I know my vices. I am often quick to self criticize, and although God has given me a lot of freedom in that area, it's still hard for me not to focus on my faults, let them consume me in a downward spiral.
Because of that downward spiral, I often drown my thoughts in media, let Pinterest and Netflix drown out my nagging thoughts, the fact that I KNOW I should be doing better, I shouldn't let my appearance get me down.
My mind shouts at me.
"Ari WHY are you worried about your skin, your weight? It's not important! It's dragging you down, making you self focused, making you selfish, getting you off track!"
"Why is this even a struggle for you Ari? Why are you so different from everyone else? No one else struggles with acne like you do, you should be ashamed."
"How long? How long am I going to try and try and never feel like I'm getting anywhere? Stop hoping, it always just lets you down, a quick rise and sickening plummet."
"Ari! Did DTS even DO anything for you? You should know better than to waste your time like that, selfish girl! Wake up and live for the Lord!"
"If you were REALLY passionate for the Lord, you wouldn't let things like this get you down, how long have you battled this? You're never going to be able to hold onto freedom OR close relationship with the Lord. Might as well just give up."
All these voices, in my head twenty-four seven. It's so hard to separate truth from identity, but I know I should be doing more, so I make promises, which I always seem to breaking. I want to have a good quiet time, but the call to drown everything in TV or Facebook seems to be louder. God is my Protector, and I know God has made me stronger than I was, I am not hopeless, not unless I lose hope, don't daily remind myself that my identity comes FROM HIM, and because of Him, I am BEAUTIFUL.
The daily battle. Reading the word, knowing what is right, then through God's love, APPLYING it to my daily life, changing the thoughts in my mind, changing the attitude of my heart.
Romans 7:14-25For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul's cry is my own. A desperate cry to the heavens, "GOD, I can't do this on my own! I know I don't have to, but yet I try, I know You offer out your hand, but somehow I always push Your help away, try to figure it all out on my own, and it never works! I want to LIVE in You, not just breathe to death, because when it comes right down to it, at the end of the day, when the pleasures I indulge in leave me, like ashes crumbling in the wind, I am left barren, naked, yet I KNOW You are offering shelter, covering, why is it so hard for me to just come to You, just come to the life You freely offer, why is this always a battle, a war, I can't let down my guard for one second, yet You offer strength, I am weak, I have no excuse, God help me come to You, You are my only answer, why can't I just come to You first? Deliver me from this body of death!!"
I listen to Lecrae in the darkness, lit only by the white glow of my laptop screen, and the words flow out raw, the wounds of my heart bleeding all over the page. Everywhere I turn, the voices are different, conflicting, confusing, condemning, guilt oozes, green and acid burning, my heart recoils, I want to retreat away from the world, shut myself away, try to stop the hurling shouts, ricocheting off the walls of my own mind, but they never leave, and yet, as I do gut wrenching battle, tears falling, taking steps forward and steps back, one voice, a slip and shimmer of white, penetrates the dark and guilty mire of confused chaos--
"You are a SAINT, my DAUGHTER, my BRIDE. You are not beaten, for I am your strength, these trials these times, you were created for such times as these, walk bravely My child, and rely on Me, Oh my child, come to Me, Oh My love, do not resist Me, let Me strengthen you, embolden you. I know you are sorry from your heart's core, but repentance is turning away, walking rightly, looking to My voice, My face, My love, and not looking away. You have the Almighty, Everlasting, Alpha and Omega YAHWEH within you, YOU ARE NOT BEATEN. For when I AM is within you, WHO can be against you?"
He roars like a Lion, the Warrior King, Raw Power, Lightning Flashing, Pure Adrenaline, Strength unlike anything anyone has EVER seen, within me.
I leave forgiven, redeemed, reminded, and determined.
Bondservant of Christ.
Highest title, I am proud to bear.
One more battle won. Transformation begins once again.