Shame loves nothing more than to be my shadow. I am so prone to beating myself up over choices, (right and wrong), that have resulted in uneasy circumstances. Sometimes when I forget the gospel, it manifests like this, if I had done, (blank) instead of (blank) life would be more comfortable.
Whether as a mom, wife, daughter, friend or child of God, I can look back on so many examples of situations I wish I handled differently. When I allow myself to go down the road of regret, condemnation is waiting on me with open arms. Accusation always breeds self-pity, and both are fruits of unbelief.
Despair over my choices sheds light on the subtle sediment of unbelief that wrecks my peace and contentment. When I believe I alone am responsible for how my story goes, I am maximizing myself and minimizing God. Yes, there are consequences, both good and bad, for my choices, but if I profess to believe in a sovereign God, I cannot leave Him out of the equation. For all the decisions I have made, right and wrong, God was in the midst and on the throne at the very moment of decision.
Emancipation day from the supremacy of my choices was a lot of years in the making. I have a very vivid memory of sitting in Julie Sparkman’s office one morning and giving her a tearful litany of all the things I had done right, yet there I sat shattered because life was not reflective of the pictures I developed in the euphoric realm of my expectations. The reality that my “goodness” was no guarantee from pain had come crashing down around me. Oh boy, did I have a lot to learn!
Chapter four of Julie’s book, Unhitching From The Crazy Train, is one of my favorites. It is titled, The Deadly Theology of Good Choices. Does this sound familiar? If I do A+B, it will =C. If I eat all the right foods, I will not get cancer. If I raise my kids right and make sure they have good friends, they will make right choices… Notice the keyword? I. If you believe something along these lines of thinking, you need to read this book. If you know this kind of logic to be untrue, you, too need to read this book!
Below is from chapter 4:
“Good choices can lead to good outcomes, and alternatively when we make choices we know to be disobedient, there will probably be natural consequences of those choices, and we are called to repent. However, the redemption story God writes cannot be rewritten by our choices. We are held accountable for our choices, yes, but God is bigger than our choices, so they cannot trump God’s overarching plan.” ~Julie Sparkman/Jennifer Phillips
Friends, I have no incentive for highly recommending this book other than I believe with all my heart it will enhance your life in so many ways. I love you all and earnestly long to see more and more people brought into the freedom that the yoke of Christ offers. Please do not misunderstand me. This book is not a self-help, quick fix guide to all of life’s hardships. It is a better way through them.
We work so hard and bear so much responsibility, no wonder we never feel like enough. John 1:51 reminds us that Christ already did the work and paved the way. He is the way. “I tell you the truth; you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” ~Jesus. Notice He does not say I am at the top of the ladder so try your hardest and climb fast. He is the ladder. Jesus has bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth for us.
I sincerely hope you will read Unhitching From The Crazy Train. You will laugh, I promise. You may cry. I know for sure, though you will be able to identify and you will find freedom and rest regardless of your current circumstances.
Unhitching From The Crazy Train will be available for order February 5th. Amazon. Lifeway. You may pre-order now from www.newhopepublishers.com.
Julie counsels clients at Restore Ministries in Birmingham, Alabama. www.restore-ministries.org.
Jennifer writes a blog at www.jenniferphillipsblog.com