OOPS ALERT! In my previous blog post, Successful Living, I refer to a sermon, Trading Truth, several times. In my information overload, I made a mistake which sermon I used as a resource. Oops! While Trading Truth has some applicable content to the post, the actual sermon most of the references come from The Danger of a Dream by Pastor Steven Furtick. I highly recommend both sermons as the material is quite applicable to living successfully, dreaming big and overcoming your past.
I watched both of these sermons this past weekend, and I came away with some exceptional revelations. Revelation is defined as the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence or the world. It’s like bringing a spiritual truth to the physical mind. I believe this is key to a holistic healthy life, mind, body and spirit health. Although, I should have known better than to watch two great and deeply meaningful sermons back-to-back. It was human mind overload. Thus, the mistake in my previous blog post. At the gym this morning, I listened to Trading Truth again. I will probably listen to The Danger of a Dream again as well. They are just that good!
I have been reeling from Trading Truth all day. Mind blown! This sermon aligned so well with the book I’m currently reading, When Your Bad Meets His Good by Kimberly Jones-Pothier (aka RealTalkKim). Both the book and the sermon are speaking volumes into this season of my life. As I said to a dear friend recently, I’m not embarking on a new chapter of life. I’m starting a whole new book. The Word of God says, He makes all things new. This goes right along with my 2019 verse, Isaiah 43:19 (Visions & Dreams). As I continue to evolve into the human I was meant to be, I have taken this verse very personally. To me Isaiah 43:18-19 speaks: “Amanda, you need to forget about your past. Get past the past already! You can’t change it and it doesn’t define your future. Don’t you see, Amanda? I’m doing something new in you. It’s bursting forth as you draw near to me and outside of yourself. I’m making a way out of no way and providing nourishment to your soul.” The Word is amazing! It truly is living and speaks life if you just open yourself up to receive the message. Not only will the Word speak life into you, it’s like a mirror to your soul. You look into the book, and see yourself in the light of truth. Even as I write this, I’m just absolutely in awe!
So what did I gain from listening to Trading Truth again? Well, to start with, Pastor Steven talks about being stuck between two truths. He talks about the story of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4). In an attempt to get Jesus to fail at reaching his destiny, the enemy throws out some facts. Jesus responds to the facts with other facts. Jesus found himself just where many of us find ourselves, between two truths. Personally, I’m there now. My past may not be pretty, but it happened. The details of my past are facts. It’s my story and I own it, ugly and all. On the other side, is the truth of who God says I am. I am no longer in my past, but I haven’t reached my destiny. I’m in between. I’m in transition. This is often a painful and anxiety filled period of one’s life. I have found peace and joy in the journey, but there are still times I feel heartbroken, frustrated and anxious. These are the times I need a perspective adjustment. I need to re-gain my focus. Enter Trading Truth.
Perspective Shift from Trading Truth:
- If we live by people’s compliments, we will die by their criticisms. As a recovering approval addict, I have often found myself deeply caring what people think of me. I stressed about what people think of how well I perform, how I look and my past. I have lived in a place of ‘what if they find out’. This is not a healthy place to live and it is not how God intended for me to live my life. So as I continue to recover from approval addiction, I turn my attention to God’s thoughts of me. I never have to worry about him finding out about my past or what he will think of me. He already knows and he loves me anyway. Other people’s opinions of me, good or bad, are none of my business. Also, those opinions have zero impact on my destiny.
- We were never meant to trust in our resources. We are meant to trust in the source. So often we trust in our own abilities, personalities, finances, connections, etc. However, these will only take us so far. Besides, all these things have a source, and that source is not self. That source is the One that gave us what we need to begin with. The source is our ultimate resource. Remembering our source (Psalm 121) helps us keep a true viewpoint of who we are in our story and in the big picture.
- I did it, but I’m not it. One of the biggest hurdles for me, has been overcoming the shame associated with my past poor choices. I feel like this is probably true for lots of people. There are times when I feel like I’m able to put it all behind me, like I’m on the other side of the flames. Then something happens or someone says something, and I find myself once again identifying with all the wrong I have done and said. I wear it like it’s a defining label. However, that is not who I am according to God’s truth. Yes, it’s true, I have done some things I am not proud of and I have lived in ways that were terrible for me and others. Alternately, it’s also true that I am not that person. I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- We should not use our ‘old story’ as a security gate for our hearts. We tell ourselves that our old story is the reason people reject us before they ever reject us. We define relationships before they ever have a chance to exist. Pastor Steven calls this “prejection”. That is, rejecting ourselves based on our past before anyone else has a chance to reject us. We choose personal rejection instead of risking vulnerability. I saw myself in this more than I would like to admit. The perspective shift came in realizing that I have a new truth and my old story is no longer relevant. The ‘old story’ does not have to be the end of the story.
- Know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). This scripture is quoted often. For some reason, when I heard it in the sermon, I saw something I had not seen before. The word “know” blared at me. When I was growing up, my grandma would use the word “know” in the biblical sense. She would say, “Your grandpa didn’t know me before we got married.” Of course, as a young girl, this was hilarious to me because I thought of the word “know” as we define it in our culture. In the biblical sense, the word “know” means to be intimate with. To know the truth is to be intimate with it, and intimacy coexists with trust. Looking at this scripture with this in mind, I see this: “Be intimate and trust the truth, and you will be free.” Think about it! If you are intimate with God’s truth, you will trust it; and if you trust it, you will not rely on yourself or your own thoughts to define yourself or your destiny. Crazy, right? Let me just say it again…MIND BLOWN!
- My ‘old story’ is not my truth, it’s just my story. So often we become a slave to our story. We absorb it, rehearse it and wrap it around us like a security blanket. We wear it like skin. And because we wear it, we become one with it accepting the story as truth. It’s really self-deception. The ‘old story’ may be true, but it’s not my ultimate truth. Somewhere along the lines we wore it for so long that it became self-pity which made the lies seem truer than truth. As Pastor Steven said, the self-pity becomes a snuggy for the soul. Ok, got it…time to shed the snuggy! Spring and new life is on the horizon! Who’s with me??? Ready to shed the self-pity snuggy? Let’s drop the baggage!
- If we become a slave to our story, we will die between two truths. If David had become a slave to his story, he would have never slayed the giant (1 Samuel 17). Challenge your old story by KNOWING the truth and battle those giants! Remember your source! If I never challenge my ‘old story’, if I continue to rehearse that story, I will find myself stuck like the children of Israel were stuck for 40 years in the dessert. I will never overcome and I will never realize my true potential. God’s word (TRUTH) tells me that I do not have to be stuck because he is making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert (Isaiah 43:19). Yes! I am choosing to KNOW your truth, Lord! His spirit is in the truth, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM! (2 Corinthians 3:17)
- Stop saying, “That’s the story of my life!” If negativity and limitations is the story of your life, it’s time to get a new editor. This really made me think about who am I giving credit for writing and editing my story. I am making a choice. I choose to not let the enemy be the editor of my story.
- The truth is I do not deserve grace and mercy, yet it is also true that, in Christ, I am the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yes, I fall short, but it is also true that I am an overcomer in Christ. I find myself between these two truths, but I am not stuck because I am moving forward in freedom.
- To receive a new truth for my life, I must be willing to let go of the ‘old story’. Yet another choice to make, the choice to let go. I am choosing to let go, drop the story that entangles me and weighs me down. In this season, I am, once and for all, discarding the baggage (shame & self-pity snuggy). As Marie Kondo would say, if it doesn’t spark joy, it’s time to let it go.
It is the desire of my heart and my prayer that as I navigate through this wilderness of transition, with all that it has to teach me, that you will not only join me, but find hope and the strength you need to overcome your ‘old story’. May you learn along with me as we journey toward our destiny. May you experience peace and joy in every season of the journey!