Condemnation. The dictionary defines it as, “…the expression of very strong disapproval.” (Google dictionary). The very word creates a strong visceral reaction in my body and my gut hurts when I read it or hear it. It conjures up images and memories in my story of times when I was told I wasn’t good enough and today, I need God to bring some healing. It stirs my own internal voice that is regularly spewing words of self condemnation.
I love New York City (NYC). From as far back as I can remember, NYC has held a really special place in my heart. From Sesame Street to Godspell, something amazing and wonderful happens in NYC and I have truly always longed to live there. My heart also longs to love people. I am most drawn to the disenfranchised, outcasts and displaced people’s. The ones that are hard to love are the ones I love the hardest. I can’t really explain either so I have to believe they are passions from God.
A few years ago I was introduced to an organization called Internal Project (IP). This ministry organization is based in NYC and its primary focus is to reach the unreached and the displaced. They provide 10 months of training on how to reach people for Jesus by becoming part of a community. The purpose is to learn how to go and love by one-on-one discipleship and small group leadership. Students then either go off to foreign missions, take their knowledge back to their home town or stay on as part of a long-term team in NYC. I fell in love the minute I heard of this organization and started praying for guidance. IP marries two of my passions: NYC and loving people.
A month ago I took a leap of faith and sent in my application to be part of the training and then the long-term team staying in NYC. Yesterday I got notice that my application had been accepted and I would move on to the next round of the process which includes background checks, interviews and a site visit. Today I woke up feeling condemned instead of hope.
Several years ago I was arrested for a suspicion of a DUI. That experience changed my life forever in amazing ways. I have never had a drop to drink and gotten behind the wheel of a car again. I learned a lot about my addiction and why I chose to numb through alcohol. A few months later I quit drinking altogether. God used it as a wake up call and I truly woke up. Here’s the downside though: that trauma on top of other trauma has led to an opening for the enemy…condemnation.
Since yesterday, my thoughts have been things like, “they won’t want you because of the arrest”, “you aren’t good enough, look at the bad things you’ve done”, “God doesn’t have any reason to give you the desires of your heart”. These words circle my brain and heart frequently and have stopped me many times. They lead me to pulling out, stepping down and closing up. If I stay in my safe corner, in agreement with the lies, then I can’t be hurt more.
This morning, I’m inviting Jesus into this battle in a new way. Well, I’m actually inviting Him into it at all, which is new. I need to take God at His word which says:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I can’t change my past and honestly, I wouldn’t because my story allows me to help the people I love…the ones who feel unloveable. Without my particular story, I couldn’t reach the people I can reach. Without the arrest, I wouldn’t have stopped drinking and driving and I may have killed someone. Without the arrest, I wouldn’t have quit drinking when I did and I may have never connected with my daughter well. Without the arrest, I wouldn’t have my testimony of how God redeemed my life and now uses it to bring glory to His name. God took something horrible, being arrested, and used it for something good, being free.
What’s your story hold that the enemy uses to condemn you? Speak against his lies because all he wants to do is stop you. Stop you from believing, stop you from moving, and stop you from having faith. Once you believe Jesus as Lord in your life Satan can’t take your salvation, but he can take your relationship with God and cause you to waver in your faith. Don’t let him. Speak God’s word against the enemy because he has to flee. Pray scripture back to God and claim His promises. God is for you!
For me, I won’t be retracting my application and staying in my safe life. I’m pressing ahead believing that I am no longer condemned because Jesus is my Redeemer. I’m also believing God is going to reward my faith with acceptance into the program and if for some reason he doesn’t, it’s because there is something better!!