Preview to Grace

The next devotional is nearly done. Here’s another preview:

What do Moses, Elijah, David, Solomon, and Paul have in common? Besides having powerful experiences in God’s presence, they all went through times of depression. It may feel as if you’re alone in your discouragement, but truly, you’re not. If there’s no one in your immediate surroundings you can talk openly to, then please, please, find a counselor, therapist, or doctor. I grew up thinking I wasn’t allowed to be weak, let anyone down, or to fail. Even after decades of helping others overcome their constraints, that lie has shown up at times to bite me, and to hurt my family through me, the exact opposite of what I most want.

No one is happy about admitting weakness, because we hate when we’re not enough. But that’s the point. We’re not. Acknowledging weakness is embracing his strength, and disempowering the lie you’re on your own. God encourages us to even rejoice about our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:10), because that’s when we understand that though we’re never enough, Jesus always is.

In that place, you can truly know with all your heart and mind that your faith is sourced in God’s love for you. Not in your performance or people’s approval, but in his unfailing love. You have permission to not be perfect, because Jesus already is. The pressure is off. Gone. He’s inviting you to be transformed by the revelation of his love, so much so it overwhelms and heals all the enemy has said or done, and gives you the joyful confidence to live this day really well.

God’s presence—his love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, wisdom, grace, energy, confidence, creativity—is greater than every lie, rejection, offense, and fear. No matter what hell you’ve been through, you’re empowered by Jesus to be so joyful, peaceful, and hopeful, you can bring transforming life wherever you are. I know there are many kinds and sources of depression, but no matter where the debilitating drain on your thoughts and feelings is coming from, allowing yourself to feel God’s presence is the best next step to living as the person he says you really are.

Instead of trying to fix your own heart again—or pushing more down into it—look for how God wants to love it. Look for who he wants to be for you in and through this. He knows who you are, what you’ve been going through, who you can become, and what you need to get there.

If you’re able, read these verses out loud. Speak a little life over yourself, and then listen for the abundant life God wants to speak into you:

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in the Lord again, and live in praise of my Savior” (Psalm 43:5).

“We were so burdened down beyond our own strength, we felt like we’d received a death sentence. But that made us stop relying on ourselves, and begin trusting God instead, the one who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9, paraphrase).

“We are not alone, but have a multitude supporting and cheering us on. So let’s lay down every weight that’s not ours to carry, and the sins trying to keep us from moving forward, and let us run our race with the endurance that comes from looking to Jesus, the author and completer of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2, paraphrase).

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

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