Before I can become who I want to be, I need to first embrace all of who I am. This includes the parts of me I don’t like, my insecurities and weaknesses. Weaknesses teach and bring me to God, if I allow them to. When I don’t, I become ashamed of them and want to hide them. This leads to pride while God’s unconditional love gives the strength to face and accept them so He can transform them.
Heb 4:14-16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
It takes courage to be vulnerable to express need, and humility to be transformed. I cannot force transformation, I cannot earn it by serving, giving, doing or saying all the right things. It is God’s grace I am called to approach with confidence. His Love gives confidence to face that which we fear the most.
Ps27:1”The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”
There are those who will never truly venture to face their darkest selves. They will superficially address or confess, but their actions over time will reveal whether they have embraced their dark side. They will miss out on the blessing on the other side and the experience of His amazing love and grace. When God is our light and salvation we have nothing to fear. Because God embraces all of me, so can I. In His time, God humbles all.
In the last few weeks God has brought me to the book of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar. God has done this in multiple ways, through my daily times, and other lessons – I just seem to walk into this story. And here is what I have been reminded of: If there was hope for Nebuchadnezzar then there is hope for me; God takes away but he always gives so much more; I will always be reminded that ultimately God rules and is in control. (Dan4:34).
Sometimes God needs to humble me, and remind me that all I have He has given so I don’t need to reach for other things for self-worth. I don’t try to defend myself, so I can face the things in me that I’m scared to face. Sometimes at the root of this pride is insecurity. Shame makes it hard to say you’re sorry. It then turns to pride. I have seen God humble me to the point where I have lost myself completely, but He never fails to restore me even better than before because He too knows the root of my pride. Now, before I go to explain myself I have the courage and strength to just say, “I’m sorry.” God brought me to a place where I could face all of me, embrace it and hand it over to Him.
30 As he (Nebuchanezzar) looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’
31 “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. 32 […]until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’
Self-protection claims ownership of that which is God’s. Pride blinds me from the lessons. Pride blames, deflects and grasps for the coping mechanisms for protection when I’m afraid. Pride takes credit and gives a false sense of security, but it all falls eventually.
I am not myself when I am scared. I am the worse version of me when I am afraid and let that fear dictate my behavior. This is the self that God gives me the power to face. I do not need to defend or protect myself when I am secure in God. I do not need to fear being not good enough, lovable enough or too much. I do not need to fear ruining or breaking something or someone. I do not need to defer to self-protection that only leads to pride.
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
Facing my shame and seeking to understand more about who I am allows me to bring my shortcomings and brokenness to God. It allows me to see myself as strong not by my own strength but by His. It’s admitting that my pride, control and perfectionism are coping mechanisms that give the illusion of strength but are really masking my deep tenderness. I fear others seeing me because in the past, those I entrusted with seeing all of me have failed to protect me and hurt me. But that is Not who God is. God does not mishandle my heart, He is the ultimate protector and he does re-define me. Pride, control, perfectionism these were false protectors – illusions. They gave me a temporary sense of power and control, like Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom gave him. If I let them, they can lead me to self-reliance and pride. I can build up my own kingdom and take security in it. When I find my self-worth in God my reason is returned to me. I not only find myself but I am safe to share All of me with those He puts before me.
Dan4:34,37 “But at the end of the day, I Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures […]37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”
I’m a steward. All I have has been given to me, it’s all temporary, and I’m held accountable on how I manage it. When I mismanage what I have been given God can take it away, and sometimes he does. Sometimes he gives it back, other times he gives us even more than we can ask or imagine, but he can’t give us more until we learn stewardship. When I do not accept all of who I am pride is right there waiting to rear its ugly head and take me down. When I embrace all of me, I am so much more aware and free to be the type of steward God wants me to be. I am so much more trustworthy and capable of becoming who I desire to be—His servant.
I am imperfect and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that in God I am enough. When I embrace all of me, God reveals His power in me and I learn to run to Him not for the things I want but because it’s Him alone that I want. I can’t do it alone. I need someone I can lean on when things get hard. He is there with me. I can lean on Him.