Two weeks ago at my church’s retreat, a preacher said the heavens were open, that there was a special grace to make requests to God.
I’m not sure what other people in the room were thinking, whether they were asking God for spiritual gifts or spouses or clarity about their futures, but for me, I wanted something different. Without hesitation, I stretched up my hands to heaven and cried out:
“Kill my fear of man! Kill it! Completely!”
In the weeks leading up to this moment, my world was shaken up a bit.
Through various struggles, I was faced with the ugliest parts of myself: cowardice, dishonesty, selfishness, pride. During those weeks, I had to push hard against my feelings to take hold of the truth.
In the midst of shame, I declared Jesus’ blood over me, that no matter what voices of accusation I might hear in my head, His voice spoke over me, “No, not guilty! INNOCENT.” In the midst of rejection, when I wanted to pridefully close my heart to people, I declared that my relationships were destined for perfect LOVE–in heaven we will be family forever, loving each other perfectly, forever! In the midst of feelings of weakness and inadequacy, I claimed God’s approval over me. He has chosen me, called me, QUALIFIED me.
While I was going through this struggle, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but now I understand, at least in part. All that pushing helped me break through a ceiling I hadn’t even realized was limiting me. I had only believed in myself up to a certain point, believed in God’s grace up to a certain point, been willing to love up to a certain point.
Now, those limits have been removed.
The altar is a place of killing, but it’s also where you come to life.
When I asked God to kill that fearful, self-doubting, overly accommodating part of me, I knew I was really asking Him to make me completely alive. I wanted to be able to RUN with Him without hindrance.
I hate disappointing people. I hate making mistakes. I hate when there is tension between me and people I love. But I am learning to not be afraid of those things. Because no matter what anyone else thinks of me, no matter what accusing voices may say in my head, no matter how many mistakes I make, God always has fresh grace for me. He is always ready to receive me with open arms. He always loves me and has so much delight over me!
It’s almost too good to be true. It’s hard to comprehend. It’s something that constantly surprises me and makes me pause in wonder. That’s the love and grace of our God.