“…I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
I can’t believe that I still struggle with the same things! I truly thought I was over that – I thought I had overcome that lie – I thought I had more confidence in my identity, in my calling, in God’s love for me! Why do I keep hanging out in the same pit I was pulled out of, and why do I have to be pulled out time and time again?
As a survivor of sexual abuse from those outside my family of origin, I believe that I tend to struggle with universal feelings but to a more intense extreme. For example, I know most people don’t like to fail, but if I fail at something, I have believed the lie that I am a failure and that, therefore, I sometimes fear trying new things. I know most people don’t like rejection, but I tend to perceive rejection in everything and everyone so that can become my reality when it should not. I tend to make mountains out of molehills, and my trust filter is pretty dirty as I assume that everyone is out to get me and that no one really likes me. From what I have studied and read, most of these feelings are pretty universal and typical for all of us but can be overboard for those of us that have been wounded in the way that I have been.
Oh, how I've prayed to feel worthy, loved, and accepted. Oh, how I've asked to be totally healed from the perceived chains that bind me. Oh, how I've asked to be confident in His love for me and my calling and purpose for this life. Sometimes I feel that I've conquered the world, and at other times I feel like climbing into the pit of collapse and decay. How comforting it is, on some level, to know that as close as Paul was to Christ and His mission in this world, he struggled, too. He even looked at his struggles as a gift from God, not only to keep him humble, but to allow Christ to work in and through him. The book of 2 Corinthians actually begins with praising God who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others in theirs.
When I sink into this pit of wondering why I am not more deeply and wholly healed, I have to think back and remember that I am not who I was one year ago, or three years ago, or five years ago. I am much further along in my spiritual journey, and although I may struggle with the same things, I don’t struggle with them for as long or as deeply. Life is a journey and healing comes in layers. Leighton Ford said, “God loves us just the way we are, but too much to leave us that way.” I’m thankful for the cross before me – big and bold and screaming of God’s love for me and for you – continually drawing me closer and peeling back layers. I’m also thankful for the rear view mirror which, although it allows me to see where I've been, it’s way too small to dwell on for too long.
The first step to overcoming something is to recognize it.....what do you recognize in your life that you need to overcome?
Can you see how God has grown you in the past year? Three years? Five years?
Do you tend to dwell on the rear view mirror behind you instead of the cross before you?
If yes, what changes can you make in your perspective to move to a better place?
Christian vocalist and speaker Lori Kennedy believes in sharing the gifts and talents in which Christ has blessed her. Authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are imperative to touching hearts for the Lord. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from those in authority over her outside of her family of origin, Lori has had to overcome much to fulfill the destiny that God created just for her! You can find out more about Lori and her ministry, Alpha Omega Ministries, at her website www.lorikennedy.com.