Monday, March 21, 2011

Lead me to Repentance

        After discussing Lent with several people a couple weeks ago, I decided to follow Lent this year for the first time. I didn't want it to be legalistic practice, but a time to have self-reflection and to prepare my heart for Easter and to remember what Christ has done. I have been going through a Lent devotional which has been convicting and helping me to reflect in a deep good way. One of the recent daily devotional shared a suggested prayer to pray. It says "Lord, I am willing to be left alone with my sin, so that I can be transformed. I prayed that prayer which kind of scared me to do.
      These last few weeks have been interesting in that God has been revealing sins in my life.  I have been convicted lately of how selfish I am. I so easily get caught up in what people think about me. I want to be noticed, I want people to like me, and I don't want there to be conflict. I feel guilty and dwell on the fact that maybe I am making someone unhappy and they won't like me anymore. When I write this out, I know this may seem like elementary thinking, but this is what has been going through my head. As I reflected on why I feel this way, I realized that it is because I place my identity in what others think about me. My prayer has been that I would be freed of these thoughts and my hearts desire would be to place my identity in who I am in Christ. He has continually shown me that I am a precious daughter of the King and that He loves me so much, but at times I struggle to rest in that. I also have been realizing that I approach Jesus and Christianity in a selfish way. I was listening to a podcast by Britt Merrick, and he was talking about how we read the Bible selfishly in trying to get something out of it for ourselves and make us feel better instead of learning about God's character and what He wants us to learn from His word. This is something that I realize I struggle with and have been reflecting on, especially as we talked about the Bible a couple Saturdays ago. Also, this weekend Darin spoke about Judas and how he followed Jesus for personal gain. Darin said " We pursue Jesus for what He can do for us, but we should pursue Him because He is God. " That statement hit me hard. I think many times I turn to God in expectation for Him to make me "feel better." The message also spoke about how Judas felt remorse, a sadness over what he had done and so he hung himself. However he never turned from his sin and repented. It finally hit me that I have been feeling remorse over the sin of selfishness that God has been revealing to me, but I wasn't repenting of it. I wanted God to just make everything better so I could "feel" him again and not feel distant, but I wasn't willing to come to repentance. I was just sitting in self-pity.

      God I don't want to live in my selfishness any longer but I want to turn from it. Forgive me Abba of my selfishness and pride and help remove these areas of my life that are not pleasing to you. Help me to view my identity as your daughter and in who I am in You and not in what the world thinks of me. Thank You Jesus!

      Sunday night during worship I got this picture of a child being playfully turned upside down to remove the junk hidden in his pockets. I started laughing to myself as I though about how this is what God is doing to me. Lovingly, He is removing the hidden sins of my life. Thank you Jesus!

       Another area that I was convicted in on Sunday is one of gratitude. I was feeling bummed before Sunday service about not feeling enough gratitude from my brother for throwing him a birthday party. He thanked me and was appreciative but I wanted him to be ultra-grateful since I had put a lot of work into it. Dannah and I were talking that day and she read me an insert from the Charles Finney paperwork you guys went over a few week ago that I missed. She read the part about ingratitude toward God. I then realized that I expect gratitude from others for things I have done, but I barely show gratitude for God for all the amazing things He has done in my life. So Sunday night was just a time of conviction, repentance, and thankfulness. I am still processing all that He is showing me and know it will be a process as He reveals more to me. I am grateful for this time and know that He is transforming me. I want to be open and receiving and humble and ready to repent. I am so grateful to be a child of God and to be forgiven! Thank you Jesus! :)

I know this is a big post of all that I have been convicted on but I know that God is using this time to bring transformation. Thank you for letting me share and pour out my heart with you guys. I am so grateful to be in Circles with you all and to see the transformation God is doing amongst our group. :)

10 comments:

  1. i love the picture you gave of a little kid being turned upside down and all of the junk falling out of his pockets. i so often feel that way. that i think i am hiding something from God but He knows its there. its almost like you are only tricking yourself.

    praying for you as God continues to work and move in your life.

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  2. You're in a good place. Thanks be to God that He allows us to hear His conviction and the ability to be able to follow His voice. I recently watched this skit about how we are God's masterpiece and He is the artist. He sculpts us into His masterpiece. We have to be trusting Him, though, that although the process of being sculpted may hurt sometimes, He knows what He's doing and it's all for our good and His glory.

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  3. soo good ashley... i feel like this spot you're in is exactly where a Christian should be. it's the process of sanctification, the continuous process of growing closer to Jesus and becoming more like Him. I've been going through a similar process in as far as coming to Jesus because He is God, not because i need a "confidence" boost, or an "anxiety release." You're growing closer to the Truth, closer to Jesus, and the closer we get, the more free we will feel :) and I LOVE that you say Abba in your prayers too! thats my favorite :)

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  4. ash, God is doing a beautiful thing in your life that is going to make you a better lover of Him! Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 cor. 7:10) your repentance is a profound reminder of how i need to approach my sin - in Godly sorrow. you are an extraordinary woman and i can see the fingerprints of Christ all over you. love yoU!

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  5. The talk on Judas was a blindside, like being T-boned in a car wreck, I didn't see it coming! It is so easy to think I am turning things over to Him, when at the moment things don't go the way I anticipated I am quick to acuse him of being unjust and unfaithfull in his promises to me. I am working at loving The Giver instead of the gifts...

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  6. it is so encouraging to see that others are finding freedom in Him as I am so recently doing. all that you said is so true! I want to encourage you to keep seeking Him and keep asking Him to purge you of the sin in your life. Galatians 5:1 : )

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  7. I too am doing lent for the first time and it has been an interesting experience. I will blog about it one of these weeks, and so look for it! because I feel we are in a similar place. Also, that prayer you read. Oh gosh. Scary! So helpful I am sure, but wow. Great idea I think I will have to try. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Ashley! Thank you for this honest and incredibly perceptive post. Trust me, you're not alone in feeling selfish and ungrateful. I know that I struggle with that so much! Your words about how we acknowledge and wallow in our sins, rather than actually repenting them and turning away really spoke me. It's so true! Thank you so much for speaking so much truth!

    I've really missed you this last week! And I am most definitely praying for you Ashley! I'll see you soon!

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  9. I am so excited to see how God is working in your life. God has blessed me by putting you into my life. Reading your blog today made me want to know you is a deeper sense and be your friend knowing that you will help me and I will help you in our walk with God. I am truly blessed to have you in my life. I can't wait to have lunch/dinner with you.

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  10. This is so good sweetheart. Please don't be too harsh on yourself. I have been struggling with finding my identity in Christ alone and not through others. I have felt selfish. But, you are identifying these things in your life and bringing them before God AND THAT IS SO GOOD.

    You are beautiful, so beautiful, so treasured, and you love people. God's got you where He wants you. You are more than adequate for the situations you face each day. Praying for you as you continue in this season of lent. I hope so much to see you soon. xoxo

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