What do you struggle with? What is your weakness? I’ve mentioned before that Satan is a student of us, knows us inside and out, sees our weaknesses and exploits them like any capable enemy would. So I’ve always thought it was a good idea to recognize my weaknesses so that I can better respond to his attacks.  It makes it easier to see when he’s coming after you (easier . . . not easy). It gives you a foundation to start defending yourself using truth from God’s Word to point out to Satan that he’s a liar.

I have to say from experience that it’s a lot easier said than done. Because some “weaknesses” can become so ingrained in a person that they become an extension of your personality–or at least, you can perceive them yourself as part of who you are. We are so good at lying to ourselves. And once we lie to ourselves enough, we start to believe it–and that opens the door for Satan to attack full force with his own lies.

I have always struggled with feeling inadequate. I don’t know why. I’m sure there are a lot of theories as to why, but none of them explain my stubborn inability to recognize it as a lie other than my obvious acceptance of it. I think I’ve told myself for so long that I am totally inadequate that I have begun to believe it. So it’s no great accomplishment for Satan to get through to me, telling me that I’m worthless and useless and insufficient when I believe him already.

I’m inadequate at work. I’m inadequate in ministry. I’m inadequate as a friend. I’m inadequate as a daughter and a sister. I’m inadequate as a mentor. I’m inadequate. I’m insufficient. I’m not enough and I never will be enough because I don’t know what else I can do to make up for everything I lack. Maybe that’s being human. And maybe it’s okay for other people to be human but it’s not okay–and has never been okay–for me to be anything less than perfect. . . . . . because what reason would anyone have to care about me otherwise?

Yes. That’s a lie. I know it. I recognize it. But I still feel it. And I don’t want sympathy, though prayers would be nice, because I know it’s untrue. And I know it’s one of Satan’s manipulations. And I know–I know–I know all that. I do. But it’s hard to draw the line between what you know and what you feel. And I’m really tempted to not even post this because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea . . . . but what God gave me last night has so changed my entire perspective I may just let people think what they want to.

I was hanging out at home, getting ready for today and trying to think of ways to be obediant. At church, we’ve been learning about blessings. The whole message series has been so awesome . . . . I haven’t gotten this much out of a message series since Life Ink. I didn’t think it was possible to top that one, but Bless U has . . . completely.

The Bible says that God will bless you in the area you surrender to Him. I get that. So I had already decided to release those parts of my life that I’ve been holding onto.

What we learned this past weekend that God will bless you in the areas where you are obediant to Him. I totally get that too. Financially speaking? Holy cow. I can’t even tell you how true that is. Working for the State, I barely scraped by. There were weeks I didn’t know where my groceries were going to come from. There were some days the only thing I could do was just pray over my bank account because I didn’t know how I was going to survive. But the one thing I never faltered on was my tithe. It never even occurred to me to stop tithing. I fully believed (and still do) that the only reason I made it was because I never stopped giving my ten percent back to God. And now? Without going into details, let’s just say that finances aren’t an issue anymore. God was faithful to bless me in the areas where I was obediant to Him.

Now, there are still a few areas in my life where I would like to be blessed. So I was thinking last night how to be obediant in those areas. I’m a generally obediant person, I think. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I usually don’t have a problem obeying. I give what God tells me to give. I go where He tells me to go. I do what He tells me to do. Period. No arguing. No challenging. No whining. I’ve seen Him work in so many ways in my life and in others’ lives that I know better than to second guess Him. It’s always better to do what He asks and be patient waiting for what He has in store.

But what came to me last night really, honestly took my breath away. And it’s going to sound so ridiculous because it’s something I already knew–but there is such a massive difference between believing something and truly, deeply, honestly knowing it.

All my life I have known that God is sufficient for me. Of course, He is. He’s God. He can do anything, be anything I need, be anywhere I need Him to be. He is enough for me. More than enough for me.  But what I realized last night is that I am sufficient for Him.

Isn’t that obvious, though? What can I do that will make Him love me more or love me less? What can I do to be perfect? Nothing. I mean, I can please Him with faith. But even if I don’t, He still loves me. Even when I fail, He’ll still accept me. Even when I screw up and forget everything He’s ever taught me, He’ll still welcome me home with open arms and tell me that He loves me unconditionally–which means no matter what. No matter what.

And then the only thing I could think about was that David Crowder Band song, “How He Loves.” There’s a line in there:

“He is our portion and we are His prize.”

He is sufficient for us. We are sufficient for Him.

We don’t don’t have to change. Or be perfect. Or achieve great and incredible things. Or do things for Him. Or be someone we’re not for Him. We can just be who we are and He loves us just the way we are. Granted, we’ll receive more blessings if we do seek to accomplish awesome things for Him . . . . but it doesn’t mean He loves us less if (when) we fail.

See why this is a ridiculous revelation? It’s something I’ve known all my life. Something I’ve sung about–written about–talked about all my life. But it’s so much easier to tell other people than it is to believe about yourself. I know all my flaws and failures and shortcomings . . . but so does He. And He loves me anyway. Beyond that, there’s nothing I can do (or fail to do) that will make Him love me less.

And that made me wonder if I’m not being obediant in the way I view myself. I’m not saying that’s it. I’m just saying I’m wondering. If God really does love me unconditionally–and if He really loves me because He wants to–and if there’s nothing I can do to change His mind about seeing me that way, why do I insist on viewing myself as inadequate? Why do I see failure every time I look at myself? Why do I believe the obvious lies Satan tells me?

Yes, we’re supposed to be humble. Yes, we’re not supposed to think more of ourselves than we ought to. Yes, we’re supposed to prefer our brothers and sisters above ourselves. But there has to be a balance between humility and understanding that God gave what was most precious to Him to save me.

So. This is Amy’s new leaf. Whenever I feel inadequate (which is just about every hour of every day on a good day), I’m going to tell Satan to go butt a stump and I’m going to remember that God loves me and that I am the person He made me and that He really honestly does have a plan for me that’s His plan and not mine.

And isn’t it so much better to have His plan instead of your own? Because as long as it’s His plan, nobody can screw it up–especially me.

Encouragement for a Monday morning

Ephesians 1:18 – I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he has called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

This was my verse for today and it really encouraged me.

With the end of Judgement House this year, I’m expecting a bit of gloom to settle over everything. It always does. So I was super excited to pick up my e-mail this morning and see this verse smiling at me.

What a difference a single little modifier makes! The word confident shouted out from the page at me this morning. Paul didn’t pray just for us to remember the hope we have in Christ . . . but that we would remember the confident hope we have. Confidence makes all the difference in the world.

You can hope for something without really believing it will come true. I do it all the time, I hate to admit. I’m an unpublished writer. =) Hope is my bread and butter. But confident hope? That’s something different.

We can hope confidently in the promises God has made to us because He is trustworthy. We can trust Him–and be confident in Him–because He is who He is.