Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free
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I’m actually really, really happy with how this turned out. I wanted something simple, yet intense. I think the lighting turned out really well. I only wish my eyes (especially my left eye- photo right) wasn’t quite so dark…but I can live with that.

I can’t even begin to describe how amazing today has been. God is changing me…absolutely changing my heart. Why, why, WHY did I stop trusting Him? Not so much stop trusting, but just…stop…walking with Him. I stopped following Him. Belief is not the same as following…and that’s being made quite clear to me right now!

While I was reading Mark Batterson’s "Wild Goose Chase" the idea of genuine repentance was really impressed upon me. I realized that if I feel guilty for anything, there’s a reason. He mentioned that there are two types of guilt- convicting & condemning. Convicting comes from the Holy Spirit- it’s good…it kind of alerts you to problem areas. Condemning guilt, however, comes directly from Satan trying to drag you down over FORGIVEN sins.

So I decided to make a list of everything I feel guilty about. EVERYTHING. And address them. Figure out which guilts were convicting & which ones were condemning. Needless to say, it’s a big list. I haven’t addressed them all- but I’ve hit a few. And let me say…I see exactly why genuine repentance is so incredibly important.

I often glorify my depression to myself. It sounds silly- but I long for it at times. It’s incredibly enticing. I mean, once I’m in it I absolutely hate it and I’m miserable…but I’ve thrown away God’s plans quite a few times to go chase a bad mood- I always gave over to it at the slightest hint of a bad mood. I think it was a power trip sometimes. It gave me a high I can’t explain.

So I asked for forgiveness. And like a ton of bricks God put the answer on me. I’ve been too afraid to try to "deal with it", because in the past, whenever I would try to ‘deal with it’, I would always get dragged through the mud. I would start out with good intentions, but man…about halfway through, the temptation was overwhelming, and I gave over to the bad mood. But God pulled the curtain back and revealed it for what it truly is.

It’s a lie. An absolute attack by Satan. It’s the very essence of sin. It was isolating. It was overwhelming & all engulfing…it was controlling. It was deceptive. I gave away all the promises of God, all the plans, all the love to follow some ridiculous self-serving feeling…and when I "got it"…it wasn’t anything like it advertised itself to be. It was empty. It was lonely. It was painful. It was disorienting. Satan cheated me. He promised me this great feeling…and when I got it, I hated it. So I really feel like God showed me that I haven’t been manufacturing my depression, so much as I’ve been believing a lie, and trusting those feelings more than Him. Now that I know, now that I see…so much can change.

It really makes sense. Everyone thought I was bipolar, but when I would do testing, it always came back negative. I’m not bipolar. I’m not sick. I just believed a lie. That’s not the case for everyone…but for me…I’m not sure any of it was real. Looking back, I’m wondering if my depression was a result of sin- the isolation, the guilt, the distance from God, as opposed to a genuine chemical depression.

Having God shine a light on sin…there’s nothing like that feeling. I don’t think sin is always that "you did something wrong" thing that we make it out to be. I think sin can take the form of many things, and in this case, it was a false belief- and an eventual willingness to trade the promises of God for that false belief. I recently learned that Sin is an archery term for missing the mark…I missed the mark time and time again despite my best efforts…because I couldn’t see the true issue at hand. It’s hard to hit a target when you’ve got a massive wall blocking your view.

I haven’t felt this free in 4 years. It’s no longer my burden to carry. It’s no longer my fight to win. It’s simply my lie to call. If I call it out for what it is, and put my trust in He who deserves my trust, I’ll be fine. For far too long I’ve said things like "I hope I can stay in a good mood long enough to go back to church" or "I don’t want to go back to church until I think I can hold down a good mood"…but you know…that’s not even relevant anymore. That sin- the sin of chasing a crippling depression, has been completely forgiven & God showed me what it is at it’s core.

It’s no longer about hurrying up and "playing Christian" as much as I can on the good days, cutting my losses on the bad ones, and starting the cycle all over again…this is my life. This is my NEW life. No more pendulum swing…just…stability. That’s a word I’ve scoffed at for years…but it’s a word that’s becoming reality.

I’ve been walking hand in hand with God for 12 days straight now. In the past, I’d give up after less than a week. 12 days isn’t a huge victory…but it’s a victory nonetheless. Yesterday was a really bad day- but I didn’t give over to it. Yesterday/last night/this morning…that was my crossroads. That was exactly when I normally give up…but I pushed on, and ended up having the most amazing time with God I’ve had this entire time. That’s no accident.

You turned my way
You heard my cry
You turned my mourning into shouting
Sorrow may last for a night
But with the light I am seeing
I am singing

You lifted me out
You lifted me out
And set me dancing, dancing
Free, now I am free
Your love rescued me
Now it’s the anthem I’m singing

Many will see
Many will hear
And find You strong enough to save
Many the wonders You have done
Your light has come, I am singing
I am singing

Lost is where You found me
Shattered and frail
But You love me still
Trouble may surround me
My heart may fail
But You never will

You never will

-Chris Tomlin: You Lifted Me Out

On of my favorite quotes from Wild Goose Chase:
"There’s no greater moment and no greater feeling than all of our guilt meeting all of God’s grace."p109

Forgiven. Redeemed. Restored. (Reborn.) & Set Free.

What is there left to say
the words, they seem to fail now
overwhelmed by the name
who paid the price for me

What if you never moved
what if you never came down
leaving Your throne in Heaven
to bring us back to You

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away

Searching for us You came
Binding up the broken hearted
looking for the men enslaved
to the secrets of his shame
climbing inside the pain
it was You who truly bore the heartache
rearranged the story’s ending
to bring us back to life again

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away
You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
you made me your own
when you rolled the stone away

hallelujah, hallelujah
hallelujah
hallelujah, hallelujah
hallelujah
Forgiven. Redeemed. Restored. and set free
Forgiven. Redeemed, Restored. Reborn. and set free.

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away
-Phil Joel: Carried Me Home

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