We can’t do a thing well unless we believe we are loved.
For me (Jennifer), I have struggled with the whisper you’re not good enough. And my frustrated, rebellious heart shouts back, Good enough for what? For whom?
I can crumble, beaten by these lies, or I can charge forward, searching hard for His hand. I don’t know any way to live free except to follow. And I know this only after years of rebelling first and wanting, so much, my own way.
But maybe there is no other way.
The night we took the Christmas tree down last year was a hot whirlwind of living nightmare. It was the night I pushed for my own way. My heart pounding, the words charging fast and loud. Boxes crashed down from the attic like stones, tempers vigorous and burning. Word-arrows hit the bulls eye again and again, both ways. I didn’t see it coming. Our first fight, like this, in front of the kids.
I know what it means to go too far. I used to live like this, before getting married. Going too far was a way to judge whether or not I was loved, whether or not I was seen. I have lived much of my life afraid to be humble, afraid to be quiet. I have fought for my own way and everyone in my path has suffered.
It is a charade to pretend your life is better when you are the one in charge.
Oh, that old self! She is the one I despise. Traces of her fight their way out when I least expect it—the self I wished was gone for good. But still she slinks her way back, creeping from some deep, dark place. She comes only to bring destruction, wreckage, pain. The old self, when I look her in the face, the vice of her grip around my heart, her steely eyes piercing me, urging me to fight for the sake of MY self, I sink to my knees and know the world is spinning and I can barely hang on. For there is no self worth fighting for if it isn’t the self for which my Savior already died.
I don’t want this old self. It’s poison to me. I want the new one. The one He died to give me. Yes, the one filled with light and beauty and love.
You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you (Ephesians 4: 20-24, MSG).
I say I hate the old self, but Jesus dislikes her more. Because He loves you, because He loves me, because He sees us in our fullness and knows our true, new self ready to embrace life with Him, He will never let us go until the old self is good and dead. But we are the ones whom He’s given the weapons, with Him, to kill it.
Holy Entangled, God gives us weapons to partner with Him in killing our old selves because He knows we can’t live the free lives He has given us with the old self here.
The old self is dark and she is selfish. She is envious and she is corrupt. She grabs hold of hope and chokes it, hissing cold breath into your ear. You are not good. You are too far gone to change. You are alone and forgotten. You have never been loved and known.
Don’t you hate the part of you that fights for her/his own way, tries to silence the lies whispered in the dark, all by yourself? We can only fight with the weapons our Savior has given us. We can only rise and fight with weapons of love. And kindness. And gentleness. And patience. And self-control. We can only fight with a heart that is reconciled with Christ, a heart that wants His way, not our way, with a heart that knows there is no other way to peace, to hope, to joy, to love, to a life free of striving and rebelling and fighting and struggling and cajoling and lying and tearing for what this heart of ours wants—this heart of ours without God in control.
The old self screams to be heard, refuses to be quiet.
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate (Romans 7:15).
But our God is bigger. He is bigger than any mistake we’ve made. He’s bigger and more lovely and more powerful and more wonderful than any whisper of that old self that tries to bring us down. You have a Savior on your side who has come to save you, again and again and again. He will never relent. He will never turn. He will never back down. He’s all in. He is completely, head-over-heels, just can’t get enough, in love with you. You are not alone. You are not out of control.
Because you are held by a God who never lets you go.
It’s time to surrender again, to the Savior who comes and restores you to the new self He died for and promises.
I don’t think, in the end, that old self even has a chance.
How do you struggle with the old self? How does it affect your marriage? How can we stand next to you, beside you, praying?