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.
We share Holley Gerth's article in My Girls yesterday--her words on how one's signature struggles can reveal one's signature strengths. It is beautiful how the women who come to My Girls--and you amazing women who gather here--are willing to share their struggles with one another.
We don't want to hide.
There are things about ourselves that we may have not yet shared in community--because we choose safety over vulnerability, because we are not sure if we have found a safe place among sisters to share our hearts. What does community need to look like for it to be a place where our deepest fears are lifted up, into the light, where they can clearly be seen?
We are not meant to hide our hearts from one another. But we do. And it may not be for the reason you think.
There is one thing I am learning for sure: the enemy, my friends, tries to cover up our deepest wounds and hide from us the agreements we've made with him. He doesn't want us to know what lies he's whispered to us and convinced us to believe about ourselves.
I am not enough.
I am too much.
I don't have a voice.
I am not a good mom.
I am too needy.
I don't love well.
I need to have the answers.
I have to be the one in control. . .
We feel the reality of these agreements. We live them. They wound us and the people whom we love. But, crazy as it sounds, the enemy makes it difficult for us to discern the agreements we've made. We've become so used to believing the lies that we can't imagine that they are actually separate from who we really are.
If we don't ask Jesus to come and reveal to us the agreements we've made that distort our true identity, in Christ, we suffer. And those around us suffer. We are made to live unencumbered, clothed in joy and righteousness. We let Jesus cast off the false things, the burdens, we bear, so that we can more fully live in Him. Breaking agreements ushers forth the life of freedom we were designed to experience when we were first created by our Father.
I love David's words that remind me how God comes for us and invites us into life with Him:
You have saved me from death.
You have kept me from tripping and falling.
Now I can live with you
in the light that leads to life (Psalm 56:13).
We either continue to live out the agreements Satan has encouraged us to make with him, or we ask Jesus to reveal the agreements to us so that we can break them. The decision is up to us. Because these agreements we've made with the enemy feel so familiar, such a part of us--and because the last thing Satan wants is for us to recognize we have made agreements with him at all--it can take lots of time, sometimes, to even discern they exist.
But with Jesus' help, and with a willing heart, we can.
In the next post, over at You Are My Girls tomorrow, I'll tell you about how I struggled to share with my friends, at My Girls, what my signature struggle is. I felt burdened by my not being able to see it. And it was all because of an agreement I had made--a lie I was believing about myself that I had never realized before. I will share with you how my husband met me in the kitchen later, that night and, through his prayer for me, I saw what the agreement was. And I came absolutely undone.
Do you know what agreements you may have unwittingly made? What is your experience with seeing them for what they truly are? Do you struggle with sharing your heart in community? How can I pray for you?