I used to be so terrified of making mistakes.
I used to think that if I even breathed wrong, God would hate me.
I used to pray and read the bible and go to church because of the fear that lived within me.
I was a disaster, walking in a path ridden with insecurities, wondering if there was anywhere I could actually belong.
I lived in complete selfishness – running to people, substances, anything and everything that I thought would make me feel enough.
I felt this way most of my life, but over the past year, I have been realizing that this is the furthest thing from the truth of who God is.
Ironically, turning away from what I called Christianity was exactly what I needed to realize that Jesus is nothing like I thought He was.
And when my broken lifestyle left me empty and I had nowhere left to run but into God’s arms, He held me. I felt worthy there. All the guidelines and rules I broke? God still wanted me. It’s the classic run-away-then-return-to-God-because-that-didn’t-help-at-all story. It’s the prodigal son.
Ever since, I have been seeking to embrace the grace He offers me. Although it is difficult, I immediately started reading and praying to find peace and belonging — He has been so good, He has provided.
But then my alarm goes off and I don’t want to get up and start my day with Him. I’d rather do it on my own today; I’m too lazy to be spiritual today.
And then my little friend Guilt (courtesy of the enemy) comes and stays and starts infecting every part of me.
“You’re not trying hard enough. You’re not worthy of His love. You can’t do this, you aren’t good enough.”
The message I have been telling myself for so long is coming back because I skipped one day of reading?
No. This is not okay. This is not right.
I refuse to believe what Guilt is saying to me, because God is NOT a God of guilt. He is love and peace and acceptance, but He is not guilt. He wants me to come to him out of the delight and joy I feel in being with Him.
There is a fine line between self-discipline and legalism, a fine line between wanting and, “I have to.”
Please walk with me in this truth. The truth that God doesn’t want you to ever feel guilty, but to always feel grace. And when we can start accepting this grace, we can be free.
I used to be so terrified to making mistakes.
Now, I know I am already forgiven and I can learn from them.
I used to think that if I breathed wrong, God would hate me.
Now, I know that God and “hates me” should never be in the same sentence because there is nothing but unconditional love and steadfast longing to be with me on His end of the relationship.
I used to pray and read the Bible and go to church because of the fear that lived within me.
Now, I pray and read the Bible and go to church because I want to be with Him, because He is the only thing that provides me the stability to keep going and to love myself through the process.
Prayer is not punishment, the Bible isn’t hate mail, and God isn’t a bully.
Prayer is comfort, peace. The Bible is God’s love story of pursuing people relentlessly. And God: He is Love and Grace.
We just have to stop seeing our relationship with God as a competition, as a race to spiritual greatness. And instead see Him as our home. We are not in spiritual jail, being charged with religious rituals to free our souls.
I should not feel guilty and God doesn’t charge us. He charged Jesus on our behalf and we are free.
-Madi Wiese // @madiwiese