Since Caroline asked me to write this post a couple weeks ago, I have been pondering what I should share with you. The Christmas station has been playing 24/7 in my car this month, and as I was finishing some last minute shopping this week, one of my new favorite Christmas songs struck me in a way it has never before. I found myself in a wet mascara, dripping mess in the middle of the hustle of Christmas traffic. After this day, I could not get this song or how it related to my messy, but praise Jesus, my redeemed life out of my head. Hang tight, we will get to the Christmas part in just a minute. Today, I have decided to simply share my heart and how the Lord has made beauty from ashes. Thank you for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for being women who encourage your sisters in Christ.
From the time I was a very young girl I have always been what I like to call, an approval addict. For many years, I put an unbelievable amount of pressure on myself to perform perfectly. And because I set such high standards, I lived in constant fear of failure. I became a habitual quitter. I quit a volleyball team, a tennis team, a sorority, a job, and if it were up to me, I probably would have quit college because I did not make an A on my first psychology exam. Failure was not an option, and if I ever underperformed in my book, then it was time to throw in the towel. That was the easy way out. I was so scared of what people would think of me if I failed, if I stood up for myself, if I said no.
Not only did I quit many things, I got physically and mentally sick. My body could not handle the stress of being an approval addict. It’s interesting how the body just says ENOUGH. You weren’t made to think or feel like this all the time. I got so sick I had to make a difficult decision to come home from a college I was really excited about attending. When I left school, I weighed just shy of 99 pounds. I did not like me. Before leaving, I vividly remember standing in my tiny college bedroom thinking, I cannot live life like this anymore. This isn’t life. This is Satan’s hold on me. I opened my hands and said, Lord, I surrender. I give up control because I don’t have the strength to live like this anymore. That day was a turning point of healing for me.
We all have weaknesses, and I think it is important that we know what they are so we can be prepared for battle. I am not out of this struggle. I struggle daily. The enemy wants to take life. He wants to kill steal and destroy. Satan doesn’t love us, Satan loves our sin and weaknesses. Priscilla Shirer says in her new book Fervent,
“Satan’s ploy is to make you believe your core value as a person is tied to how much work you do, how much activity you can accomplish, how much stuff you accumulate, how much business you can generate. In order to possess any worth under this system-just like Israel under Pharaoh’s rule- you’ve got to be able to rattle off everything you’ve been doing, one by one, adding it all up into a big gob of bullet points and checklists that ought to impress anybody.”
This next quote is what I choose to claim today. Read it once, read it twice read it everyday, ladies.
“God doesn’t’ want something from you. He wants something for you. Your value is not in what you do (as if you could ever do enough) but in who you are (as if you could ever be more loved and accepted by Him than you already are).”
Sisters, I hope you can declare this right now. The Lord accepts you where you are, right this very second. There is NOTHING you can do to make him love you any less. Our worth is not found in what we do or whom we try to please, our worth is found in HIM.
Now, you are probably wondering, girl, what about that Christmas song?! I promise this will all tie together. J The song “Be Born in Me” by Francesca Battistelli is the song that had me in a crying heap last week. This song is Mary speaking about her fears and apprehension about giving birth to her savior, Jesus. See, ladies we aren’t the only one’s who are fearful. But let’s take a look at how Mary responds in the midst of her fear. Luke tells us,
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’
‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.
Mary willingly gave up control. What if she hadn’t? What if she said I am too scared, what will people think of me? I can’t. I quit. No, she willingly and unquestionably responded I am the Lord’s servant. Yes, she was scared, but Mary put her faith in God!
I want to leave you with the lyrics that hit me hard that day last week. My hope is that you will go listen to the song after you read this post. (I have posted the link below)
I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
But I am willing, I am Yours.
Lord, Be born in me. I am willing and I am yours. Completely surrendering our lives and giving up control to place it at our savior’s feet, that sisters, that is true beauty.