Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Lessons from Hope Spoken: We all hide
There has never been a single human alive who has not tried to hide.
Adam and Eve were first. Their enemy lied to them and led them into sin. And as he planned from the start, he seized the moment they fell, quickly pounded them with shame, and pushed them out of the open spaces in the garden they had enjoyed with God and back into the darkness of the bushes. They felt exposed and ashamed. Their relationship with the Holy One suffered it's first break.
At Hope Spoken a couple weekends ago, I was reminded of this: we all try to hide. We all feel bludgeoned by shame and regress into hiding so that others won't see.
But this miraculous thing happened within our small group time. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, our circle of 10 strangers moved together into the open spaces to enjoy God. It was as if we held hands (though we never actually did) and walked into the light as one, praying, sharing, and breathing in grace all around. It takes my breath away to think about the work God did.
Real healing and trust and faith grew there, in that circle. I witnessed it. Women reminded women that they were loved and forgiven and accepted and beautiful. Real and crippling fears began to crack and crumble a bit. Lies began to be chopped down by the ax of Christ-centered fellowship. And one person's courage encouraged the next to muster the same. Oh, how I underestimate the power of Jesus working in a small group of His people, even if all have only a mustard seed of faith to offer. Friends, it's no small thing.
As I reflect now on that sacred time, I can think about certain people who held back for a while, not ready to come out. Most people would have thought, "Oh that person is just shy, or not comfortable sharing with a group." But I wonder now, were they just shy, or were they bound up with lies? Were they so bludgeoned by shame that their faith-legs couldn't walk them into the light of the open spaces? Were they possibly even living in this state of defeat all the time?
I've been in those bushes before. You have too. We both know what it feels like and looks like to be defeated and distant from God and the truth. We both know how sin ravages our hearts and hurls rocks into the windows of our souls, breaking relationships, pushing us into hiding, leaving us feeling exposed.
The worst part is the lies. They don't ever seem to relent, when we hang out in the bushes. I had two women tell me that they had severely accusatory "thoughts" before signing up for Hope Spoken. They heard these kinds of things:
You don't deserve to go to that.
What do YOU have to offer anyone?
Who do you think you are?
Why would you want to do something so stupid?
No one will understand you.
And then others shared these kinds of things:
You can't actually tell anyone that.
You are a lost cause.
You such a hypocrite.
You don't deserve forgiveness.
It's just too much.
And you call yourself a Christian? You even serve at church?
What a fake.
Relentless. Lies. It angered me with a righteous anger when I heard these things, firstly because I knew God's girls - the daughters of the King of Kings - were being assaulted. I wonder how many women chose NOT to push through the lies; how many women never signed up and stayed home? And secondly, I realized that the enemy lies to us ALL. It is not just a select few who really screw up. It is every single one of us, because we are all human. We all make mistakes, and we are all threatening to the cause of the enemy. He will do whatever he can to keep us in the dark, away from God and others. Whatever he can.
I'm not just sharing this in analysis of Hope Spoken. I'm hoping you can internalize this for yourself as well. We are all being lied to, we are all being shamed into the dark corners, away from God, away from others. And everyone thinks she is the only one.
Bringing all that out into the open spaces, the light of truth, is the first step in breaking the power of lies over us. I've lived this supernatural equation more than once. Choose one friend. Join a small group through your church. Confide in your husband. Pick an open space where you know truth and safety will find you. And speak it.
The women in my small group were so exceptionally brave. I'm in awe of their courage. And friends, breaking the power of shame and lies in our life takes courage. And then it takes Jesus. He does all the rest. We simply have to trust Him to cover us with His blood, His forgiveness, His grace, and His perfect robe of righteousness as we bolt out of the bushes and into the open spaces where He stands waiting.
And oh, let's be praying for our sisters, in the name of Jesus, that the mouths of the liars would be stopped, and that the enemy would be conquered in the lives of God's daughters, one day at a time.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 (read this whole passage, it's so good)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
(a great list of 25 more verses on light and darkness can be found here.)
Labels: faith essentials