A few weeks ago I read a book that is rocking my world. It has changed the way I understand my faith in Christ. It has brought freedom into my life in an area that I have struggled with for many years. Actually, the book didn’t do these things. It was just a tool. God used that tool in His best timing (when I was ready to hear it) to speak deeply into my heart, and those words that He spoke are changing me from the inside out.
The book is Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge. It is written primarily to women, but probably a good read for any adult. If you haven’t read it, I cannot say it loudly enough. Read it.
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I was frustrated with myself. I was aggravated with my kids. I was just in a slump and buried in insecurities. I was sure that I was not enough, and I managed to tell my kids the same through the ranting that I chose to carry out. I cried the ugly cry. I made one of my kids cry her own ugly cry. With shame covering me, I then had to join the family at the dinner table. I felt like scum. How could they possible want me there when I had just been so awful to them? It was awful, and it was not the first time by a long shot. Satan has been using this weakness of mine for some time now.
After dinner, I snuck away to be alone. I guess I just wanted to feel bad for myself for a while. Captivating was sitting next to me. I had checked it out at the library. Honestly, I have tried to read this book three times over the past few years. On the first two tries, I could not get past the first couple chapters. This time, the third time, I opened the book in the middle, probably 150 pages in. And God spoke to my heart right there in the middle of the book. I read from the book with every spare moment for the whole weekend. I could not stop, because I was so hungry for this good news. He knew what I needed to hear that day. He knew that that day He would heal my heart of some big misconceptions.
I used to think of the Gospel as saying something like, “It’s okay if you don’t measure up. Nobody does. I still love (I’ll accept) you.” It was a gospel of grace, but I missed the Beloved part.
Now I am hearing God say, “ You are genuinely beautiful. Life has hurt you, but I’m here to redeem you. You are so special to me. Let me heal your heart. Let me have you completely as my own.”
God pursues me like a bride. He not only cares for me, but He wants me. All I’ve every really wanted was to be wanted. He pursues me. And he want me to pursue Him in freedom of spirit, not bogged down with the baggage of self worth lies.
The gospel message is not just about forgiveness. That is big, but there is so much more. It is deep relationship. Fellowship restored. Redeemed. Beloved. Bride of Christ. Valuable. Made for a purpose. My sin cast far away and remembered no more. Loved. Really, really loved.
He wants me to have a spirit at rest, at peace. He wants me to be beautiful inside and out. He wants me to be a woman that invites others to be near and to hear the same redemption story. This is the good news. This freedom is worth sharing.
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I did go back and read the rest of the book. The first third was about how we all endure hurts and build up walls and insecurities. The last part was about how God wants to use us, how our experiences, passions, and abilities lend themselves to ministering to others, and how we are indeed valuable, even needed. Those parts were good too, but it was the middle that really allowed me to see God’s heart for me, for you.
Do you want to know how it is changing me? I feel confident. I have never felt truly confident. I could put on a face for a short time, but this is different. It is not from me. It is instead confidence in who Christ says that I am. Beautiful. Valuable. Wanted. I’m finding a new identity. I’m finding the beauty in me, both physically and spiritually. I’m not afraid to speak truth and love into others’ lives. I’m excited to see scripture and songs in new and fresh ways. The trees are more beautiful. Life feels more lovely. I sense that relationship with God growing and influencing me.
There is freedom from the bondage of self worth lies. Your self worth is found in God and who He made you to be. You are loved, wanted, beautiful. You are needed. Rest in that truth. Rest in the gospel message. God LOVES you. He wants a restored relationship with you. Jesus will forgive your sins and remember them no more. He finds you beautiful. Lovely. Worthy. And He wants you. Knowing and believing this will rock your life too!