I SO often think that grace is contingent on my works and obedience

Psalms 34: 4I asked the LORD for help,

and he saved me

from all my fears.

Fear… for me that is something that my life is defined by… I live in fear that I will have a heart attack… I constantly check my pulse to make sure that my heart doesn’t stop beating. I’m sure this is pathological, but… I don’t know for sure.

I fear how other people see me. I fear failing. I fear being fat.

This fear even goes into my relationship with God and unfortunately this vital relationship is often defined by this emotion which the Lord commanded us against in His word.

Yes, yes… I believe in the basics of salvation and am amazed that He would die on the cross to save a sinner like me, but me in my mortal mind always translates that into… “Yes… He died for me… praise God… BUT… I have to do xy and z… and be a good, obedient Christian, and put to death my old ways to the best of my ability every day… OR ELSE… well… He’ll surely be mad at me and maybe even give up on me and take His hand off of my life and curse me… or worse… strike me dead…”

This mentality that I fall into automatically leads to lots of fear and shame and makes me feel distant from God… I think that my tendency to see God as a slave master with a whip stems both from my own perfectionstic tendencies and belief that I am not measuring up to the standard of how I want to be-perfect, and the way that my mother has treated me in the past. I’ve felt at times like I’m failing her and that I’m surely not who she “ordered” when she prayed for a child. At times she’s even been borderline abusive when I’ve messed up… so I assume that if I mess up… it effects my union with my Maker…

I fear so much. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with some stomach pains and then I got scared and started to have a panic attack. When I begin to panic, I always tend to think that it is God punishing me for all of my shortcomings and failures…my mind begins to think of long lists of reasons why surely God does not like me now… I so often feel like I can’t go to Him because I’m a failure…

Two verses which really speak to my heart on this topic are:

Romans 6: 14 Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free.

Romans 8 :1If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. 2The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you a]”>[a] free from sin and death.

Phillipians 4:6Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

Last night I prayed with my mother. I realized that the voices which tell me I am not good enough to go to God in my failure and that my sin separates me from God are voices of the enemy and not of my Father. So often, though these are the voices that are dominant in my mind. Often times, I only hear the voices of the enemy and confuse the voice of the enemy and of my God… It is a viscious cycle. I feel like I’ve failed Him so I don’t spend time with Him and don’t hear from Him and learn about His nature through His word. Then I am so vulnerable to the enemy who whispers in my ear, “Liz… you are a failure… you can’t go to God now… He is going to punish you”… My heavenly father looks at me and sees someone covered by His blood and sees “Liz the forgiven”… not “Liz the pathetic” or “Liz the sinner”… It is so hard for me to believe truly that He loves me and has covered my sins unconditionally, but that is what His word says, so I need to pray for the faith to believe this in my heart.

There is NO CONDEMNATION for those in Christ Jesus… the prayer of my heart is that I can truly come to a place where I believe this with my whole heart. I believe it would change my life totally if I believe in His unconditional love and dropped the belief that I contribute in some way by my obedience and good works in His name…

note: It is good to do good things for Christ… but it should be done out of love and not out of fear…

I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness; no longer must we each depend on our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams…

This is my prayer to God. A prayer that is often said at 12 step meetings and until recently meant nothing to me. I’m not usually one who enjoys little tacky prewriten rhyming prayers… they seem… well… stale and banal… I’m used to just talking to God… well… like a father and a friend…
In the past few days the precious words to this simple prayer have come to life and have taken on meaning.
I have so many memories of being distracted and unfocused and unable to function due to anxiety or food/body obsession ect… to the point where I could not do anything except for sit and stew on those frivolous matters… I still struggle with this sometimes.

Still, often there are so many voices calling out my name.
I have seen enough that I am nothing on my own. Everything I do that has any worth is through Him. I am truly just His tool. I am powerless on my own, but when I choose to let His hand guide me, I am rendered a useful tool.
As I sit here, ever distracted, studying for my music test, this prayer is the prayer of my heart.
I put my hand in the Lord’s and with Him I could do what I could never do on my own. I’ve had years of experience messing up on my own.
Now, my prayer is that I can go through life today and forever with my hand in God’s. I am not my own any more.
So… help me God to surrender my paintbrush to your hand so that YOU can paint my picture and write my story. The page of my day… the blank canvas of today, March 11th is yours. My life and story is yours…

blogger…. His jar of clay…

I am a jar of clay of the almighty God… He has created me for His pleasure… to serve Him even though I so often yearn just to serve myself and I then fall apart. I crumble into many pieces… but when I surrender to Him… to His will, He molds me and fills me with His treasure. I become filled with His glory… I become His tool.

I’m Liz… I’m 19 years old… almost 20. I am a college student who is a pre-occupational therapy major. I also love music… I love to write. I love to sing. I love God and I love studying His word… I love to run… I love to cook and eating is good too…

I grew up in a Christian home, but until a year ago, all of this Christian stuff was just words… basically just a nice theory… It took years of living in my own will and messing up pretty big time and destroying my life to see how much I needed to surrender to His will… I was destroying my jar of clay. I needed to surrender myself and my will to my maker…

A week ago I wrote this to summarize my breakthrough which began about a year ago…

“Humans are each given the gift of a life by our Creator. We can either choose to hand over our paint brush and let Him use it to paint a beautiful picture or cling to our paintbrush and attempt paint our own… this attempt often comes out like splatter and scribble scrabble because of our infailable nature.
When we surrender to our Maker the canvas of our life, He begins to splosh His cleansing blood over the ugly splatter of our sin and darkness and turn them into purposeful, beautiful strokes… a masterpiece of grace and love…
A year ago He showed this truth to me in a new way and began an amazing work in my life… the beginning of a journey for which I am amazed and grateful. I want to always put the canvas of my life in His hands…”

A year ago I began to surrender.
God then gradually began to change me in many ways sending people into my life who helped show me who He is.
He has really been changing me. As time goes on I will share more of my story. My story includes anxiety, eating disorders, depression, self-hate… but He is taking me to a new place. I am so amazed at His mercy to me and His power.
I just want to be His tool. His jar of clay.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you as it unfolds.
He has always been faithful.
I hope that my story… my journey with God can help someone else on theirs or on finding a relationship with Him.
This is my story, this is my song… He is my blessed assurance.
I better go study. I have an exam in a wonderful music class today!… then freedom… spring break happens to be next week…