence that the enemy is on the attack. God’s life for you is fulfilled, abundant, healthy, and free from fear.
I heard today that a lot of people, based on a certain statistic, think that Christians are just “hate-filled hypocrites”. And I’m sure that’s exactly what the enemy would have all who will listen to believe. But I have to say, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of them (one o’ them thar Christians, you know) that I don’t see any hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense” and some synonyms include empty talk, dishonesty, and insincerity.
I can understand how this would get annoying. After all, I get annoyed at the way some Christians act (red cup, anyone?) but in all honesty, I believe a lot of it is they aren’t secure in their salvation. I was a Christian for years and still did all kinds of things that would make a lot of church-goin’ folks blush. But here’s the deal: God didn’t lay out every part of His “moral standard” for me at that point of my journey. He knew I’d be completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t possibly live up to His idea or beliefs about who I was in Him when I was in that place. So maybe that’s what some individuals see as hypocritical. They’re living by a different code because maybe they don’t have difficulty in the same areas as you do. Their 2 X 4 is something different than yours. All that being said, the Christians I know and the ones that I hang around, know full-well of who they are. Both who they are with God and without Him. They don’t shade the truth or cover up their human tendencies and forget what Jesus did for them. They’ve accepted the fact that without God’s help, without the Creator lining up their days, that they would indeed be hypocritical. They would go back to their old ways, whether it is drugs or alcohol, or lust and sex, or finger-pointing and a judgy, critical spirit, whatever the case may be. The Christians I know are all learning to trust God in each of their personal trials. They don’t stand and say “No, I never do that and I don’t think you should either!” The Christians I know say “Oh yeah, left to my own devices, that’s exactly what I would do. Without God’s help I couldn’t make it through a day without a drink.” Or “There are times when I’m tempted to go back to the drugs, but thank God I don’t.” Because that’s not what they look to anymore. Those leave us feeling hollow, searching for more. It’s no surprise that addicts don’t keep doing the same drugs and the same amounts; it takes more. And more. Then more. Because that’s not a hole-filler. The Christians I know look to God for their help because He is our strength, the ultimate Hole-Filler, and He is their joy. They don’t feel like they’re better than everybody else. They feel very much like they are everybody else. The Christians I know have experienced the freedom that no man and no 12-step program could ever give. They are free. I am one of them. He is my strength and He is my joy. I was addicted but now I’m not and that is because of God. So, that being said, if people from “yesteryear” see me “nowadays” (where do these terms come from?) then yeah, they may see a hypocrite. They may look back and remember what I used to do and what I used to be, but that’s not me now. And it’s not the Christians I know.
I believe in zombies because I was one. I trudged through life with apathy and dark circles under my eyes. I believe in people being raised from the dead because that’s exactly where I was at before I let Jesus back into my so-called life. I believe in spirits because of what I feel when I pray at times. I believe there’s an unquestionable darkness because I’ve been there myself and I see it in people’s eyes. I believe witches not only exist but also put curses on God’s people. I believe it’s judgemental and critical to tell people that they can’t dress their kids up as Superman or a ninja or a princess. They are most likely not actively teaching their kids to worship demons and seek out satan to follow him. They are not the enemy and never will be. I believe parents have the right to dress their kids up and have fun because there’s no other holiday where they get to do this. I dressed as a rocker, complete with punk hair and makeup or a cowgirl every year when I was younger. And look at me now. I do not worship satan…the farthest thing there is from it. God is the judge. Don’t be critical of people’s decisions just because they are not the same ones you’ve chosen. They may very well have sought out God’s face on the matter.