There are four main reasons why it’s hard to change the defects in our lives:
1. Because we’ve had them for so long.
2. Because we confuse our defects with our identity.
3. Because every defect has a payoff.
4. Because Satan discourages our efforts to change.
All my life I have been a very anxious person. I have always felt I did not belong or fit in. I always felt disconnected and unloved by my father. I have felt like a burden to my husband and all of our family. I have felt like I’m not good enough, or smart enough, to hang out with or be accepted by my husband’s friends or around those he worked with because they were so smart and had much more education than me. I have felt shameful for things I have done out of my addictions. I have felt unworthy as a person and that I don’t deserve to be happy or to be loved. I have felt afraid to love, trust, and have intimacy with my husband because I did not feel this growing up from any male figure. I have even gone so far as feeling embarrassed at Bible study when asked to turn to a certain book because I had no idea if it was in the front, middle, or back; and therefore I felt I was ignorant.
So now you understand why I am the way I am. Of course, I needed to take Xanax and drink, because of my horrible anxiety. Of course, I needed to hide and avoid everyone, because I don’t fit in. Of course, I had to distance my heart and stay as far away from intimacy with my husband, because he might abandon me like my dad had done. Of course, I’m afraid to trust because of all the bad relationships that have disappointed me and hurt me. Surely you understand, too, right?
Now you can see why it’s been so hard for me to let go; because if I did, then who am I? Who will Leslie be without anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, hatred, loneliness, bitterness, and unworthiness? I had no clue what it would feel like to want to live…to feel like a good mom and wife—or, especially, God’s child? Do you see where I am going with this? I honestly had lived my 38 years believing all of these defects are who I am and that I will always be this person who would always be depressed, a worthless person, and bound to be ill and miserable for the rest of my life or until I would finally take it. My life was hopeless and that’s who I was—just a miserable hopeless person. And, although life was excruciating, I couldn’t imagine things differently.
I remember just how frightened I was when I became sober. I was so fearful to face things without using something to get me through it. Emotions were almost unbearable to feel without that Benzo or glass of wine. It was so hard being alone in the house because the voices that I hid from were much louder and frequent in a quiet house. I was so afraid to be in certain rooms of my home because I remembered withdrawals and hallucinations that I experienced there. It was so hard to come home from outpatient program and do my assignment of looking in the mirror and telling that image looking back at me that I love me and I am a good person.
Letting go of these defects was not easy. I actually enjoyed the attention I got because of my illness. I felt wanted and loved when family members called and checked on me. I liked receiving cards and seeing my name on prayer lists. I actually liked being able to not speak to my dad because I wanted to have power over him feeling sad and abandoned because of all the years I felt that hurt. I liked being constantly pitied when I would do destructive things to myself because that not only got me much more attention from my family, but attention from doctors, also. For me, a life I was miserably comfortable in at least had a payoff. How about you? What payoff do you get by not letting go of your defects?
John Baker says in this chapter, “Satan constantly tries to fill our minds with negative thoughts. He is the accuser. He whispers in our ear, ‘This will never work; you can’t do it, you’ll never change.‘” Have you been hearing this alot?
When I started seeking Christ these whispers were constant, loud, almost paralyzing at times. I learned to rebuke Satan, and almost every 5 seconds I was doing so in the name of Jesus. Satan would stop for a few moments and start right back up. Being fragile and not trusting in God very much, I spent my days feeling weak and tired. Satan told me I would never be well, I would not stay sober, I was a loser, I had no real friends, that my husband pitied me and that he had lost hope in me. I had thoughts that my kids might be scared from seeing my actions and addictions. And that I did not have a real relationship with God because He did not love me enough to save me and take me out of that hell I lived. Why did I have to hurt so badly for so long? Does God not love me?
Please listen very carefully, ladies…SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he shows what he really is like. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 God’s Word Translation). Baker states, “But counteracting Satan’s lies is the truth that sets us free.” Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). As we begin to grow in God’s truth and voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life and allow Him to remove our character defects, we will discover the happiness of doing what God requires. So what are you waiting for?
Father, we come to You today ready to submit to all the changes You want to make in each of our lives and remove our character defects. We ask that You reveal to us defects that we have lived with for so long and have become part of who we are. Help us to let go of these things. Lord, help us when Satan tries to discourage our efforts to change by trying to fill our minds with negative thoughts, and instead focus on the truth, Lord. For we know the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. Lord, we ask for Your help; and we thank You for Your forgiveness and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Find a quiet place and ask God to reveal to you your biggest character defect. What has been the payoff keeping it and not letting it go?
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