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.

5 Ways to Fight Fear

5 Ways to Fight FearThe dreams all happened over the course of a few nights.

A dream that our friends got divorced.
A dream that a friend’s baby died.
A dream that another friend got cancer.

For some, these tragedies are reality. For others of us, they are part of the battle against fearful thoughts.

If all our fears were unfounded, we could probably talk ourselves out of it.
But in this broken world, pain will invade us until Jesus comes back to destroy evil once and for all.

Those who don’t know Christ have a lot to fear. But if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, His Spirit lives inside us.

We have weapons for the battle.

When I was pregnant with Isaiah, I remember being so afraid I would have a miscarriage.
In his first newborn weeks, I worried if I couldn’t hear him rustling around on the monitor during the night.
There are times even in this toddler stage that my mind jumps to fear when I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner and haven’t heard him make noise for a while.

Sometimes the “what ifs” can be suffocating, squeezing the air out of more positive thoughts.

Here are 5 ways I’ve fought in the battle against fear:

5 Ways to Fight Fear1. Remember that it takes intentional fighting.
Ephesians 6:10-11 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Author and speaker Steve Wibberley talks about the importance of daily putting on the armor of God in his book, Knowing Jesus is Enough for Joy. We can be prepared for the battle by praying through each piece regularly.

  • The Belt of Truth: proclaiming the gospel to ourselves and acknowledging our identity in Christ (that we are loved, cleansed, and commissioned for His work)
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness: claiming God’s righteousness on our behalf, accepting His forgiveness for when we do sin
  • The Shoes of Peace: asking for strength to forgive others who hurt us and to love everyone we interact with
  • The Shield of Faith: praising God, even when things are difficult, trusting His work in our lives
  • The Helmet of Salvation: thanking God that “my significance and security come from Him and that they cannot be taken away by any person or circumstance.” (Wibberley 69)
  • The Sword of the Spirit: memorizing the Word and praying through what God is saying through a passage, relating the principles to our own lives. Here’s an example from Nehemiah:

“Thank you, Lord, for the grace you showed to the Israelites as they rebuilt the city walls and renewed the covenant, knowing that they would break it again soon. Thank you for extending that grace to me when I forget you and decide to wallow in self-pity, and for when I’m tired and short on patience with my husband and Isaiah.”

2. Remember whose side you’re on.
Sometimes it helps me to step away from my limited perspective by meditating on attributes of God that I have experienced or recently observed in Scripture.

Lover of sinners.

Creator of the universe.

Worker of everything good.

Gentle Shepherd.

Sovereign over all creation.

Redeemer of all my past, present, and future sins.


Promised Conqueror of all that is evil.

3. Remember that it’s not wrong to be afraid.
It’s encouraging to me when I think about how many people God used in the Bible who were afraid.

God said, “Do not be afraid” to Abraham, Moses (over and over during his ministry), Joshua, Elijah, Jeremiah, Joseph, Mary, and Paul, but it was not an accusation. It was a reminder that He was going to be with them in the special purposes He had for their lives.

Even Jesus was afraid. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, waiting to be arrested, He said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)

4. Remember the psalmists.
What I love about the book of Psalms is that one moment the writer is pouring out his feelings and frustrations to the Lord, and then by the time he reaches the end of the psalm (I picture him gritting his teeth), he declares his trust in God, even if he can’t see how God is going to fix his problems. (see Psalm 13, 28, 35, 42)

God wants to listen to the emotions going on inside of us and has given us words of faith we can pray with the psalmists.

A few weeks before Isaiah was born, my midwife encouraged me to find verses of faith to cling to as I approached the unknown of childbirth.

Here are a few examples of those words of faith: (Many of these examples are taken from Gaylyn William’s book All Stressed Up and Everywhere to Go).

Psalm 56:3-4–When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 68:19–Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.

Psalm 27:14–Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

5 Ways to Fight Fear Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11–God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

5. Remember our final destination.
Sometimes the things we fear do happen.

Here are John’s words to one of the churches facing a fearful situation in Revelation 2:10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

Maybe the pain feels so raw and gaping that you can’t remember what happiness felt like.

Paul reminded the church in Corinth, “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 5:4-5)

In Christ, there is always a hopeful future.

Randy Alcorn helped me to put this into perspective. He illustrated that our lives right now are a dot, but eternity is a line. (You can read more thoughts on heaven here.)

5 Ways to Fight FearThere might be a lot of pain packed into that little dot, but the line won’t even have a hint of it.

We will encounter fearful situations. Fearful thoughts may come when we least expect it. But Jesus is always ready with His peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Calling out His name is a great place to start.

How will you battle against fear today?