My defenses were already up as I entered the meeting. It had been a week of contention and blaming around the office, and I felt like I could do nothing right. Due to the high tension of COVID-19 economic impact, people had gone from professional debates about what we needed to do to overcome to people being downright mean to each other.
Sighing deeply, I dialed into the next meeting that is typically "shark tank" like in nature, knowing it would likely be more of the same.
Unfortunately, I was right. Quickly, the debates crossed the line to personal attacks, and my team and I took the brunt of the verbal beating.
Overwhelmed with fear and doubt, I started to lose control of my thoughts as I hung up the phone.
I should've said... my mind whirled," while my heart thudded. My team should've prepared better, then maybe it would have gone better", another thought barged in.
And like they always do, the 'should've' thoughts quickly turned into statements of wrong beliefs about who I am.
I should've known what to do in this situation by now.
I am no good at this job.
I am failing.
I am a failure.
And because I knew that God had given me this job, I truly felt like I was failing God. But just before I resigned to the lie that I am a failure the Holy Spirit interrupted:
"Take a break Micah," I heard, "and turn your face toward me. I have something for you if you will come to me."
I just so happened to have a cancellation between meetings, so I grabbed my devotional and Bible and walked out of my home office to the clearing outside. I sat cross-legged on the stone I placed there for prayer time and opened the devotional to today's date. It read. "No matter how you are feeling today, you are not on trial," and referenced Romans 8:1.
Nearly dropping the book, I sat in stunned silence. I have lived my whole life, as though I am on trial. In all my roles, corporate worker, mom, wife, I never rest. I never feel free. I am always trying to prove that I am good enough. And I had taken this worldly behavior into my relationship with God.
I was operating as if I was on trial before God. But God says I am free. He is the one who freed me.
Spiritually awake now, God revealed a Kingdom truth I had never realized before. It is the Accuser who keeps me feeling on trial and not believing the truth about how God sees me. He whispers should've statements into my ear until I am ready to give up on the things that God has called me to do, sure that I have failed God and everyone else. I have let him tell me that I am a failure and that God is displeased by me for much of my life.
But with my eyes opened, I could see that should've's are shame words and one of the Enemy's most devious tactics. Whispering these lies into our ears is how He kills the freedom God has bought for us and keeps us from completing the mission God has called us to do.
To avoid this trap of the enemy, we need to understand that all shame is from the enemy. God does not correct in shame, and He has freed us from condemnation through the blood of Christ. It is the enemy who accuses us. The name that the Israelites used for the devil can be translated to the accuser. They knew that he is the source of shame and that he wields its power over us by accusing us until we feel inadequate or beyond redemption.
But, the case is closed. Jesus covered us with His blood. Period. There is no shame or condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1. And God wants us to walk in the freedom He paid such a high price for.
So today, if there is any shame in you, shake it off. It is the enemy, not God. When God sees you, He sees His precious child, whom He created and ransomed with His only Son. He sees you wiped clean by the blood no matter what you have done.
He doesn't think you should've done better at whatever the Accuser is saying right now, either. That is just a ploy to get you to stay down. Instead, stand up and walk in the freedom already given to you.
As I headed back into my office from the clearing, I tangibly dusted the shame off me. I don't have to believe that I should've done better or that I am a failer no matter what happens. After all, I am not on trial. The case on me is already closed, and I have been found worthy by the God of the universe. And so have you.
Father, that wicked Enemy keeps us locked in shame so often here, but we know that you have freed us and that you love us. Help us to see his lies for what they are so we can see you for who you really are as well. Thank you for covering us with the blood of your Son. We receive this gift and worship you for it by walking in our freedom right here and now. In Jesus' name, Amen.
This Weeks Scripture Study:
And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” Romans 8:15-16
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Who then would dare to accuse those whom God has chosen in love to be his? God himself is the judge who has issued his final verdict over them—“Not guilty!" Romans 8:33
This Weeks Challenge:
You are truly free from condemnation. I know that is hard to believe, but we can. We can learn to walk in freedom and believe that God sees us as His dearly beloved children. Each time this week a should've shame statement comes at you, remember that you are not on trial. The case is already closed. You have already been found worthy. Shake it off and remind yourself who you really are: a beloved child of God.
Does feeling like a failure seem to describe your whole life? Maybe the Enemy has been lying to you about who you are. And the world probably has been too. Find your true identity as a loved and free child of God in Micah's recently published book - You Are Loved & Free: A Guided Journey to Winning the Battle For Your Identity.