The Gift of Confession

photo-1460917975071-bcf44881c99e

I’m in the middle of a great book.  I recommend it.  The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is an excellent book on spiritual renewal and growth. It’s not a speed-read.  It is thought-provoking and quite challenging.   I highly recommend it.

It digs deeper than the feel-goods I usually enjoy reading.  It explores beyond the typical, everyday sort of religious conversations into mapping out spiritual practice. 

Recently, I read a chapter on confession.  The practice of confession serving as a healing point for our hearts and minds.  In the particular religious construct I find myself a part of, confession is a private and personal moment between God and me.

photo-1447619297994-b829cc1ab44a

I wonder how many times, though, I am ashamed to truly confess or become too busy for true confession.  There are two components to confession.

One is coming clean before God and the other is coming clean before others. 

Can we really believe confession is beneficial? 

Frederick Buechner said,

“To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know.  Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you.  When you confess them, they become the bridge.”

This is powerful.  I often find that I too often offer blanket confession before God. 

Sometimes, a one-size-fits-all type of confession. “Lord, forgive my sin.”  There is beauty in this, but I have to think it isn’t always enough. It is good to be specific and honest with ourselves and with God.  I have noticed when I am open and honest, my openness to His work on my behalf increases. 

In recent months, when I have been honest about my sin, say of unforgiveness, and I name it for what it is and ask for His help in conquering it, I notice a change in me.  I see His hand working and sense He is ready to help. 

Honestly, I miss this too often.  I get busy or lose track, but He is showing me His faithfulness every time. 

photo-1460753311952-cf4606955685

Let’s take this one step further. 

Can you imagine how our spiritual and mental health would improve if we were able to make confession to someone safe as well?  To be able to safely unload our shame.  And in this way, not carrying our burden alone. 

The Bible speaks of confessing our sins to one another. 

photo-1438030884032-8e6fc76046f5

How many of us ever feel safe enough to confess any of our shortcomings and sins to other people?  Our culture is too caught up in having it together. And, let’s face it, often, we know our sin can and will be used against us.  

Many times we find the self-righteous Believers among us and this quickly shuts down the conversation.  But, I want us to consider true confession as a pathway to a whole and sound life.

 This is where our self-righteousness (in ourselves and towards others) needs to fall by the wayside. God sees our suffering in sin as like a cancer.  It is eating away at us and must be handled.  It is not out of vengeance or anger He looks upon us, but, it is with compassion and mercy.  He knows it is killing us. 

And, He has the cure.

photo-1423449866043-73b9a34cb270

He hates sin.  He hates the death it is bringing.  He doesn’t hate us. 

In His love, He is calling us to Him so He can heal us and make us whole.  So, confession, while initially seems vulnerable and unpleasant, is the answer to our pain. Pulling our sin out of the darkness and flushing it with light, destroys the hold it has over us.  The enemy of our souls thrives in the dark; secret sins have no power over us when they are brought into the light.

photo-1452111380487-b84c8895e191

Our sin, which causes a breach, will soon become the bridge after we open wide our hearts to Him and His inspection.  As a recovering perfectionist, I hate to be wrong or make mistakes.  Not just because it means I am wrong, but because, it means somewhere in this heart of mine, I am flawed. 

I don’t like being flawed.  But, I am.  We all are. 

This Savior sees and knows our weakness and failings.  Let’s be honest and open with Him and with the safe people in our lives.  Healing comes when we open our hearts and sweep out the junk we’ve swept into a corner.

photo-1435265796918-0e3d3e4af435

Stop Hatin’!

Try as I might, I just can’t seem to get it right.

I read something today.  It made me think.

Oh, I’ve heard it a bajillion times before.  Today, though, it came on the heels of a conversation my sweet friend and I had last weekend. I thought I knew it well.   But today I realized I needed to see it from another view—a whole new angle.

We have been created in the image of our Creator.  We have been made in His likeness.  

In I Corinthians 3:16, it states we are the image of God and His Spirit dwells in us.  Furthermore, we should not vandalize and abuse this temple.  In my self-righteousness, I often give myself a big thumbs up on this one.  Clearly, I have this one down.  I take care of myself—body, mind and spirit…not doing the obvious no-no’s.  You know, those things the Church has labeled as “not good for me” or “not temple honoring.”  Whew!  I’ve gotten this one thing right.

But, today.  As I was reading that verse in my new book, it slapped me in the face—and heart.

I’m not.  I’m not REALLY getting this right.

images-1

I beat my self up every day.

Yes.  My soul and spirit and mind take a good hard beating.  I wouldn’t let anyone speak to my friends this way.  Yet, I bet many do that to themselves just like I do.

If you continue reading in Corinthians, we also see God is not too impressed with this world’s wisdom and standards by which it measures things.  To Him it is foolish and stupid.  He sees through it all.

In fact, it says, “He sees through the smoke-screens of the know-it-alls.”  Hmmm.  I’m feeling as if that pretty much sums it up in regard to today’s standards, “heroes”, and measurements of success.

So.  Perhaps you are already a step ahead of me!

Why then, would we ever want to measure our success or failure or beauty by the standard this world has set up as

THE

standard.

Back to the conversation last weekend.

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and, honestly, don’t like what I see.  I wish some things were different.  My body, personality, my flaws….you name it.  Or how about when I look through the lens of social media.

“She is doing what I want; she’s just done it sooner and better.  Look at her accomplishments; I seemed to have misplaced mine.”

You get it, don’t you?

As women, we watch and listen and compare ourselves right up with the celebs and stars and current trends.  Or maybe you just look around at those surrounding you.  You just compare yourself with your friends and enemies.  You clearly know what you don’t like about yourself.

I beat myself up; with every mistake and misstep, I see a giant F!

F is for failure.bampw-black-and-white-cry-eye-girl-Favim.com-255924

If I eat too many carbs or calories, I’m a FAILURE.  If I forget to have all the baseball gear ready for game time—FAILURE.  If I miss an opportunity to say the right thing at the right time—FAILURE.  If I can’t figure out how to be in two places at once—you got it–F.  I’m severely calendar impaired and most birthday cards that have to be mailed….always late.  But, hey!  They get them, right?  You get the picture.  F, F, big giant F!

Instead of seeing the beautiful me, inside and outside, I see the annoying and frustrating flaws.  The beating and bashing continues.

Can you relate? 

So, my point to my friend was, perhaps we have something another person is praying for.

Maybe someone passing me in the mall, watching on Facebook, or down the street sees me and my life and all that I do right, and wishes some of this was hers.  Just maybe?  Because, I know we all do it.  (And because we certainly don’t show the messy parts and neither do other people).

Other people see the beauty we don’t see.

The words from I Corinthians say it even better!

The Spirit of God lives in us and we were created by God in the first place.  That is enough! 

Enough is enough.

What more can be added or taken away?

If we can see ourselves as complete in Him, perhaps we can move past our faults and embrace the beautiful us.  The God of the universe looks upon us, dwells in us, and says we are good.  We are the image of God!

Why would that ever NOT be enough?  

What are we saying when we hate on ourselves?  What are we saying when we say we aren’t enough?

Not good enough.

Not smart enough.

Not deserving enough.

Not together enough.

Just. Never. Enough.

We are saying the Creator isn’t enough.

I pray we see this verse for what it is.  It is a beautiful love note.

As our cultural standards tell us we are not enough, we are reminded we are.

Because of Him…..nothing we have done….but, because of Whose we are, we are enough!

Step up to that mirror and shut off the media.  Remind yourself you are created by the Creator Extraordinaire and He calls you enough!

i-am-enough-e1383339257143