Yesterday was quite the day. Unfortunately, I can't count the number of days like it on one hand or two hands, or two hands and two feet. There wasn't anything unique about this day--no bad circumstances, just a bad mood. I was mad about so many things, I couldn't even name one. I was short with my husband and distant and unavailable to my kids. I find that I use being busy and unavailable as a mechanism so no one has to deal with my junk. And so I don't have to deal with them. If I am busy, I'm not forced into conversations that I don't want to have; I don't have to listen or answer questions or help with homework. Busyness is a wall that I erect to avoid engaging. It was one of those days. You're familiar with these days, right?
Here's the difference between the way my loving Father deals with me and the way the enemy would like things to go. The enemy accuses me, turning every situation into my failure. He wants me to have a vague sense that everything is wrong, especially me. He says I am justified in my anger and sin and that I am guilty and without hope. There is no way out because this is just how life is. I read once that he puts personal pronouns on these accusations so they seem like accurate thoughts I'm having about myself: "I'm really failing at this...my kids don't care...they don't even need me to engage...this is awful...it's pretty much what I deserve. They will need so much counseling..." Do you see where this is going?
Oh, but the words of my loving Father...
His conviction is more specific: "Heather, you were rude and selfish yesterday. You were spending the day with self-preserving walls up. Apologize to your family."
This is the difference between accusation and conviction. One is from my enemy and one is from my Father. One way leads to death and one way leads to life.
Satan takes my sin and makes it a declaration of who I am, "You yelled, you are a failure."
God puts His finger on my sin and points me back to Him in confession and repentance, "You yelled, apologize and allow Me to pluck that out of your life. Draw near to me and I'll give you strength and the fulfillment that you are looking for."
I sin, He convicts, I confess and repent, He restores and draws me closer. I cling to Him in dependence. This is sanctification. Facing the truth of who I am, confessing, and relying on Him to change me brings intimacy. And this cycle happens again and again. To think that I should be further along, or I should be past this, is pride. This holy God who loves His children knows how weak we are, He remembers that we are only dust (Psalm 103:14); He knows that I am and always will be a sheep and He is and always will be my Great Shepherd. His relentless love doesn't leave us in a ditch but frees us from condemnation and accusation to live under the Freedom Banner that Jesus waves over us.