It’s ugly back there…

31 Jul

Are you one of those people who looks back at grade school or high school and wants to go back?

If so, I can’t relate to you at all.  It has nothing to do with my home town, friends, enemies, grades, sports, activities, jobs or any of the like. It is all about me.

More than just typical childish and teenage immaturity and mistakes, I have a list of regrets that disgusts my soul. My 10 year high school reunion was last year and some of my female classmates got together this month and I actually attended both.  That’s a really big deal for me.  Not only does facing people from my past make me re-live my past, but many of them are witnesses to my failures and mistakes.  When I graduated high school and the first 8 years after, I was certain I wouldn’t have contact with any of them.  Not so much because I was “running away” from my past but more because I was putting it behind me and I was afraid I’d never get past it if I had to keep re-living it.

Facebook has actually been a tool that has brought a lot of healing to my life.  Having the chance to interact with people from my past and have some good conversations has blessed me with a testimony of grace, forgiveness, and the courage to move forward.  I”m never going to be able to change my past.  But I have to decide if it is going to keep me a prisoner or if I will walk boldly forward knowing I’m new in Christ, even if I look foolish, like a hypocrite, or come into contact with those who aren’t willing to extend any grace.

For many years, when I looked back, I always asked myself the same questions:

Why didn’t I know better? I was raised in church and accepted the Lord as my savior when I was nine.  I shouldn’t have the list of mistakes, selfish rebellion and disturbing details that I have in my story with this truth.  Yet, I do.

What made me think my sins weren’t as big of a deal as they were? Sometimes we sin out of ignorance to scripture; yet other times we’re totally aware that we’re going directly against the boundaries God has set up for us to keep us free in Christ, and we do it anyway.

My eyes were recently opened to a reality of sin I hadn’t had the knowledge of before.  When we participate in sin, we open ourselves up to be subject to addiction and habits.  I’m not talking about alcohol and tobacco use, though those are addictive habits.

I’m talking about patterns developed and footholds we give to Satan.

Examples?

Those who have sex outside of marriage tend to have sex multiple times outside of marriage and possibly with multiple partners. The enjoyment of the sin overshadows the negative effects and consequences of the choices both present, long-term and eternally.

Those who have told a lie, tend to have a problem with lying about a number of things big and small.  Not only are big stories that generate reactions easy off the lips; but lying also morphs the character to have a hard time even repeating a truthful story the way it specifically happened without tending to add little blurbs or change words a touch.

Those who gossip, tend to have issues keeping any secrets at all. Even between two very best friends, a gossip will have a really hard time not at least telling someone who doesn’t know the person at all about the secret they know.

Those who have jealousy issues tend to destroy numerous relationships in their life because of it.  The find fault with everyone.  For some reason they just can’t help but pointing out flaws or things they think are weird, foolish, beneath them, or obviously a battle for the person and often help others see it too.

Those who have a problem with lust, tend to struggle with it well into their marriage, even when they love their spouse deeply. A number of men have an issue with this and would never even know it because society has normalized this to the point of virtually no boundary line in this area. And Christian men don’t talk about this issue enough with young men at all.

Those who have insecurity issues will often set up tests or challenges for all those in their life to pass.  And this can be a monthly, weekly, or even daily occurence.  Some spouses are literally tested daily and the attitude and affection in the home will reflect how they passed or failed the test.

When we let Satan have a foothold in our lives, he doesn’t even have to be present at any given moment for us to start acting out of habit, acceptance, and tolerance.  Typically the sin in our lives has been there so long, we don’t even call it out and recognize it as sin at all.  Sometimes, we even say “that’s just who we are.”

For me, I recognized some struggles with sins in my life from my past, but I had no idea until the Lord dealt with my heart in the last couple years to the depth these issues had sunk in and became apart of me and the way I acted, reacted, and lived my life.  I was oblivious to the intertwined alteration of my character in even all the small areas of my life.

I also realized that even though I hated certain sins in my life from junior high and high school, and more over learned painful, brutal lessons from the realities of those sins, I still carried some of those habits and addictions into my adult life and marriage.

That makes me want to vomit admitting that.  Friends, my past is ugly. UGLY. Naturally to me, it is more ugly than yours.  Maybe you feel the same about your own history.

Some past sins, those that seem less of a big deal to me are easy to talk about and admit.  And others, mostly those so deeply rooted that is took well into my twenties to recognize and stop doing, and even some sins that I’m still working hard on recognizing and getting rid of, are much harder to talk openly about.

Maybe that is embarrassment.  Maybe it is shame.  Maybe it is just that it hits too close to home that I have failed so miserably and I don’t want that to affect my testimony and ministry opportunities for the future?

Practical Application:

First and foremost, recognize that I am not the only person who has ever felt / feels this way.  And it is a powerful revelation that is brought on by God to rid ourselves of sin and become more effective in the kingdom.

Secondly, allow this reality to make the grace story of Christ and the Cross wash over me with renewed power and joy at just how much God bought me for and what He saved me from.

Three, begin praying for myself, and asking others like a spouse, best friend, pastor whomever, to pray diligently that I can have power over habitually or addictive and character altering sins, and start claiming and walking in freedom… even if it takes a lot of hard work, apologizing and time.

Four, give myself a little grace that circumstance, parenting, environment, leadership and other factors contribute to what we know, who we are, how we act, and where we draw lines in our lives. ((More on this next post……))

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6 Responses to “It’s ugly back there…”

  1. smashesmarie July 31, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    You are not alone!

    • kaylagulick July 31, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Ashley. That brings so much encouragement to my heart!

  2. Kristen Smith July 31, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I’m very thankful for your friendship and honesty, Kayla!

    • kaylagulick July 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you Kristen. I’ve been so blessed by our friendship!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. As is « Lessons Of Mercy - September 26, 2012

    […] had dealt with, still kept me from facing my past and the people from it.  I did a 5 part series (starting here) on this which contains some of the best lessons the Lord has graciously taught me in regards to […]

  2. Dealing with the old. « Lessons Of Mercy - October 3, 2012

    […] is a truth from me.  I’ve written about my past before on the blog.  But truth be told, I didn’t even truly admit in-depth my list of sins […]

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