Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
She told me she had to stop reading. The lies were too real, too close.
The ebook, 10 Ways to Ignore God, the little book I never meant to write, makes people squirm. I know.
Ignore God? Why would anyone want to do that?
Except we do.
And most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
That’s why I wrote down the lies. I needed to remind myself of what they sound like–the things I believe about God and about myself that feel a lot like truth even though they are completely false. The lies that get me to ignore God, the lies that keep me enslaved to sin. I wonder if you need this reminder too.
So, let’s do this:
LET’S RECOGNIZE AND SURRENDER THOSE LIES THAT TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOM AND CONVINCE US WE ARE FAR AWAY FROM GOD.
And let’s do this together.
Are you ready?
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. And take a couple minutes now and write down, without editing or censoring yourself, first, the characteristics that you believe are true about God, and second, what words you believe God uses when He thinks of you.
Take just a couple of minutes and get some thoughts down.
Go fast. Don’t overthink it. Write down the first thing that comes into your head. Okay . . . go.
1. What are some of the characteristics about God that you believe are true?
2. What words do you think God uses when He thinks of you? (Don’t worry now about whether or not your heart believes this. Just write down what you’ve read about or know about God.)
How difficult was it to jot down some characteristics about God? How difficult was it to write down words describing how God thinks of you? Was that tougher?
For me, when I have done this exercise, the ease in which I am able to do this–or the difficulty–reveals a lot about what I am believing about the truth–or not–of God and His love for me.
Now, I have a second thing for you to do: For each positive characteristic you wrote down about God, for each thing you believe, in your head, is true about Him, what does your heart struggle to believe?
WHAT CAN GET IN THE WAY OF YOU BELIEVING THAT CHARACTERISTIC OF GOD IS ACTUALLY TRUE?
Think of real life, concrete examples.
When you hear that you are God’s beloved, what gets in the way of you living like you believe that? When you hear that you are enough, or that you can trust Him, or that you are beautiful, or that you don’t have to do a thing to earn His love, what gets in the way of your heart believing what your mind reads in the Bible is true?
For me, when I would read in the Bible that I am God’s beloved, or, like it says in Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing” I am amazed. And there was a time when I would struggle to believe that He would ever want to sing with joy over me.
So, take a few more minutes now, and on your paper, a little bit lower now, pick one of the words you wrote down–either a word about God or a word that indicates how He feels about you–and write a few sentences to God telling Him what your heart struggles to believe . . and how you feel about that.
Choose one of the words above (a characteristic of God or a word describing how He thinks of you) and circle it. Write a short letter to God–just a few sentences–telling Him your struggle to believe this is true.
A letter to God I’ve written, in the past, has sounded like this:
Dear Father, I believe You are good, and that You are here, and that You are for me; but I am not okay with You loving me like this–me, the way I am. It is just too hard to believe You could love me, with all my sin, with all the ways I fail. I struggle to let go, to surrender, to believe I shouldn’t try to be a better version of who You’ve made me to be to be loved by You.
A friend shared this quote with me:
Too many Christians live their lives like slaves—to the devil—because they believe his lies more than they trust God (Joyce Meyer).
I can read this and think: of course, this can’t apply to me!? There is no way I believe lies about God, about his character, about his love for me.
Except that for so many years, for so many instances in my life, I have.
We hear this word a lot–freedom, and we hear about how Jesus came and sacrificed himself and died so that we could be free. But I think I’ve lived most of my life taking freedom for granted, at least the kind of freedom that counts the most. The kind of freedom that is easy for me to recognize is the kind recognized by our culture, usually, too.
For instance, I get to worship God the way I want to, I get to communicate what I think and vote the way I want and do work I love to do. I get to wear what I want and marry whom I want and feel safe physically, in the neighborhood, this country, in which I live. But I think there’s a freedom I can too easily forget . . . can you think of what it is?
IF I DON’T APPRECIATE THE FREEDOM GOD GIVES ME SPIRITUALLY–GIVES MY HEART, WHEN I CHOOSE TO KNOW HIM AND LOVE HIM OR NOT, I AM NOT FREE.
And if we’re not free, we’re never going to be the person God has created us to be.
And if we’re not free, we’re never going to live the life of adventure and faith God has equipped us to have.
And if we’re not free, we’re never going to know Jesus like we are made to know Him.
And if we’re not free, we’re never going to feel His arms around us, or know His gaze, or feel His heart beating against our cheek.
IF WE’RE NOT FREE, WE’RE ENSLAVED.
And if we’re enslaved, and we’re not free, the trickiest thing about the whole mess is this: we can live years, decades, our whole lives, if we want, not even recognizing how trapped we really are.
That’s not the kind of life I want. Do you? After all, that’s not freedom.
Consider this verse:
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! (Galatians 5:1, MSG).
Today, together, let’s take our stand. Let’s wrestle out this definition of freedom, the kind of freedom we are meant to have with Jesus. Let’s recognize, throw down, surrender, and turn our back on the lies we’ve been believing about God. Let’s say yes to the life He has always meant for us to live. You ready? Do you want to do this with me?
Then stayed tuned for the next post.
Come on, sisters. Let’s do this.
Did you do the exercises? What was it like writing your letter to God? What is God whispering to your heart?
Want to know what the lies you might be listening to sound like? Get the free ebook here.
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com