“Jacob,” was the reply. “It isn’t anymore!” the Angel told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.” Genesis 32: 27 - 28
Jacob, that deceiver, cheater, and schemer, wrestled all night with an angel (some translations say it was God himself) and had earned God's new name of grace--'Israel'. This story is so, so poignant to me. I see myself in Jacob. I see myself, not as a schemer and deceiver, but as one who spent too many years not using my gifts for God's glory, just as Jacob did. Despite my stupid, selfish actions, God still looked on me as worthy of blessings and grace. Oh, so much grace!
I will confess that the last few years, Satan has been mocking me and taunting me with my old names--Divorcee', Not Good Enough, Ugly, Disappointing, Failure. Because I still live in the small town I did twenty years ago, I see so many reminders of my mistakes; of my failures. Y'all, it is SO freaking hard sometimes! I get physically sick at times.
But it is not God telling me those things! It's that stupid liar demon, and in my humanity, I let him win sometimes. I get overwhelmed by the disgust of my sins and I let the guilt carry me. You all know what that "one button" is that Satan can push to get us upset, right? And man, oh man, how he loves to push mine!
So, how do I overcome it and walk in the grace bestowed upon me? I've found the following habits have helped me the most:
- Hide verses in my heart which will help me. Write them, say them, share them, memorize them, pray them.
- Talk to someone I trust who can help me realize what is happening in the spiritual realm.
- Focus on the blessings right in front of me which prove God's grace has never left my side, not even for a minute.
- Seek the Lord's face when the enemy attacks--you know, like, every. single. day.
- Pray, pray, and then pray some more!
"After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?" ~Kazuo Ishiguro from The Remains of the Day
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