The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 23:3). While we strive each day to avoid falling into old sin patterns, it is human nature to fall back into struggle. As humans we put on shame and guilt in those moments, instead of taking on our identity in Christ and what He says about us. We’re so thankful for 2015 Mercy grad Rachel and her encouragement, wisdom, and vulnerability to discuss the choice each of us faces when we struggle.
When I mess up, and give in to my struggles, the weight of my sin deepens and what I see as perfection in others increases, furthering my shame even more. I begin to dwell in my sin, shame, and guilt, and push myself further and further into the pit of darkness.
Oh, what a normal human response to sin it is, though. What I have learned through the years is to look more closely at my Savior than I look at my sin. When I look at the cross and the Savior, the shame diminishes in the light of His sacrifice for that sin. He took it. He covered it. He took the shame. He set me free. He redeemed me, and I no longer have to live in that shame. I can live free in the redemption and grace He has offered me, but it is my choice to do so. And while that seems like such an easy choice to make, it’s really not all that easy in the midst of a hard trial.
As I have walked through trials, God’s love for me has become more and more evident. From struggling with sin to the shame, guilt and anger that I feel, God’s love is potent. My guilt surrounding my choices has become great, but during these trials, as I have begun to process through the hard situations that I blame myself so deeply for, I know my God has been present. While my guilt and shame have lessened, they have not disappeared. I am still a work in progress; we are all still works in progress. I will never be perfect in this lifetime. I have to keep reminding myself of this, otherwise I will continue to strive for absolute perfection and will never obtain it—and I will hate myself for it. God has not called me to be perfect but to honor and glorify Him in all I do.
While I run to sin, and while I run to things of my past, I have learned that my Lord is greater. He is more than sin. Sin is not who I am. It is not who God is. Sin does not prove His greatness and redemption in my life. Instead, it proves a stronghold still in my life – a broken place still in need of great redemption. While I’ll never be perfect, certain sins have held me for far too long, and I am giving it up. I am done. I know this does not mean that I will never struggle again; instead, I will strive for the cross, the place that offers me freedom and redemption.
In this, I challenge you! I challenge you to take a look at your life.
What areas are broken? In what areas do you carry guilt and shame? In what areas do you have unrealistic expectations that cause you to strive for a perfection that you will never be able to attain?
Write about those. Pray about those. Give them over to the Lord.
Allow Him to cover them and take them for you. His love is potent – rest in it.