It has been far too long since I’ve written…
ever start a long overdue letter or email with that phrase?
You may have thought to write many times but just haven’t sat down to actually follow through.
That’s been me. Here. And other places too.
I’ve been wrestling and waiting…with myself mostly and for what exactly? I’m not sure.
But I decided I wanted to get some of this out of my head and onto the page.
I’ve been wrestling the thoughts of ‘not good enough’ and ‘you don’t matter’ for several months now. And I was actually getting ready to give into those lies.
But God had a different plan.
I listened to the IF:Gathering this weekend. And I was reminded why I write. Why I can’t help but write.
For far too long you and I have allowed three traps to catch hold of us and hinder us from being all that we truly are in this with God life. We compare, we criticize and we compartmentalize.
Trap #1: We Compare
We look out at the world and then look at ourselves. Most of the time we believe we’re not enough. Not good enough. Not smart enough, or talented enough or cute enough or…fill in the blank. The world doesn’t love you. It doesn’t love me. The world gives messages through media that reinforce our doubts and fears. So what’s a girl to do?
Instead of compare, LOVE. Allow love to come into your heart. The world doesn’t love you but God does. He knows your faults, limitations and loves you because you’re you. Not in spite of those things but because of them. The hard work is to believe God.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I call you Friend.
You are My Beloved.
Let those seep into the cracks of your broken heart; You are LOVED as you are. No need to compare.
Trap #2: We Criticize
I know we’re unique people but in talking with many women I have heard similar patterns that match up with my own thoughts and this second trap is common. We criticize ourselves and others. We tear down with hurtful words; sometimes only we hear them as we speak to our own thoughts. But the result is the same…not good enough. We get caught up in the critical trap and suddenly lash out and start using our words to tear down others too. Maybe to make ourselves feel better? Maybe to “help” someone grow? Neither reason fits with how God sees our words.
A harsh word stirs up anger…but a gentle answer turns away wrath.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
Instead of being caught in the Trap of Criticism, look for the good in the imperfection of life.
Trap #3 We Compartmentalize
Too often I find myself saying the words “if only” or “should” “ought” or “must”. I put myself and my circumstances into a box. It’s often the box labeled Perfectionism. All these words keep me from taking action. Keep me on the sidelines rather than actively in the game of Life. And while I’m compartmentalizing myself I do the same to others; putting them in a box of my own design. Too old. Too young. Too … (fill in the blank) And again, this trap is just that; a way of hindering my with -God life from being all that He offers me.
For freedom has Christ set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
At the end of the IF Gathering we were asked what our next step of faith is.
Mine is to step forward with Courage…sharing gifts that He gives daily.
So in this step of courage, what Trap do you find yourself caught by most often? What step will you take to keep from being caught in the trap next time?