06 January 2016

Confession Heals

 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. ~James 5:16 ESV

One morning early this year, I was in sin. I wasn't doing anything that anyone would call deeply evil, but it was absolutely sin, nonetheless. I was under spiritual oppression, which translated into unhappiness/depression, which I allowed to persuade me to not use my time well: sitting outside of the gym, reading, instead of going in. When I finally decided to stop putting off going into the gym and just go home, it felt good to finally just make a decision and DO something, rather than continue sitting in limbo in the car outside. But as I drove, I only felt worse and worse. I don't think I need to detail the mental chatter--we've all been there. Lots of guilt and worry and fear, all donning different costumes and parading through my mind. The guilt brought desires to exact a penance, which meant that instead of turning around and going to exercise (like I knew I should), I would punish myself by sticking to the decision to go home, adding yet another layer of unhealthy decision to the previous ones.

As I drove, instead of feeling better (because I had made a decision instead of procrastinating further), I felt worse. So much worse. I felt so lonely. And of course I did--my choices that morning had isolated me from the awareness of God within me, and I operated in my own deeply inadequate strength. Finally, I pulled into a parking lot about halfway home and texted Vern. I confessed to him, not to self-flagellate, but as a plea for understanding and to show willingness to submit to wisdom greater than I had in that moment. I knew I wasn't capable of making a good decision in that moment, and I trusted him as a safe harbor during this inner storm. He responded with love, accepted my apology that my choices would complicate his morning (he would have to help out more than usual in the house in addition to working out in his office), and told me he would fully support me going back to get my workout in.

Now, this might seem like a small thing . . . a First World stay-at-home-mom who has an abundance of conveniences and even a few luxuries, freaking out about whether or not she made it to the gym that day. But in reality, it was a completely different situation. I had come before the Lord last October, pleading like I've rarely pled before for Him to show me what He needed me to do in order to give Him freedom to move, to heal, to transform me, my relationships, my home, to do the work He could see needed doing, for me to just get out of His way. Reclaiming my physical strength, my health, was His answer. (Little did I know how many skeletons I'd have to oust from the closets of my soul to do so!) God works with every one of us where we are, using the life we have around us. For me, that's confronting and vanquishing yet more of the ghosts that linger still from the way my "old woman" used to look at everything, facing and rejecting fears that have, until now, simply not been the focus of my thoughts. Reclaiming territory that Jesus fully redeemed when I accepted Him and received a remission of my sins.

I KNOW what I can do when I feel oppressed, depressed. I can turn to my Jesus, spend some quiet time with Him, and He fills me with His love, His spirit. He lifts and empowers me, chasing away the fear as I make myself vulnerable before Him in complete trust. In plain faith. Not doing that is operating in sin, rejecting His sacrifice and the astounding blessing He offers me 24/7.

My experience in confessing to my husband--reaching out to him by telling him what my morning had been like, humbling myself to the point that I could tell him of my lousy time management--was empowering. It set me free. It also let me see the whole situation more clearly, and showed me how much we can be agents of change and healing in one another's lives.

So, when you find yourself stuck, miserable, and wishing you could have done things differently, confess. Confess to someone who loves Jesus, and who will encourage and support you as you turn things around and place each foot where God asks. God is so good, and is waiting eagerly, anxiously, to take your hand and lead you in the path He knows is best (the most love-filled, the most blessed, the most centered in Him) for you.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!