The Flag of My Children Flies on This Hill

Where do I start?  Maybe here…Father’s Day.  A day of victory.

This weekend held yet more revelation and realization for me.  How interesting my perspective of this weekend compared to the perspective of so many.  Not bad in any way, just different.  I didn’t even realize it until today.

The perspective I hold could be viewed as a tragic by some but, I view it as our victory.  This was victory that took years to arrive at and was worth every moment of the battle.  Some hills might not look like victories — in fact until today – until just a couple of hours ago there were some hills that I didn’t realize the flag of my children flew upon.

I had viewed those hills as lost to the enemy but now I see that they were not lost hills, but hills of victory.  I just needed a different perspective to see my flag, our flag, waving in the wind.

It took today to see it.  A different day, a different perspective, and the words of my oldest daughter brought it all home for me, “How sad,” she said.  Those words brought my entire life into victorious perspective and I knew for certain that I had won the victory for my children.

In order for these words to make sense, I’ll tell you a bit of my story as pertains to the weekend and how the words, “How sad,” could possibly prove that our life is victorious.

Friday, I posted pictures of my husband and I on Facebook saying something to the effect of, “I have spent the last twenty-four Father’s Days with this amazing man whom God created just for me!  You are perfect and I love you.”  This didn’t seem odd to me at all.  It was only natural to me that I would appreciate the father that I most admire in the world – my husband.

Later, either Friday or Saturday my oldest daughter changed her profile picture to one of her Father and herself at her wedding a couple of months ago.  She just got her pictures from the wedding back on Friday so I didn’t think too much of it but I did wonder why she posted a picture of herself and her dad instead of her and her husband as her profile picture.  Then, I thought, “Oh, how sweet.  She loves her daddy.”  It never occurred to me that she was posting a picture of her and her daddy for Father’s Day.

Then, as Saturday and Sunday progressed I started seeing tons of people posting pictures of themselves with their fathers saying, “Happy Father’s Day,” especially wedding pictures of daughters and dads.

I thought this was interesting.  Posting a picture of me with my father would not even occur to me.  The concept itself was foreign. The only reference point that I even have in my life for a father is my husband.  So I did what came naturally to me, I posted a picture of me with the only father I would think to honor – him.

On Sunday, my youngest daughter posted a spread of funny pictures of her and her dad, “selfies” of her trying to get pictures with him but he kept running off or hiding from the camera.

At our Sunday family dinner our two daughters were talking about the pictures they posted on Facebook of them with their dad and I mentioned that I had realized today when seeing everyone posting pictures with their father’s on Facebook that I had two fathers, my birth father and a step father but I had never taken a single picture with either of them that I was aware of my entire life.  To this, my oldest daughter responded, “That’s so sad.”

Huh…sad?  I guess it is.  But what is incredible to me about this entire story is that my children and I have such a huge gap in the concept of “father”.  I consider this a great victory.  I have no concept or reference point for having a relationship with a father whatsoever.  So much so that I don’t remember taking a single picture together.  There was no father to walk me down the isle and I have no concept of what it means to have the love of a father – period.

But, my children – every single one of them – have grown up in a home with their father loving them.  Every one of them with tons of pictures to prove it!  None of them can conceive what it would be like to not have their father in their lives.  None of them can comprehend what it would be like to not feel loved by their daddy. This is why their flag flies on the hill.  This is why I declare victory!

My second oldest daughter, my first daughter by birth was actually raised most of her life in the home of her father and not by my husband and me.  For years, I looked at this as a hill lost but today, God showed me how my flag – HER flag is flying in victory.  She got what I never had.  She got to have what every one of my other children had.  She wasn’t deprived of seeing her father every single day of her life.  For this I am grateful.  For this I declare victory!

I love every one of my children more than life itself and there is nothing I would not give up for them.  There is nothing I would not give for them.  But I realized today that I have given each of them something that is quite possibly more precious to me than the very air I breathe.  Something I never had – to know the love of their father.

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SOAPing Your Way to Intimacy

At our church we practice a form of daily devotions called SOAP.  This is an easy way of connecting with God by just taking one scripture and allowing God to speak to you.  Doing this helps us to develop a more personal relationship with God through His word.  This practice was first taught in a book by Wayne Cordeiro called, “The Divine Mentor.”

SOAP is an acronym. S=Scripture, O=Observations, A=Application, and P=Prayer

It’s just that simple.  Basically, you select a passage of scripture to read and when a scripture catches your attention choose it as your SOAP topic for the day.  That’s your “S”.

Then, write down your observations about the scripture.  Whatever you see in the scripture from any perspectives.  That’s your “O”.  Next, write down how this applies to you and your life on a personal level.  That’s your “A”.  Then, write out a prayer concerning these things.  That’s your “P”.  It’s that simple.

I’ve decided to share my SOAP from yesterday because I’m always transparent in my blogs and because I want you to understand what this looks like in practice.  However, yours may look and sound a lot different because this is personal to you.  God will speak to you in your own personality and your relationship with him will look different than mine.

I encourage you to start SOAPing because this practice is very effective for really connecting with God.  But I don’t encourage you to try to have my relationship with God.  I encourage you to have your own that looks like the way you relate to God.  Talk to God the way you talk to Him.  Write as much or as little as your personality dictates you write.  Let Him speak to you in the language you understand.

Here’s my SOAP… I hope this is helpful and encouraging for you.

 6/13/14 – Obscurity

Scripture:

GW – John 1:5 The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

KJV – John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Comprehend:
From G2596 and G1983; to take eagerly, that is, seize, possess, etc. (literally or figuratively): – apprehend, attain, come upon, comprehend, find, obtain, perceive, (over-) take.

Observations:

I see something new and different here today that I’ve never noticed before.  In the past when I’ve read this scripture I’ve read it as the light came in (Jesus) and shines in the darkness and I interpreted that as “ before the darkness”.  The mental picture I always had in my mind when I read this was that we, the people, were the darkness.  It was our darkened minds.  Jesus came and shined the light in front of us but because our minds were darkened we comprehended him not – we didn’t receive him.

But that’s not what this scripture is saying at all.  When I read this in the GW translation at first I thought that it had been misinterpreted because “comprehended” in the KJV was translated as “extinguished” in the GW.  But when I looked closer at this I realized that the GW was right and I was wrong.  What I had thought, or maybe what I had been taught, was wrong.  The darkness isn’t us.

The original word for darkness here is From G4655; dimness, obscurity (literally or figuratively): – dark (-ness).

So the scripture says that Jesus shines his light into the dimness, into an obscure place, and the obscurity does not seize or take possession of his light.  What it is saying here is that the obscurity (even if it is the obscurity of our minds) does not have the power to overpower the light of Christ.

This is why Christ came into the world and he was just a small obscure baby.  Just one man.  He never tried to make a name for himself.  He didn’t have to seek fame.  He walked in humility.  Even in obscurity.  But the obscurity could not consume him.  It could not extinguish him.

His power was so great that obscurity would never cause his power to be extinguished.  His light is so bright in contrast to the darkness that the darkness can never consume it.  That one baby.  That one man – brought salvation to the world and transformed everything.  His power still reigns and his message is still spreading powerfully across the earth.

Application:

We don’t need to be concerned with making a name for ourselves in order to be effective as a church or as ministers or as Christians.  This is such a confirmation for me.  I already know this and I’m fully persuaded but temptation is always right there before me.  People intend for their statements to be complements, but what they really end up being for me are temptations implanted in the back of my mind waiting for an opportune moment of weakness to pounce.

Genesis says it so eloquently, “Sin crouches at your door waiting to pounce.  It wants to control you, but you must master it.”  These temptations come in the form of: “You should be preaching on TV,” or “You should be preaching to thousands,” and “You remind me of Joyce Meyer.”

I feel like God gave me the perfect response the other day to the “You should be preaching to thousands” compliment, even though I am probably not supposed to say it out loud to other people, it’s more like an inside joke between me and God, “Well, if God thought that too then, I would be preaching to thousands.”

I don’t have any lofty desires.  I just want to love God and love God’s people.  I just want to help people and preach the Word.  I want to teach and help people take the chains off their lives.  I want to let God use the stuff I’ve experienced to others’ benefit.

Prayer:

Lord, when you gave me that response the other day it just filled me with joy, set me free, and made me laugh so hard!

I’m perfectly content to preach and teach in obscurity.  Because I’m scared, ashamed, have low self-esteem, or any of that stuff?  No, of course not.  I just have no need to become famous.  I want you to be famous.  I want to see people’s lives changed.  Obscurity can’t wash you out!  Obscurity can’t extinguish your power.  And fame can’t make you any more powerful than you already are.

I will pour your love and truth out to one.  I will pour your love and truth out to three.  I will pour your love and truth out to twelve.  I will pour love and truth out to fifty or a hundred.  I will do the same for a thousand or ten thousand.  I won’t know the difference anyway.  I never count how many people are in the room because I truly don’t care.  I don’t care how many – I care WHO.

Help me to always touch each one as if they are the only one.  I never want so many that I forget whose they are — they are yours not mine.  They are not my disciples – they are your children.  They don’t need me – they need you.  There’s nothing I can say that will help them – but plenty I can say that will hurt them if I have my own interests in front of theirs.

Obscurity can never hide or extinguish your power but it can only magnify your power in me.  I choose.  I choose to walk in obscurity.  I choose.  Whether I preach to one or one thousand or one million – I choose to be obscure.

If and when you observe me doing otherwise, shut it down.  Shut me down.  Don’t allow me to continue.  Don’t let me bring harm to your people.

What Do You Really Really Want?

When you take the time to be still and just talk with the Lord and let him bring questions to your mind that you have to honestly answer you learn a lot about yourself and your true desires.  Tonight, I sat in the back corner of a local restaurant in San Diego for a couple of hours where I was happy to have a distracted waitress who left me alone to focus on spending some time journaling and sorting through some thoughts with the Lord.

As I entered into my private conversation with the Lord I approached Him thankful that this week, which happens to be the third week in a five-week travel span, I will finally be able to completely focus on spending time with Him and on preparing my next teaching series.

I’ve known for a couple of months that I had this trip coming up to do some work for a client and while I was not rejoicing in the thought of being away from my family during the week I knew that I would have a lot of private time to spend with the Lord.  Since I never get large buckets of alone time at home five weeks of focused attention towards the Lord sounded like I was about to experience a much needed deep spiritual surgery.

Realizing that it took me three weeks to get to this point frustrated me and I so began a conversation with the Lord that brought deep revelation to my life regarding things I truly desire.  Things I didn’t even understand about myself.

I started a conversation with the Lord about my career and ministry: “Why am I so divided and scattered.  I’ve got competing priorities.  How do I balance this life I live?  I have multiple competing priorities.  Things that are important to me.  ME.  Is that the problem?  Is that the struggle?  I want to give it up but at the same time I don’t want to give it up.  I enjoy work and working and being a professional.  I enjoy success and doing the things I do.  Why do I do it?  What is important?  Do I have to do it all?  Do I need to back out of some things?”

After rambled for I while longer I said the magic words I say so often, “I want to stop working.”

J. Val Hastings asks a question when coaching, “What is the one thing that you really, really want?”

Tonight as I sat down and spent time with the Lord His question to me fell along these lines.  He said, “When you say you want to stop working, what do you really want?”

Until you truly understand what you want, it is impossible to get those things. Once you sort through all the noise and completely understand what you really want more than anything and cast aside all the stuff that isn’t important he can walk you through the plan to get there.

I discovered some really interesting things about what I really want tonight.  What I discovered was that until tonight I didn’t have clarity about what I really want.  I also discovered that I didn’t understand the motivations around what I really want.  I discovered that I already have everything I really want except for the number one thing that trumps all.

But now that I clearly understand what I want and why I want it, I can prioritize my life and build a plan that brings me to fulfill my number one thing.  Now I know what to focus on.

The Lord puts the desires in our heart but we have to listen to him to truly understand what those desires are.

The Bible says that where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. When we don’t really understand where we want to be we just fly by the seat of our pants trying to get there and can’t figure out why we keep ending up in places that are unfulfilling.

Withdrawing my entry from the rat race

Between ministry and work I travel often and what I have noticed most about people is that they are stressed. Today I am in the DFW International Airport on my way to San Diego and just 15 minutes prior to boarding time an announcement rang out over the intercom stating that there was a gate change from gate A39 to A17, which happens to be on the opposite end of the terminal.

I watched as people with worried looks on their faces hurried to the other end of the terminal in order to get to the new gate in time to board the flight. The path to the new gate included a trip on the “Skylink” which is the airport’s internal shuttle system that brings passengers from terminal to terminal within the security gates. These shuttles are automated cars without drivers that stop at one-minute intervals to pick up and drop off passengers.

Amazed, I watched as an entire plane full of passengers attempted to cram into one shuttle car in order to get to the new gate quickly. As the shuttle threatened, “Please step away from the doors. The doors are now closing.” People continued to cram into the car. One man actually squeezed into the door as it closed and got his bag and his leg caught in the door forcing the door to open back up. Upon opening back up, more people packed into the car.

I stood on the outside of the car and watched the doors close while the people on the other side looked at me fearfully. I just waved at them and said, “It’s okay. I’ll catch the next one.” Remember, the shuttles pass in one-minute intervals as per the overhead announcements that keep saying, “The next shuttle will arrive in one minute.”

What’s the point? Why do I tell this story? To illustrate that people are overwhelmed. This leads to anxiety and fear over things that don’t deserve the energy. Think about this scenario with the gate change. People were in a state of panic over a simple unplanned change. They were worrying about missing their flight because of a last minute blip. A heightened state of anxiety made them all bypass logic and go straight to fear. “Oh no, I only have 15 minutes until boarding time! How am I going to make it to the other end of the airport in time to get on the plane?”

As I watched 150 people panic, this is what passed through my mind: 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Instead of panic, I reasoned, “Fear does not come from God so I know that fear is an unacceptable response to this situation. Worry and anxiety only lead to fear so I know that this is not the reaction that I need to have to this sudden change. I have power over my actions, reactions, and thoughts so I am going to make decisions regarding how I react, act, and think right now. I am not going to be frustrated with people or this situation because God has given me a spirit of love. And finally, God has given me a spirit of a sound mind. That means, that I have the ability to think through this issue logically and act in a logical manner.

1) The airline has announced a gate change. That means that they are aware that the entire passenger manifest has to move to a new gate even though boarding time is 15 minutes away, 2) It does not take 15 minutes to walk to the other side of the terminal even if it is 20 gates away. It does not even take 15 minutes to take the Skylink to a completely different terminal. 3) The plane boards 30 minutes prior to take off and the crew makes multiple calls for passengers that have checked in and not boarded prior to closing the plane door all the way until take off time. You can actually wait until 5 minutes till take off to board the plane and still get on. 4) Even if I miss this flight there are two more flights tonight that can get me to my destination.”

There is power in walking in the peace of God. God has not created me to walk in fear. He has not created me to walk in anxiety. He has not created me to be stressed. He has given me a sound mind. He has given me peace that surpasses all understanding. I don’t have to worry. Worry has never added a moment to any of my days – worry has only accomplished adding fear to my life. God has not given me a spirit of fear. God has not created me to be a part of the rat race. He has created me for peace. I choose to withdraw from the race and walk in peace.

Internal Vows

I grew up hearing about how my birth father was abusive to my mother and to my older brother. My mother left him when I was only eight months old so I don’t remember the abuse personally. I never saw it, I never felt what was inflicted upon my family or me, but I lived in the aftermath.

It wasn’t something my mother had tons of stories about and it wasn’t something we talked about all the time but it wasn’t hidden either. We knew. And it was enough to make me deeply angry. The strange thing was that I didn’t really realize it until now but my anger wasn’t just directed at my father. Yes, I was angry that he could be such a monster. But since he wasn’t a part of my life he wasn’t real to me. He was just this invisible monster that didn’t really exist. Some unknown fairy tale that people told stories about. The father who didn’t love me. The one that regardless of what people said about him, I secretly longed to have hold me in his arms and prove to me that it was all a lie. Of course, that never materialized.

This deep anger that I had was at the injustice of it all. How could my mother just stand there and let him beat on her? How could she let him beat up my brother who was only four years old? How could she let him throw him on the floor and stomp on his chest? Why didn’t she stop him? Where were my grandparents when this was happening? What about my aunts and uncles? Didn’t anyone care? They all talked about how much they hated my father but no one seemed to love us enough to protect us either! They had to see the bruises on my mom and my brother! They lived only 3 doors down and they saw us every day. Why wasn’t anyone doing anything during all these years? Why wasn’t anyone stopping it?

My mind would hear these stories as a child and I didn’t realize it then, but in my subconscious I kept thinking, “This doesn’t make sense! You keep telling me these stories to prove how horrible my father is but you are just as horrible! YOU let it happen! All of you! You let it happen!”

As a small child, I made an internal vow that I would never allow a man to beat up on me. My husband would never, ever hit me. I would kill him before I let that happen!

And there it was. The internal vow that would rule my life, lurking in the subconscious until the Lord revealed it to me and set me free. This vow would haunt my husband for 24 years as he lived under the constant verbal reminder of, “You know, if you ever hit me I’ll kill you,” when there was never a reason to suspect that he would touch me.

You can hear the audio teaching on this topic where the Lord revealed this vow to me during a session and I broke the vow during a live class. The class contains other examples stories of internal vows that might be helpful. The link to the audio recording can be found on my website at: http://womenofhope.podcastpeople.com/posts/57000

What are internal vows?
Internal vows are damaging promises we make in order to comfort ourselves in times of pain, frustration, or difficulty and these promises are never healthy. We swear things to ourselves in attempt to create protection from pain in the future. But instead of freeing us from pain in the future, these vows actually tie us to our past in an unhealthy way.

There are three major problems with internal vows:
1 – They are unscriptural – “Do not swear an oath…all you need to say is yes or no; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5: 34, 37)

2 – They have an unforeseen effect – when we make an internal vow, we set the course for our lives. These vows often have a “sleeper” effect where they slip into our subconscious and we don’t realize that we are living by our vow yet they still rule our decisions. Internal vows can make people do things that are completely out of character trying to keep the vow. They can take over our better judgment and cause us to act unreasonably.

3 – They are the most powerful level of commitment – because they are rooted in such deep pain and turmoil, they can easily become the most powerful and guiding force in our lives. When it comes to what a person is going to do with his life it typically comes down to his priorities and values. Because internal vows become a part of our core belief system, most people value their own internal vows above their commitment to God and family. Internal vows are the highest level of commitment for most people even when they do not realize that the internal vow exists.

Our greatest commitment should be to the Lord, but when we’ve sworn to ourselves that we will do something or not do something, subconsciously that commitment overrides any commitment we have to God. These vows can easily become a crippling obsession. They can guide us in ways that make it nearly impossible to develop and maintain a truly healthy relationship.

How can we identify internal vows?
Internal vows are made when we experience pain in situations in the form of hurts, humiliations, anger, etc. and we make a strong judgment or come to a strong conclusion about people or situations that there is a lack of justice that we are experiencing.

In response we make a vow that might look something like:
• No one will ever hurt me again
• I’ll never be vulnerable to anyone again
• I’m never going to be poor like my parents
• I’m never going to allow myself to fall in love with anyone ever again
• I’m never going to trust anyone else in my life
• I’ll never let anyone else make a fool out of me again
• I’m never be strict with my children
• I’m going to give my children everything they want
• My spouse will never treat me like that
• We will always have food in my house when I grow up

These vows tend to be off balance.

They draw a strong conclusion about a specific incident and apply that conclusion like a blanket to an entire lifetime in a general manner.

They create a heart of stone and unforgiveness surrounding an event that carries over into similar events for the rest of our life as long as the vow is in place. But God is able to remove the hardness from our hearts because he said he would replace our heart of stone with a heart of flesh. (Ezek 36:26)

How can we begin healing internal vows?
At the very core of an internal vow there is a lack of trust. These vows are a way of saying to God, “I don’t think you are going to protect me. You aren’t going to heal my pain.” We don’t trust God to be there when we need him most so we take control. Instead of trusting God with our hurts we find strength within ourselves and take matters into our own hands – because we have convinced ourselves that we can’t trust God to help us.

In order to heal, we must first identify when we have made an inner vow. Then we must surrender the vow to God and be willing to trust God to:
• heal the initial hurt that caused the vow
• help you forgive where forgiveness is needed
• surrender control of the inner vow to God and repent
• show you balance and new ways of handling this area of your life going forward

If you are interested in this topic, I have found a book that deals with it quite well. The book “When Life Hurts” by Jimmy Evans has a chapter devoted to Internal Vows but he also discusses internal vows throughout the entire book so it is worth the read. The book can be found at this link: http://www.amazon.com/When-Life-Hurts-Finding-Healing/dp/0801017114/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402149332&sr=8-1&keywords=when+life+hurts+jimmy+evans

I Am Never Exempt

God is simply amazing.  I’ve been teaching a class on deep emotional healing over the past couple of months and God has really been doing some amazing things in the lives of these women.  It was really interesting as I prepared to teach all of these classes because the lessons I taught were all from the perspective of one who has experienced these things and I have been in the place you are now and God has brought me through this.  I was able to share experiences and talk from the vantage point of having been through the storm and come out safely on the other side.

And then there was today.  Today was different.  When preparing for the last session of this series in the early hours of the morning, I felt the Lord change the direction of this class from the intended topic to a new topic that was more relevant.  We had touched lightly on this topic throughout and mentioned it a few times but I had not delved into it and actually addressed or taught about the inner workings.  I felt like it was the most relevant and the most effective thing that I could close this series with so I decided to move forward.  My new topic?  Inner vows.

I knew about inner vows and I had some relevant material to prepare so teaching this class wasn’t a problem.  But I knew that this topic would be somewhat different because the examples and stories that I would share on this were examples and stories that I pulled from resource materials.  I didn’t have any reference point from which to speak from personal experience.  For this last class, the Lord had chosen something that He had not first walked me through a personal discovery and healing process on prior to delivering the teaching.

As I read through the materials and prepared for what I would teach the class I couldn’t seem to identify any areas of my past or present life where I had made any inner vows or was living under any inner vows.  Especially since I am at the healthiest point spiritually and emotionally that I have ever been in my life.  No problem, I had plenty of reference materials and I knew that I had heard several of the women refer to making inner vows so I planned to open up the class for discussion from them anyway.  Less direct teaching and more interaction would be good.

Class started and all went as planned.  I presented the initial parts of the materials about inner vows describing what they are, how they work, and how to identify them.  I gave a few examples of what inner vows might sound like with some telling characteristics.

I told a story about a person who made an inner vow as a child and relayed a subsequent story of how this vow played itself out in her later years and became damaging to her marriage and children.  Once everyone had a full grasp of what inner vows were I opened the floor for discussion.  Two people shared their experiences with inner vows they had made and how they had impacted their lives and relationships.  Then I asked for one more person to share if they had a story.

That was my “fatal” mistake.  As this last lady told her story the Lord spoke very clearly to me and showed me an inner vow that I had made and how it was playing out in my life currently.  As she talked to the group the Lord had a personal dialogue with me about this inner vow.  When she was done talking she turned the conversation back over to me and it was my turn to come clean.  I shared with the group about the inner vow and how it had impacted my life over the years and was still in effect even now.  I used this as a segue into the teaching about how to break the vows in your life.

Then as the class watched on, I demonstrated the breaking of the vows in my own life to them so they could see how it worked.  I repented for making this vow and living under my decision to control my own life via the vow I made.  I released control to God in the situation and articulated to them what that meant and what that would look like as I continued to submit to God’s control.

I forgave the people who were in the original situation that caused me to make the vow and identified how I had improperly interpreted and judged the situation which caused me to take on the guilt and shame and resulted in the vow.  I released the guilt and shame that didn’t belong to me and gave it back to those whom it rightfully belonged.

Lastly, I explained to the group how I would have to work with God to develop new behaviors to replace the old behaviors that had developed in my life because of the vow.  Each time I saw myself acting in the old ways, I would have to intentionally replace those behaviors with new ones that God would have to show me until I developed new habits to replace old ones from the old mindset.

I needed to be transparent in order to get free.  They needed to see truth in order to learn how to become free.  They needed to see that just because I am a minister that doesn’t make me exempt.  I experience the things that I teach them and that’s how I know how to help them.  I am not better than they are I have only gone through most things ahead of them.  Today, God chose that I would go through right before their eyes.

I will boast of the things that reveal my infirmities

In the Old Testament if a priest had an infirmity they could not function in their office as a priest.  Even though they were created to and placed in a particular place to perform a particular duty, they were unable to fulfill the responsibility of that role because of the infirmity.

An animal that had an infirmity could not be used as a sacrifice, even when it had been set apart to be sacrificed to God, because the infirmity disqualified it from being able to fulfill the duties of the sacrifice.

An infirmity is something that is crippling.  It is weakness, lack of strength, an inability to walk in power.  In the New Testament this word was hardly ever used in a purely physical sense of the word.  Instead it refers to mental crippling, a lack of moral strength, an inability to walk in emotional power and health.

Infirmities in themselves are not sins, but they do undermine our resistance to temptation and sin.  Infirmities are qualities in human nature that may predispose or incline us to sin – sometimes without any conscious choice on our part.  Emotional hangups, inner conflicts, pain, frustration, anxiety, depression, hurts, fear, abandonment, loneliness, isolation, rejection – these are infirmities – the things that cripple us from being what God created us to be.  From walking in the power God created us to walk in on a daily basis.

2 Corinthians 11:30  says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that reveal my infirmities.”

2 Corinthians 12:5 says, “I’ll brag about this person, but I won’t brag about myself unless it’s about my infirmities.”

Don’t misunderstand the power of what this scripture is describing.  This scripture is not describing some sort of false humility where we manipulate people into petting our egos by telling them how worthless we are.

It is not describing a sense of powerlessness where we believe that we have no value because of a long tick list of things that we can point to in ourselves that make us unqualified to be what God has already called us.

It is not describing scenario where we come into agreement with people who have spoken curses and abusive words over us where they have called us worthless, stupid, incompetent, handicapped, rejected, unloved, or other things that go against what God has already specifically declared in His Word about us.

Rather, Paul is teaching us here how to walk in the power and confidence of God with our words. He is teaching us to come out of hiding and face the mental and emotional accusations that rise from within us openly and victoriously.

Understand that when you brag and boast about something there is a confident reason for the boast.

This is not a state of moaning and complaining. This is not a place of defeat.  This is a place of victory.

We don’t talk about our weaknesses and infirmities from the perspective of them having power over us and invite people to join us in our pity party because satan is more powerful than God and our life is ruined because we are depressed and afraid and lonely and rejected.

This is the progressive walk of freedom.  This is the cry of freedom that says, “I refuse to hide in this dark corner and rejoice in my weaknesses in a way that celebrates defeat.  Instead I recognize that kingdom of God inside of me is under a violent attack and I choose to stand up and take by force the power of God’s grace over this infirmity that God has given me!  I may be weak but HIS strength is made perfect in my weakness so I’m going to forget about my weakness and walk in His strength instead.”

The revealing of our weaknesses is what keeps us from falling backwards.  The revealing of our weaknesses is what gives us the strength to continue to move forward.  Because we don’t hide from the enemy.  We call it out.  We stand firm.  We face the enemy head on.  We say, “I’m afraid – but I’m moving on.”

I was so proud of one of the women I pastor the past week.  I talked to her on the phone and she said, “I’m really afraid to tell you this but you said to stop being afraid and just tell you stuff so I’m join going to just say it.”

That’s how you get free.

That’s how you overcome these infirmities.

That’s how you come out darkness and walk in God’s marvelous light!  You boast about things that reveal your infirmities and you just keep moving forward.  Don’t let the infirmities stop you.