GET REAL, BE REAL, STAY REAL
An extended portion of Debbie's testimony
The following is an excerpt from Instead of Disgrace…
The inner transformation that transpired as a result of my own journey was not what I had expected. I had always lived according to my facts and didn’t know how to approach life any other way. If I could just resolve my circumstances, I thought, I could fix my life. I was very fact-minded.
Because I could not change my facts, I built my life around them. But the result was just more facts, and the harder I worked to change my circumstances, the more facts I accumulated. I remained as fact-minded as ever.
Then one day, I arrived at the place of surrender. That breathtaking moment of clarity happened when I took my eyes off the facts long enough to see a sliver of my Truth. It was just a glimpse—but that glimpse was equivalent to an earthquake in my soul. I was shocked! Shocked and surprised to discover that the answer was not in the external influences but in me. It was never about my facts; it was never about the controllers—it was about me. I was my own problem! I was the element that needed change.
A firm grip on this startling reality enabled me to do some specific things to initiate change. The first was to acknowledge things as they were. Not the way I wanted them to be or even pretended them to be or hoped they’d be—but as they actually were. I got real by acknowledging the hard facts, both past and present.
What were those facts?
That I could not fix my life. That admission led me to the Truth that Jesus Christ is my salvation. I had not trusted the Lord to build my life, but I had tried to create it myself—and I was never enough. That’s why I had failed so miserably. Only He could rescue me from the mess I had made. That was my Truth.
That I could not fix the controllers. Jesus Christ is their salvation, as well! Sacrificing my peace and emotional well-being for others had very nearly destroyed me. In pouring myself out for those around me, I became convinced that the purpose of my life was to take the brunt of rejection and abuse so others could be happy. But I was never equipped to do such heavy lifting. Jesus Christ is the only Savior of mankind—and I’m not anybody’s savior. I was not responsible for the conduct of others, only my own. That was a Truth I now had to embrace.
That I had missed it. I had failed! I had lied to myself, excusing the bad behavior of others in the pretense of walking in love. I had wasted years of precious time I could never recover. That admission was the most painful of all, yet it led me to the magnificent Truth that God is the God of another chance—not just a second chance or a third chance, but another chance. However many times I had failed, the Lord would help me get it right. He was bigger than all my failures combined. That was my promise and my Truth.
Next, I had to accept some things. I had to accept that I was stuck with some very unpleasant circumstances. Some facts. Some I could change, but some I could not—and even those that might change would take time. In the meantime, I would have to deal with the raw realities of some troublesome facts.
Though it was painful to view my ugly facts in the light of Truth, acceptance was a relief. It silenced the inner struggle that had been my constant companion. For once, I didn’t feel pressure to fix anything. I didn’t have to answer for anyone else’s behavior or pay for their mistakes. What a relief it was to unload the burden of carrying moral and social responsibility for other people!
I didn’t have a clue what to do next, but I acknowledged that fact too. Those admissions led me to the Truth that God would lead and guide me into the days ahead, “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). I knew that the Lord held my future in His hands. That was my Truth, and I took refuge there.
Last, I decided to ignore my facts and focus on my Truth. Yes, the facts were there—and they weren’t going away any time soon. But I stopped concentrating on my circumstances. I refused to stew about things over which I had no control. I knew that I could no longer continue to stare at the hard realities of my life, wondering what had gone wrong and why the people in my life had chosen to behave as they had. I had to stop questioning God. I had to stop looking at my loss, my broken career, the challenges that faced my family, my failed marriage. My dysfunction. I had to stop wondering what would happen to me next. I just had to stop.
One of my biggest concerns was that I had waited too late to find my Truth. The gravity of loss was heavy upon me, even as I pledged never to lie to myself again. I put my hope in God and refused to look back, hoping against hope that He would come through for me. Whenever I sensed the threat of my circumstances beginning to hover, I refused to dwell on it. It’s done now, I thought, and there’s no undoing it. I had to find another way. A better way.
Quite often, it may appear as though accepting a God-promised Truth over a fact is impossible. I felt the pressure of that threat, yet my faith rose up strong to meet the challenge. My Truth and my facts clashed violently, but I refused to take the easy way out. I faced an ugly set of facts, all tangible, all here and now—all in-your-face. My Truth wasn’t tangible; it came through faith—which took a whole lot more effort. Faith required that I focus on the unseen and claim promises I could not prove.
When you choose Truth, you decide to get real, be real, and stay real. Standing on Truth demands that you stick with your real-ness, even when your facts don’t align with what you choose to believe. Even when you think it may be too late. Choosing Truth puts your attention (focus) on what God has to say about you instead of what your facts have to say. It puts your eyes on a higher path instead of the lower, less challenging path of least resistance. Truth does not allow your facts to make decisions for you—decisions on who you will be, what you will believe, or what you will accomplish. When you’re standing in Truth, you make the call.
My facts said It’s over, but my Truth said, No, it’s not.
At that moment, I didn’t yet know who I was. But I made a decision that day, and I knew I would never go back. I took responsibility. This is my life, and I will no longer live according to someone else’s standards. I will no longer allow others to tell me what is acceptable. I will no longer allow the mistakes of my past to threaten my future.
And I will never lie to myself again.
Author, The Armor Series and The Freedom Class
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