(Note: Please play this video, “Spirit Break Out” by Bethel Church (if you want to), while reading this post. Or, if you have access to this song on your own device, you can keep it on repeat while reading.)
“What will they think of me?”
“What if they don’t think I’m good enough?”
“What if they don’t like me and don’t want to be bothered with me?”
These are the kind of questions I usually ask myself – before I even walk in a room.
I peek inside and look around to see who’s there and “size up” the environment before I walk in. If there’s enough people that I know and I’m comfortable with, I’ll enter the room to hang with my friends. Sometimes, I enter in hopes of “hiding behind” my friends to “protect” myself from those whom I’ve pre-determined don’t like me.
It’s amazing the judgements we make against other people – without cause – and the walls we put up around our hearts to protect ourselves due to our own insecurities. Insecurities that we don’t even understand why we have, or how they became part of us.
I’ve been pondering this lately… WHY?? Why do I live in such fear and insecurity of people?? Where did it come from?? Many people can reflect back on bullying they endured in school, or family or friends who criticized them and broke down their self-esteem.
This is not my story. I’ve always had great family and friends who loved me and encouraged me in who I was becoming.
I live in fear and insecurity of other people because of the critical world I’ve built in my own mind of who people expect me to be, what I perceive people think of me and what I want them to believe about me.
I believe it all started the day I decided I wanted people to think I was perfect.
I was raised in church, loved Jesus and was a good girl who didn’t get in much trouble. In high school, I took my Bible to school and read it at lunch and in class when the teacher was finished with the lesson for the day. I asked my friends not to cuss, smoke, listen to bad music, or gossip around me.
Basically, you couldn’t sin in my presence or you would hear about how you were going to Hell unless you got saved. Oh, and you better be in church with me on Sunday.
While my intentions were good, and I genuinely wanted to live for Jesus, I think back then I had more religion than relationship. This brought on a whole new problem…
Deception and trying to hide my sins.
Deception in the fact that in my late teen years and into adulthood, I was hanging out with people who convinced me to leave Godliness behind and try worldliness.
Not wanting to lose these particular friends, I eventually gave in and fell into sin. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, nor did I want to destroy my “good Christian girl” image, so I kept it a secret, while allowing everyone to believe I was living a morally good life.
*** 1 Corinthians 15:33 – Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” ***
In fact, after tasting of the world, I ended up leaving church and would eventually be convinced by a friend to return. However, even after my return, I spent years in what I call “Roller Coaster Christianity”; unstable in my walk with Christ, going back and forth between wanting God and being mad at Him and wanting nothing to do with Him.
Many of you will be surprised to learn that I even went so far as to proclaim to certain people that I was an atheist, and even looked into, and dabbled, in other religions.
I strayed far from my strong Christian upbringing, and didn’t understand why. I blamed God for the mess I made of my life, and the consequences I had to face, even though it was due to my own decisions.
During one of the times that I actually wanted God, I inquired about it, and He gave me the answer…
Satan, I DARE You
When I was 16, I was very strong in my faith, and I made four dares to the devil. One of them was to tell him that he could never make me lose my faith, and I dared him to try. One year later, at 17 years of age, I was calling myself an atheist.
Never, NEVER become so prideful as to tempt the devil. He WILL come after you.
*** 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. ***
This began years of struggling with my faith, and getting into some things as a young adult, that I thought I would NEVER do. There are a handful of church leaders and inner circle friends that I’ve spoken to over the years, but most people have not known.
*** Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. ***
Although I confessed my sins to God and asked His forgiveness, and I know everything is under the blood of Jesus, I was riddled with years of guilt and shame. Guilt over the things I did, and shame because I felt like I was hiding my sins, my truth, from everyone.
I accepted a false identity and believed that what I did defined who I REALLY was and wondered if I actually ever was that person, that “good Christian girl” at all, or if she was just a phony image that I lived at one time.
Along with my naturally shy demeanor, this false identity – the lie that I accepted about myself that I was a phony person – caused me to set up emotional walls and keep people out rather than opening up and trying to get to know them.
Besides never feeling that I fit in and choosing to close myself off to most people, I thought everyone “saw” through me, knew what I had done and made their own judgements about me and who they thought I really was.
Walls of Protection
For years I have believed that people in general could not be trusted. I accepted a faulty belief that says anyone will turn their back on you and betray you, especially if you open up to let them in to see who you are with all of the ugliness inside. I allowed barriers to keep people out, including God, except the FEW who would prove themselves to be trustworthy. That did not include Jesus.
If you attend church with me, I’m sure you have noticed my involvement in church ministry over the years has been on and off at times. First, let me say that if you’ve ever asked me why I left a ministry, yes, whatever reason I gave you at the time was valid – and there may have been other reasons as well.
The Lies of Guilt and Shame
Over the years, as I accepted the lies about who I was, took on the guilt and shame, and got deeper and deeper into that belief system, I began to wonder HOW God could love me and HOW He could use a mess like me.
I didn’t tell anyone about my past, so I considered myself to be lying to everyone because I wasn’t revealing everything about myself. Also, if my relationship with God wasn’t stable, or if I was actually participating in sin at a particular time, I didn’t think I should be in ministry and would step down.
Years upon years of going through emotional ups and downs, not really feeling like I fit in and generally shutting people out, as well as my relationship with God being unstable because I was angry with Him and going through bouts of doubting Him without completely understanding why took its toll on me.
Desperate for Jesus
There came a point when I started seeking Him, again, but in a way that I had not before. I had come to the understanding that God was NOT the One Who was bringing these horrible situations into my life and I realized I didn’t really know Him.
I wanted to know God for Who He REALLY is, know His character and, once again, have that relationship with Him that I didn’t feel I had since I was a teenager. I wanted to know His love, and I asked Him to reveal His love to me….
(Note: Please play this video, “Chambers” by Catherine Mullins (if you want to) while reading the remainder of this testimony.)
And He did. He met me where I was in a way that wiped away every doubt I ever had about Him, every question of “Why, God?”, and completely revolutionized and stabilized my relationship with Him and my mindset of Who He is and His character.
Vision of Jesus = Revelation of Love
God is SO GOOD that He gave me a vision of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I was at home when this happened, and it left me absolutely ASTOUNDED.
Joel 2:28-29 – “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.
Acts 2:17-18 – ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. 18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy.
In a vision, I saw Jesus standing before me in Heaven, a GLORIOUS place, with His arms opened wide, smiling at me. In the vision, all I wanted to do was bow down and worship Him, but He told me to stand because He wanted to hug me. When I looked in His eyes, all I saw was love. Waves of love poured out of His entire being. It’s like He was made of love. In one moment, EVERYTHING in the world became petty and ALL that mattered was love. None of my faults mattered. There was no shame. ALL I felt was love, and I saw myself the way Jesus sees me. I saw and sensed the depth of love that Jesus has for me. Jesus’ love is IMMEASURABLE.
In that moment, I finally GOT why Jesus loves me so much… because He IS love. It has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with WHO He is. I now KNOW that He loves me and I cannot be convinced otherwise, and I KNOW that I am made worthy in Christ.
It also made me see mankind differently. It made me want to love everyone into seeing God differently. I truly believe that if each person knew that Jesus loves them, and understood the vastness of His love, we would see ourselves differently and we would treat each other completely different. We would come together in unity because Jesus truly sees us all the same.
Breaking Down the Walls
I share this beautiful encounter because I believe God wants us to share His goodness with one another,
Psalm 96:3 NLT – Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.
… and because the Bible declares that we overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, loving not our lives unto death (Revelation 12:11.)
Satan would like nothing more than to cause division in the Church by convincing us that we can’t trust anybody, therefore, causing us to isolate and distance ourselves from each other. I chose to write this blog post because this is a wall I want to crumble in my life today. This is my first step in opening up and walking through the door to find my freedom. 😊
If you can relate to my story, feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you! You write to me via my email address or contact form below, comment and subscribe!
Declaring Jesus’ Name in the Earth,
~ Marjorie Shull ~