I’ve learned a lot during my years of writing and speaking. And some things have surprised me. But nothing has surprised me more than this: we Christians have a hard time letting go of our guilt. Even if we’ve accepted God’s gift of grace and forgiveness, many of us still have a hard time believing He forgets our past. We still hear Satan’s condemnation as he whispers in our ears.
Christ followers voice their struggles everywhere I go. And it doesn’t matter whether the words roll out in a slow southern drawl or escape at a clipped staccato pace, the heartfelt cry is the same. It’s the painful reality that we’ve failed. That we haven’t measured up. That we’ve let God down. The names change and the circumstances vary, but the sad truth is, we still feel dirty, we still feel ashamed, and we think we’re too damaged to be loved and used by Him.
It’s another lie of Satan. The truth is, God doesn’t see us as we see ourselves. Our past failures don’t have to affect our future calling. And whether you’re a single woman, a mother of three kids, or a grandmother trying to make up for lost time, God can still use you.
In his book, God: As He Longs for You to See Him, Chip Ingram says, “. . . what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you grow toward him.” Want to grow closer to God? It begins by realizing how God feels about you.
Our Father truly has a personal, specific plan for your life, and He’s ready for you to grab hold of the vision. He’s ready for you to answer His call, regardless of where you are at the moment or where you’ve been in the past.
“It’s comforting to realize that God calls us from who and what we are,” says Nancie Carmichael, in her book, Selah. “You hear the call and present who you are–not who you wish you were–to see what he will make of you.”
The Lord wants to make much of you. He wants to give you the opportunity to be light in the darkness for Him. And He can, if you’re willing to start where you are today and look forward to becoming what He wants you to be.
Ashamed of your past? Join the crowd. Join the crowd of sinners at the foot of a bloody cross. Paul, David, and Moses were murderers. David added adultery to his list. Ruth was an idol worshiper. Peter denied Christ. Now if God was able to forgive and use these people for His glory, don’t you think He can forgive and use you?
The truth is, God doesn’t waste any scars. Whatever we’ve done, whatever we’ve gone through, He can use those very things to bring glory to Himself, if we let him.
So…are you willing to be used by God? It may require a transparency that hurts, but in doing so, it can release the power that heals.
I praise God that when He looks at me, He doesn’t see me as damaged goods. He sees me as His precious, forgiven child, called to follow and proclaim His Name. Called to be a writer and speaker for Him.
What does He have in mind for you? You can be sure it has nothing to do with your guilt...and everything to do with His grace.
See, He is doing a new thing in you!
This is what the LORD says--
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:16a, 18-19b
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Vonda Skelton is a writer and speaker, the author of four books, including Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe and the Bitsy Burroughs Mystery Series for kids 8-12 years old. She can be reached at www.VondaSkelton.com.