Saturday, May 30, 2015

Craving Grace - What Not to Wear!

Two months ago, I attended a women's weekend retreat sponsored by my church.

The title was Craving Grace - which is also the title of a book, written by Ruthie Delk, who was the speaker for the retreat.

As promised in a previous blog post, I am going to spend a few minutes reflecting on all that the Lord taught me that weekend and continue to stir my heart even now.

Session 1 - Resist Living Like an Orphan
The first session was spent unpacking this incredible diagram, that Ruthie developed and titled the Gospel 8.

My notes are taken from Ruthie's explanation of the diagram, that we spent a lot of time on over the weekend.

Ready?  Here we go!

* If I am acting like a child of God, then I am defined by the following truths:
God is:            I am:
forgiver           forgive
redeemer         redeemed
savior              saved
healer              healed
provider          provided for
defender         defended
lover               loved

If I am living like an orphan, then I am defined by pain, the past, and circumstances, and I live out the following feelings/emotions:
I was:            I am:
rejected         bitter
abused           lonely
controlled      controlling
judged           afraid
hurt               angry
  (add your own: perfectionistic, anxious, proud)

When we resist the gospel, we start to do the following:
- minimize our sin, or the fact that we are rejecting the gospel
- blaming
- deny
- contempt
- false repentance
- control
- fix it, manage it

We convince ourselves that fixing or managing our sin is the same as repentance.  It is not.
If Jesus and the cross are not involved in our repentance than it is a false repentance.

After resisting, we move into isolation, and then we turn to other things to feel better:
- approval
- work
- money
- family
- affirmation
- Facebook, social media

We want to find something to ease our pain and feel okay again.
We all run to something when we're not running to god.

Eventually, those things fail us, and we begin to see our need for God once again.  We then come to a crossroads where we can either resist God again and spiral back down.  Or, we can repent and turn toward God.

If we repent, then we begin to experience joy.
We are able to rest in Him, and are restored.

This doesn't mean that sin is absent or never comes back.

We still may feel the weight of sin - either of the world in general, or sin someone else has done to us, or our own sin… In that moment, we again come to a crossroads.

We can repent of our sin and turn towards God once again, or we can resist the gospel and spiral downwards.

The good news is that we can experience joy and restoration this side of Heaven through repentance and grace.

The bad news is that we will never be able to completely eliminate the resisting, isolating feeling of being an orphan at times.

There will be moments in the day, or days in the week or weeks in the month where we are spiraling down, resisting.

But there will also be moments in the day, or days in the week or weeks in the month where we are spending most of our time and energy repenting and being restored - living our our identity as a child of God.

The other good knows is that God's grace is always pushing us and driving us back to Him, as that is what is best for us.

What Not To Wear!
Ruthie did an fantastic visual demonstration of what living like an orphan can look like in real life.  She dressed up one of the ladies at the conference in a variety of clothing and objects.  She then explained what each thing was meant to illustrate.

When we live like an orphan, we wear:

1) wedding veil - because we want to hide
2) bike lock around neck - we put a lock on our hearts,
we have a hard time letting God love us and letting others love us.
3) hard hat - protect ourselves, guard ourselves, don't let others get too close
4) superwoman cape - we don't want people to know we need help,
we can do it all, we are wonder woman!
5) red-angry-glasses - we have a low level residual anger; passive aggressive,
all anger is really anger towards God because something didn't happen the way
we wanted it to, we take it out on others
6) scepter - ahh yes, we love control.  This helps us feel okay,
we need to micro-manager things, have things look a certain way in order to function
7) score-card - we feel a need to keep score at church, work and home.
8) hand-cuffs - we punish people constantly, passively or aggressively
9) duck-tape on the mouth - we withdraw instead of dealing with it
10) bucket - but at the same time, we want others to fill our emotional needs and demands
11) earphones - we don't want to listen to others or to God, or the truth.
12) large pants - we tend to over-function.  we are afraid if we don't do it,
it won't get done or won't get done well or to our expectation.
13) stomping boots - we are hypercritical and throw people under the bus,
we think no one can do it as good as we can

And when we act like this, we wonder why people avoid us!

I admit I can identify with all of these!  And at any given moment, my actions or words might reflect more than one of these attitudes at the same time!  Ahh!!  Scary.

I am thankful for His grace that floods in and rushes me back to Him over and over again, battling these habitual self-serving and self-preserving tendencies.

The rest of the sessions were excellent - fleshing out the Gospel 8 diagram, and helping us realize how to run from the orphan mentality and be enfolded into the child of God mindset.  There is more I could write, but that will have to be on another day :-)

Click here for more information on Craving Grace!

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