Yesterday I posted my notes from the teaching we received this past Sunday on Spiritual Breakthrough. We discussed some of the more typical strongholds we face in the Western World. I was already aware of one area I have been struggling with, but during the course of the hour there was another that struck me. My two biggest strongholds right now are: Pride and shame.
At the beginning of the message Sunday we were asked to think about where we most needed spiritual breakthrough. I immediately thought to myself (and wrote in my notes), "I need to start living up to the calling I've received." When Paul (the presenter) defined pride as "the fear of ridicule," I knew that's exactly what he was talking about. Over the past couple years I had become burned out, severely hurt, and (I believe) treated unfairly. Subsequently, I sort of lost my way. As in the prisoner of war analogy yesterday, I was living a defeated existence and hoping someone would rescue me. The Truth is, someone HAS provided a way out. I need to grasp onto it and once again begin fighting the good fight. My pride has been holding me back.
My pride was hurt by getting fired, losing control of how I left the church, having lies spread about me/us, and betrayal from people we thought were our friends. I became overly worried about what other people thought. I was living with a fear of ridicule. That needs to stop now.
The other thing, which I wasn't quite so aware of, was how much I was struggling with shame. I fell pretty hard, and reacted poorly. I sunk to new lows in both behavior and thinking. I started smoking, drinking too much, and doing things with no regard for consequences. Beyond outward actions, though, it had a serious effect on me internally. I lost hope and began to see myself as a failure. That went so far as wondering if I was even a Christian anymore. It was like all the things I'd preached over the years were now a big lie. How could I face people after that?
Well, I guess you do it like anything else... You confess it, repent, and believe. So here goes...
By the way, as an aside, I know these past several posts have been a little more serious and personal. Just to be clear, I am not looking for advice, affirmation or explanations... I'm simply writing out my "stuff." I appreciate everyone treading lightly with any comments. Thanks. :)