5 Ways to Respond When Your Faults Are Laid Bare

5 Ways to Respond When Your Faults Are Laid BareIt’s the pause in conversation that makes me hold my breath, hoping that I can stop time or at least postpone what I don’t want to hear.

The pause after I’ve asked a question of someone, realizing in that split second that the person is going to point out one of my faults or a way I’ve failed their expectations.

The words that follow are the hardest not to interrupt– to try and justify myself.

To keep from offering a quick “I’m sorry” and “Can we go back to the way things were?”

No one is perfect, but it hasn’t made me feel any less condemned.

When a person brings to light something I’d rather keep hidden, it’s almost as if I split into two people.

Part of me is listening to the words the person is saying, and the other part is standing beside the sharer, shaking an accusing finger back at me.

She becomes louder than the person who is actually speaking, railing on about all the ways I will never measure up, and that I’m a complete failure to those I love.

She inserts twisted expectations the person speaking hasn’t even mentioned, like. . .

You will always be an anxious person, feeling uptight over circumstances that would make others laugh.

You will never learn how to control your reactions of impatience toward your son.

You will never reach a point where your tone and behavior respects and honors your husband.

When I realize the real person is still speaking, sometimes offering words of encouragement that I can’t quite focus on, I start to envy turtles, wishing I had my own built-in closet to hide in.

5 Ways to Respond When Your Faults Are Laid BareTrying to change in my own strength has felt like juggling knives. I might be able to learn how to do it for a few seconds, but when I drop them, I always get cut.

I’ve forgotten that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living inside of me, ready to help and give grace when I fail.

Here are a few steps I’ve taken when the knives of condemnation start to break skin.

  1. Praise God for who He is.

When I take time to search Scripture and think about who God is, it’s a whole lot easier to remember that I’m not alone. The One who is with me is more powerful than a lion and gentler than a lamb.

I often sing You are Holy while in the car, since it lists so many names of God.

  1. 5 Ways to Respond When Your Faults Are Laid BareThank God for His promises.

No matter how I’ve seemed to mess up my life or relationships, God’s promises are always there, like a ripe peach ready to be picked.

Some of the promises I’ve clung to in these times are:

God doesn’t condemn me, because Jesus took my punishment and shame.

He has adopted me as His child.

He loved me and provided the way to be rescued, even while I was still wallowing in my sins.

My value is not based on my performance.

No matter what happens on earth, my ultimate destination is living a life of joy in Jesus’ presence on the New Earth.

  1. Pour out your feelings and frustrations to God.

Flip to almost any of the psalms, and you’ll see hearts being laid bare. Fear, discouragement, and cries for help remind me of all I can bring before God.

When I also confess where I’ve sinned through thought, words, or action, His forgiving embrace is there, ready to remind me that I am His.

Many of the psalms end with a note of hope, as the writers speak truth about God, inviting His thoughts into their feelings.

  1. 5 Ways to Respond When Your Faults Are Laid BareBe honest about your struggle.

Sometimes, I’m working so hard to hide the fact that I have faults, I don’t let others in on any of my feelings. My husband told me that he can’t always tell when I’m struggling, unless I say it outright (without trying to send any subliminal messages.)

When those close to me know the parts of me that are sick, they can fight with me instead of against me when I let them down. They can bring me before God’s throne and cheer me on as I battle. (Ephesians 6)

  1. Thank God for His forgiveness, for His Spirit’s power working inside of you.

The God who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1). The Spirit delights in our process of growing in holiness, and we can look forward to the day when we will be sanctified through and through (1 Thessalonians 4:23).

Sometimes it’s helpful to reflect on the changes God has guided us into already. Packing for trips used to make me incredibly anxious and overwhelmed, but on this last trip, I was able to rest in Jesus’ peace, knowing I wasn’t a terrible person if I forgot something. Thanking Him for the progress has given me an extra measure of strength for the battle.

How can you join in the fight today, rather than surrendering to thoughts that destroy?

Who has God brought into your life to fight for?

Jesus, may the next painful conversation we have be covered in your grace as we seek to depend on You. We are Yours.

3 Reasons Why It’s Good To Make Mistakes

I used to not forget anything.

Why It's Good to Make MistakesAnything, that is, that had to do with events/times/dates/etc. I’d write things on our calendar, set timers, write sticky notes, and even text myself. My weird personality and subconscious would hold hands and swim around inside my brain, whispering reminders in my ear as I was going to sleep.

“Don’t forget about that family dinner next Friday. . . Remember to turn on the crockpot as soon as you wake up.”

It was a source of pride.

And then we had a baby.

He wouldn’t nap to a timer, and the sticky notes kept falling off him. I forgot about his two-month check-up until it was too late. I missed a scheduled phone call. I’d walk into a room and beg my brain to remember what I came in there for. I felt like even my strengths were slipping away because of this little person.

Which was good, because it started to challenge beliefs I never knew I had.

I used to think: Mistakes = Sin.

Why It's Good to Make MistakesI didn’t make much of a distinction between being a finite human and being a sinner.

We are broken people living in a sin-stained world. This affects everything we do, including our mistakes. But that doesn’t mean every mistake is a sin.

My son is learning to drink milk from a cup. Sometimes it dribbles down his chin and splatters onto the table and floor. I don’t cry over it. And I don’t think Jesus cries over our spilled mistakes, either.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve weren’t God. Even when we get to heaven, we won’t automatically know everything. We are human.

When mistakes are sin
Sometimes our mistakes do involve sin, though. It used to come naturally for me to feel guilty and abuse myself through my thoughts.

“Won’t you ever learn?”

“What’s your problem?”

It felt like some sort of penance. It was wrong.

Instead, God calls us to repent, ask for forgiveness (and the Spirit’s help), and then bask in the grace He offers because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus has paid the price for all my fallen-ness and sinful mistakes.

So what is the alternative? What should replace the feelings once heavy with guilt, the you’ll-never-be-good-enough accusations in my head?

Recently, I felt the Spirit prompting me to consider what would happen if we weren’t aware of our mistakes. What if we were perfect in our own eyes?

It brought to mind the phrase in Judges, where the people of Israel “did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) When we think we have it all together, pride can creep in, and even unbelief (depending on myself for everything).

Here are three reasons why I’m glad God let’s me make mistakes.

Why It's Good to Make Mistakes1. Remembering my need for Jesus

When everything is going well, we say we have it all under control. But what exactly do we have under our control? A clean house? Obedient children? Appearances can be deceiving.

So many people don’t acknowledge that God is the One who gave them life, allows each breath, and orders the universe. If we don’t take moments to remember, we may start to look and live like them. We may start to think we can do life without Him if we can just organize, plan, and do better.

2. Opportunity to grow in humility

It’s always been hard for me to try things I don’t anticipate doing well at. (You can imagine what the gym class skills tests did to my insides.) Parenting is an everyday reminder of my need for Jesus. Sometimes the day is filled with mistakes, and sometimes it’s just plain messy.

At times, I feel like I’m kicking and screaming my way into sanctification. But it’s in those times of insufficiency, I see my own insignificance.

3. Time to focus on the perfection and all-consuming grace of our Father

I don’t have to be perfect. Jesus doesn’t expect it, so I shouldn’t either. God sent Jesus to live the perfect life so I don’t have to. He knew I never could.

No matter how many stifled laughs or raised eyebrows I encounter (or fear encountering), I can choose to accept the grace the Father longs to give me–no matter how many times I face-plant.