Unleash Your Inner Warrior
My dear warrior,
You know that God has placed a high calling on your life; you know that God sees your true identity; you know that He knows who you are. The problem we face in our daily lives is not how God sees us (He sees us through Christ), but rather how we see ourselves. If you look at your past and feel like your mistakes and failures define you, like you cannot escape them, then let me encourage you today. Just because you feel defeated, or like you are defined by past mistakes that you can’t get away from, or like you are damaged does not mean that it is true. You are not worth any less because of the hand that life has dealt you. You are not unworthy of God’s love and He has no desire to see you walking around with your head down and tail tucked between your legs because you cannot see beyond your failures.
The events of our lives mold us, shape us and make us who we are. However, your past does not have to define you (and in fact, it should not). A few months ago I met a young man whose life has been tremendously difficult. Life has not been kind to him, and he has endured more heartache and mistreatment than most people could cope with. Then God scooped him up in His loving arms, poured His Spirit out on Him and saved him. Having a real encounter with God that way changed him. But life has not ceased to be unkind; he still daily endures a barrage from God, the enemy, and the world around him. I have been in awe at this man’s courage and strength. The example I see in him is just this: he has more reason that most people to be bitter, angry, broken, resentful towards people and mad at God. The people I have known whose stories were similar to his were incredibly cynical, faithless, bitter and angry. Not him. He has allowed God's redemptive work to wash over his life; he has been molded and shaped by his circumstances, but is not defined by them. His life is defined by God's grace.
You have a choice, beloved. You can choose to be defined by your mistakes and failures, by the way people have mistreated you, and by your disappointment at life. Or you can choose to allow past events to be used redemptively by God so that your character is molded, shaped and refined. This man has taken all that life has given him, and he has allowed God to redeem him, redeem his circumstances and make him into a good man with an incredible testimony. He has incredible wisdom that he could not have gained any other way; he learned from his mistakes and failures and has chosen to move on, to be better, and to live rightly before God.
Beloved, you can sit and tell me all about your mistakes, failures, sin, and mistreatment; you can sit and tell me all about what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and who you were, but at the end of the day, my question to you will always be: who are you now? Who are you as a result of all that has happened in your life? How did you respond to life’s circumstances? Are you bitter, hard-hearted and resentful? Or are you a man or woman of God who has been refined and become more beautiful than ever before?
It is so important that you understand that if not for the circumstances you have endured then you would not be who you are today. Everything that has happened to you has had an impact on you and made you into who you are. Those things have made you stronger, tougher, wiser. They have molded and shaped your character, and they were important for your growth and are essential to your testimony. However, they are only useful to your testimony if you choose to allow those things to be used redemptively in your life. They are useless to you if you hold onto grudges and bitterness and choose to become cynical as a result. Do not become hostage to your past; do not allow bad things that have happened destroy your joy or your future. Give those things up to God and let Him redeem your time, your circumstances, your life.
As brilliant and beautiful as that young man is, and as wonderfully as he has been refined, there is one thing about him now that saddens me: his view of himself. He is fairly fresh into this new life God has ushered him into, and yet I understand from the way he speaks that he does not see himself as God sees him--yet. He does not yet see himself as worthy, and he devalues (and even disqualifies) himself for his past. He is a war-torn warrior who still carries around the weight of warfare. Imagine him walking around bearing the weight and load of a large military rucksack labeled “wounds.” He carries the burden of all of the wounds that have ever been inflicted on him and on those he loves. The weight is unbearable. Yet, if he were to open the ruck, he would find that it is empty. When he gave his life to Christ, every debt was paid and every wound was bought, purchased and taken from him. That weight is gone. The wounds are gone, and yet he has not yet learned to fully lay down his burdens at the foot of the cross—to let go of the rucksack labeled “wounds.”
Cast all your cares upon Him [turn all your anxiety over to God], because He cares for you.
—1 Peter 5:7
Beloved, if that is you, I want to encourage you to lay down your burdens. Lay down the weight of mistreatment, sin, pain, grudges, bitterness, and whatever else you are carrying around. God did not intend for you to keep carrying that. Christ bought your ‘stuff;’ since He bought it and paid for it, it is rightfully His and you have no right to it anymore. Let it go. Forgive the people who have hurt you, forgive yourself (this may be a longer process, but keep forgiving each time things come up, or you work through another, deeper layer of unforgiveness in your life) and keep talking to God. Tell Him about your burdens (not your friends and family, just God. You don’t need the feedback loop I wrote about in The Dangers Of Getting Lost in Your Own Head). You’re going to have to be intentional about letting go of all the wishful thinking (wishing things had gone differently) and the woulda, coulda, shoulda's.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Life happens. But God is still good. God is still kind. Even when you are left with nothing, it does not change the reality of His nature: He is good. I have it on good authority that He is always good, His nature is unchanging, and that even if you have nothing left (which has happened to me a few times now), that it doesn’t change who God is. When life comes at you fast and you are broken and there is no one left, it is simply an opportunity for us to get to know God intimately in ways we could not have if not for those trials. Know that His grace is sufficient for you at every moment and in every circumstance.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9
If you are struggling with letting go of past traumatic circumstances, I recommend Mark Virkler’s Seven Prayers That Heal The Heart (click here for the prayers).
My dear warrior, it is my prayer for you that God would give you a lens change of yourself, that He would show you how He sees you. It is my prayer that you would get a right perspective of yourself in Him and through Him. It is my prayer that you would never see yourself as anything less than who you are in Christ, that you would not devalue or disqualify yourself because of your past. You are worthy. You are not tainted or damaged. Christ took on your burdens so that you no longer have to carry them—you have no right to carry them anymore. They are not yours. Trust that His grace is sufficient.
Live in the battleground,
©Michèle Aimée, 2016
About the Author
Michèle is a warrior with a passion for God, a deep love of writing, and a fire for combat training. As a warrior, she understands that when she is given orders, she must follow through.