I’m not the sort of person who makes New Year Resolutions. I know there are a billion things in my life that I would love to resolve and work on, but I have never really set out the beginning of a new year with some personal goal in mind. So to be perfectly honest I am not the person who should be giving advice on how to do that, or what to do, or even share countless success stories. I have a very strong resolve when it comes to others, even strangers, but I have very little resolve when it comes to myself. I would love to say it is because I am humble and selfless … now that would be awesome. It would, however, throw out my self-proclaimed humbleness right out the window. No, my reason is dark. I try to make light of it often without really getting to the heart of the issue. Even now I have had to delete several sentences. I want to sarcastically refer to this as a ‘gift’. But that’s wrong. My Pastor, Mark Driscoll, has been going through the book of Malachi these last few weeks, and one of the condemnations of God against rebellious Israel is that they call bad things good and good things bad. This really hit home for me, and I feel the desperate need to sin in this fashion. I want to hide my sin in sarcasm, but truly it is a heart issue I have with the LORD. In my heart I know I am accusing Him of allowing me to be given this ‘gift’. But what does all of this have to do with New Year Resolutions and why I don’t make them? I don’t make resolutions for myself because I don’t consider myself.
I don’t mean that flippantly, or humbly. I don’t value myself. I don’t find myself worthy of that sort of attention or intention or interest. I am learning that this is a reverse form of pride because it is still about me, all about me. It is about how I see myself, rather than how God sees me. This is a very deep rooted sin my heart and soul. It is a sin I have to work on, but it is painful. Those who know me know some of why I am like this, but those of you who don’t know …someone hurt me. Before I knew Jesus I was involved with a man who abused me. The first night he raped me I was ashamed and in so much pain. The very next night the same thing happened, and the shame went deeper. Then went the third night, the fourth night, the tenth night, the twenty-fifth night. I once told people he raped, abused, and tortured me for six months. Daily. I didn’t see an end in sight. But one night I ended up screaming so loud and I shattered. I went away. I can’t really tell you where I went because I don’t really know. I felt like a zombie. Something happened that night when I broke that scared him …and after that he no longer raped me with sexual intercourse.
Last year I started this process of healing. Of walking through this with the LORD, and he is showing me things I didn’t remember, things I didn’t want to see or remember. I didn’t break up with this man or escape this man that night. He continued to be my boyfriend/fiancée/master/abuser for a good year and a half. He made me do things I didn’t want to do. And as I look back at those moments I realized I lost value in myself. I no longer cared what happened to me physically. I simply couldn’t care because I had no escape. There was no end. I hated everything about myself because there was no part of me that didn’t hurt, that didn’t feel defiled, and that didn’t feel disgusting.
When I gave myself to Jesus, and fell on my face behind His righteousness …I didn’t open that door for Him. I had so forgotten myself that I didn’t realize there was a door there for Him to open. My life was so riddled with obvious sin of paganism and copious amounts of sexual immorality that it was my focus to drastically change and turn my back on all that. It has been four years of challenges and struggles to let go of all of these things. And I by no means have it perfected yet. This year, however …2014 … is the start of my fifth year as a Christian. And as I read Facebook posts and internet articles about resolutions …God has knocked the wind out of me as I realized all that I am writing to you.
I don’t want to make a resolution. It feels uncomfortable. And that bothers me. I don’t like knowing that I think so little of me. And my lack of self-value affects all my relationships. I don’t let people close, but I hunger for friendship. I want to reach out, but when I look at my own metaphorical hand I see something twisted and dead. And all of this is a lie. It is a lie that the enemy has told me. And I didn’t know how to fix that hand. So I just focused on learning more. In my learning through Mars Hill, each Community Group I have been to, the Women’s Mid-week Studies, and my friendships I found myself finding this door, and having to confront it. And I don’t want to open it. I don’t want to walk through it with Jesus. I want to take an alternative route. So I began to make up a list of all the reasons New Year Resolutions are stupid.
First, they are nearly impossible to keep with. Second, I change and make improvements because of my relationship with Jesus and not because the planet earth has made one more revolution around the sun. As a pagan the new year came at the end of October and it was all about the renewing of life. But I am no longer a pagan so that was a notch against a New Year Resolution. Then following that vein of thought our culture isn’t about renewing life, it is about renewing self. How will I make myself a better version of me than last year? So after combining all of this with all of what I shared earlier I nearly talked myself out of it. Then the Holy Spirit happened.
I was showering and a soft voice inside me told me I was clean. At first I was like, “Yeah duh. Soap will do that to you.” But the Holy Spirit didn’t allow me to be so dismissive of this profound statement. I am clean. For some reason I stopped and closed my eyes. I just let the water fall over me. As I stood there with my eyes closed (I know this will sound weird) I felt the blood of Christ washing over me rather than the water. At first all I could do was sink to my knees and cry. Then I heard His voice tell me to wash myself with the blood. So I did. I washed every inch of me without opening my eyes. I have never felt this clean. I thought when I opened my eyes the feeling would vanish. It didn’t. That statement stuck with me … Wash myself with the blood. I thought I had.
But that is my default thinking. I understood it as skin deep. I had washed myself with the blood. I had wept. My skin actually still feels slightly raw. The Holy Spirit kept at me. He kept telling me to wash myself with the blood. To be honest I started to get frustrated. So I did the only ‘logical’ thing to do. I began to argue with the Holy Spirit.
They are impossible to keep. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). When I began on the arguments of the silliness of New Year keeping, that it was simply another night devoted to people getting drunk He spoke again.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)
God created the years, the orbit of the earth. We were meant to keep time, to count the years. He designed them for us. So why do I take such a thing so lightly? But like with everything else we tarnished and corrupted this gift. But I stubbornly continued to argue. New Year Resolutions in this culture are all about us, self-improvement, self-worship. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
“Wash yourself in the blood of Christ” Then it hit me. The LORD, the maker of the Heavens and the earth, the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac, and the God of Joseph,YAHWEH has shown up to wash me. I don’t know what I was trying to confine Him to the world’s definitions of resolutions and times. YAHWEH has come to open the door. I have begun to do the only thing that is right. I have begun to understand the only correct response. I surrendered. I surrender all to you my LORD, my King, my God, my Savior, my Friend, my Creator.
So today, the first day of the New Year, I have not made a resolution. I have not found obedience. I have found a New Year Supplication. A New Year Submission. A New Year of surrender and slavery to the Master of all things, the King of kings, and the LORDof lords. I have found a New Year of Love. I am beginning to understand that this door inside of me isn’t even my door. I belong to my LORD. I have no right to keep it closed. I have no right to throw my sin on what He, YAHWEH, is cleaning.
What does that mean? It means that this year I yield myself to Christ, to the will of my Father. I want and need Him to wash me with the blood. And what bothers me is I know I will screw this up. He knows I will screw this up, how I will screw this up, and when I will screw this up. I am really not in control of anything. I am not in the driver’s seat. I am not the co-pilot. I am a passenger. This year I want this. I beg the LORD to invade me. I know this means more changes for me. Changes I have tried to make on my own by my own will. This year I want nothing to do with my will, and everything to do with His will. His might. His power. Nothing is impossible with my God. This year, starting today, I want to hold onto this truth. I want to let go of lies.
So why am I sharing this with you? Because since that first night he raped me I have been in hiding. Even when I became saved, and became such a radically new creature I was given a new name, I have still been hiding. I don’t want to hide any more. I can’t do the things that the LORD wants me to do, and be the things the LORD wants me to be if I hide. Today I need to read and write the truth of the LORD. This is how the LORD sees me. This is how the LORD sees you. And I know this has been a long post …but please stop considering yourself …and consider what God has to say about you.
I am saved by His grace! It is a gift! It has nothing to do with my performance!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8)
I have been born again by the Holy Spirit if I believe in Jesus!
“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.‘” (John 3:5-6)
I am altogether new IN HIM!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Because of this I am righteous and holy, and He has renewed the spirit of my mind!
“and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24)
I no longer have to hide. Darkness has no place in me!
“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
I am God’s instrument to shine HIS light for you!
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
For God chose me, me of all people, to proclaim HIS glory!
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
IN Christ I am an heir to the Kingdom of God!
“and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17)
I did not choose Jesus. God chose me to be a bearer of His fruit!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)
In fact, god made me from the beginning of time to do HIS good works!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
I have a heavenly calling!
“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,” (Hebrews 3:1)
I am reconciled in Christ and Christ has given me a message of reconciliation!
“All this is from God,who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave usthe ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconcilingthe world to himself,not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to usthe message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)