Monday, September 30, 2013

When "Never" is a Safe Bet and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
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I was drinking too much.

Two glasses of wine every night.  Not enough to make me drunk, just enough to take the edge off.  Because it was summer and with two kids home all the time, a book deadline, and just everything else, I had a lot of edges to soothe.

I knew it was becoming a problem when I would begin to look forward to that 6pm time around, oh, say, noon.  I knew it was becoming a problem when I asked Craig to keep me accountable to just one drink a night and I started thinking about sneaking the first one before he got home.  I really knew it was becoming a problem when God flat out told me I was running to wine instead of running to Him.  You know, the whole Holy Spirit conviction thing.  Not so easy to shake.

And I didn't want to tell you about this, because well, who likes admitting they've been substituting alcohol for Jesus?  But there's something called hypocrisy if I can tell you all about my husband's porn addiction but decide to keep my own junk in the dark, locked closet.

But I know from experience what darkness does to secrets and shame.  And I know how light can dispel lies.  And I know how telling our stories can give courage to others.
Last week, we talked about zoe and ginomai, the difference between living and just existing.  The key difference between the two, biblically speaking, is Jesus.  When we bring His life into ours, when we let Him into all the multiple facets of our lives, we get to participate in God's life and we are surrounded by His light.

But what does this look like to be bathed in this light?  What happens when we allow this light into our dark places?  What happens to those fears, those addictions, those secrets, that shame, those lies, that sin?  Can exposure really ever feel good?

The temptation to keep our sin, faults, and secrets is a big one.  Satan tries to infiltrate our minds with lies because he doesn't want us to experience the freedom that comes with standing in light.  We battle daily with questions/accusations like these:

What would people think about you?
You are not good enough to deserve God.
People expect more of you.  You can't let them see you like this.
If you were really a Christian, you wouldn't have...

And on and on and on, right?  Satan makes the darkness enticing by making God's light look too bright, too overwhelming, or too out of reach.  But, where would we be without light?  By looking at how our earth would cease to function in the temporal sense, we get a good idea of how our spiritual lives would also come to a dismal end.

If there was no light on earth, there would be chaos.  God created the light to separate the night from the day, bringing order and structure.  Jesus' light brings order into our lives.  All the times I feel like I have to hide from Jesus and shut Him out, I end up robbing myself of the peace He brings.  I start "chasing every breeze that blows my way" (to quote Toby Mac) trying to order myself and my out-of -control thoughts.

If there was no light on earth, we would be unable to see things as they are.  We would literally roam the land, our hands always outstretched, fearing what we might run into.  Our steps would be tentative, for we would fear our ever-increasing ability to stumble.  Satan often tries to distort my reality, making me unsure of what is true or false.  He is a master of disguises.  Things that might look good on the surface may only be a shadow of what it really is.  Without Jesus' light, I would be blinded to obstacles in my spiritual path that try to trip me up.  I would be unaware of the paths He has designed for me to take.  Jesus' light helps me see the fullness of a situation, a conversation, an opportunity, a lie, etc.

If there was no light on earth, there would be no growth, and therefore, no nourishment.  Plants require sunlight to undergo the process of photosynthesis and produce the food designed to give us energy and vitality.  As humans, we area also dependent on the sun for vitamin D.  Spiritually, I need Jesus' light, for He is the Bread of Life.  His light brings nourishment to my soul, feeding me peace, unconditional love, a sense of worthiness, forgiveness, etc.

If there was no light from the sun, we would have no moonlight.  The moon can only reflect the sunlight that washes over it.  If I am to live out the call to go out and make disciples, to be a light to the world, I must have Jesus' light in me. I cannot reflect a light I don't receive.

No matter how overpowering Satan makes the darkness seem, light can always pierce it.  Jesus will NEVER be overcome by your sin, your shame, your secrets, or your addictions.  NOTHING you do or think or feel is stronger than His love for you.  Once you allow His light to enter into your heart and your light, you can see the fullness of what may have gotten you into the situation in the first place.  And restoration can begin to happen. 

Think of the reflection of a tarnished spoon.  This is what our sin and shame make us.  But as we allow God to polish us, wash away those things and forgive us, we become new again.  And when light hits it, it reflects in such a majestic way, showing the power of redemption for all the world to see.

Back to the wine-drinking.  I realized my stress was driving this need for alcohol.  I was so overwhelmed by what I thought I had to do, that I never took time to rest.  As I began to believe Jesus would help me accomplish what He asked me to do, I began to give myself a break.  During these periods of rest, I became to understand a whole other facet of God I hadn't known.  And this nourished me in a way that wine never could.  So, now, I still enjoy a glass of wine.  But I enjoy it for what it is, not what it can do for me.  Jesus has that role now.

Are there places of darkness in your heart? Or have there been before?  What is/was your reason for keeping them in the dark?  What might/did happen if/when you started to bring them to Jesus and let Him bathe them in His light?

Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.
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photo credit: Kuzeytac via photopin cc (Words added by Jen)

18 comments :

  1. Okay, do I have to admit here in this little box that I'm drinking a glass of wine as I read your post? You're so right--wine should be about joy, not about taking the edge off.

    You're the best Jen, the way you don't hide your junk--the way you affirm your husband by admitting that you--that we all, are works in progress. It's so easy to stay hidden away in the corners of darkness. Yet there's no healing there.

    Light shines in darkness, and darkness does not overcome it. Light is the only thing that can chase the darkness back to the enemy who dwells there.

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    1. Nancy, you are the best. One day, I'm finding you IRL.

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  2. Awww, love you even more for keeping it so real.

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  3. Oh, Jen! I so appreciate your transparency! This was such an encouraging post!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    www.ahearteninglife.com

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  4. Powerful words, Jen. Our dark spots only grow darker when they are hidden. We all have them and you have found the answer we all need to face...JESUS. He is the answer to all, to everything. He can truly fill any hole and any tear. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to help all of us open up in ways we might not have been able to. You are loved.
    Caring through Christ (more than you know, my friend!), ~ linda

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  5. I can totally understand what you were going through - I did/do the same thing with food. Except it's almost acceptable to turn to food in times of stress, so it's easy to justify. It's a battle I've fought for years, but I'm getting there. Thanks for being so real and encouraging others, too. You rock, friend.

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    1. Oh yes. Been there several times with food, too, girl. It's learning how to make my way to Jesus while forsaking much of the tangible comforts.

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  6. Jen,
    You shine His light by reminding us our dark spots can change in His light...I have run to food and to busyness, instead of Jesus, and that is to run into darkness when God wants to love me into His light...hugs to you :) Thanks for your honesty ...you shine girl :)

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  7. Jen - Your honesty is just so refreshing. First Emily, now you! I love that we can lay it all out and share the "real" us...without fear of judgement, with the thought that others of us will come along and condemn us! It's so amazing how light shines in the darkness and how darkness can't run from His light! Bless you sweet friend as you so candidly share your life with those of us at Soli de Gloria. :) ~ Jen

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  8. "Satan makes the darkness enticing by making God's light look too bright, too overwhelming, or too out of reach." -- Preach it, sister. We have to be willing to reach in and pull each other out into the light of life. Coming here on Monday nights definitely shines a light in my heart. Thanks :)

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  9. Oh, Jen. You are so brave and so wise! We all do this with one thing or another - wine, food, shopping, a TV show, or anything - we fall into a temporary comfort instead of into Jesus. Thank you for shining light on this subject. The enemy doesn't like it, but we are grateful!

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  10. What beautiful honesty! Honesty with yourself...honesty with your family...honesty with your readers. God will honor that and it also breaks the chains of shame that the enemy tries to keep us in. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post - it is a good reminder for all of us that we each have something that can so easily take the place God should be in.

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  11. Amen & Amen long lost friend! Shame & the hiding hold us all back so much...I do have these things, like not blogging b/c life is busy, yes, but it's hard when all you feel like you have to offer is what a mess you are making of this new life...& so much more. This makes me think of the Kari Jobe song we are...sending such much love & thanks for your friendship:}

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  12. Jen your honesty and transparency is such a blessing. Your words reach out to people in ways you never know. How powerful. God is using you in mighty ways, girlfriend!

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  13. My brave, precious friend....I struggled with this Christian drinking (aren't we funny) thing until about four years ago when God knocked me to the ground at friend's church and showed me what I'd been doing--substituting my thirst for new wine (the Holy Spirit) with a quick fix, the fruit of the vine, which always left me thirsty. I'll enjoy a half a glass sometimes because I like the taste, but God continues to keep me thirsty for the REAL THING--Him, his presence and his Holy Spirit. He is so faithful.

    THANK YOU for talking about this.
    I love you for it and appreciate you immensely.

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  14. Yep! Been there and done that! I'm so glad His light shines through the darkness and can never be extinguished!! I'm so glad for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. My hubby and I both struggled with this for a bit of time. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for hosting the blog party!
    Blessings, Ann @ Christ in the Clouds
    http://christintheclouds.blogspot.com/

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  15. Praise God that nothing, no one, no power, could ever defeat His will, purpose and plan! Thanks for the great post & for hosting & God bless!

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