I walked on air for three days after I gave my life to Christ, but came crashing down to earth when I heard these words: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me!” I wrote pages and pages of things that I put before God in my life. I think that my whole journey in Christ has been about eliminating those gods, with God leading me step by step into healing or discarding them—out of my life!!!
“Gobs of gods” was the title for my list. It was over three pages long and went from a sugar addiction to complaints about my mother to judgments I am prone to make to everything else I put between me and God. I am talking about my attachments, like my attachment to other people’s opinions about me—how I dress, what I am doing, how I should be and so much more. I think my greatest sin is that I project onto other people what I don’t like to think about myself. This has meant that I can’t feel God’s love for me, much less actually experience it.
It took me three weeks to acknowledge all that stood between me and God and most of them added up to this one: I was totally outer-oriented and self-centered. And predictably, it was all about me—my hurts, my needs, my wishes: anger, blaming others, comfort, sleep, arrogance, unworthiness, false pride, pride, putting down others, evasions, shutting out others, certainty of the future, living in the past, hating myself, vanity, looking good, clothes, anxiety, candy, money, sewing, children, husband, my way, frustrations, wasting time, undervaluing, sainthood. Candy is on the list because I have a sugar addiction. The last thirty-five+ years of my life have been about God working on this list with me; layer by layer each issue has been addressed. And yet there is still so much to do.
As I have followed the Spirit’s lead in addressing these issues, I have experienced so much healing and freedom from guilt and shame, the ability to love people as they are, and finally, to love myself just as I am. I am so grateful to God for all the healing He has wrought in my life. It’s been an amazing journey. Here is a quote from my journal in the early 1980’s: “It’s like standing at a large and very dirty window all your life—so dirty it is really translucent—and you can see light but not distinguish anything about it, nor does it really touch you; its glow is so diffuse. And then you find the formula that cleans the window and you clean a small circle so that the light shines through that one circle of glass. To keep the newly sparkling glass clear takes much work while you’re also working on other areas of the glass. It takes hard, hard work, but the light increasingly brighter and larger is your reward, until finally the whole large pane is clean and through it you can see all things clearly.”
The “hard, hard work” is facing the truth about who or what are our “gods” that come between us and God. Gradually as you do this work, other things about yourself and God emerge, layer by layer. It becomes so much easier to live in truth, than to live the lies.
And more from that early journal: “What was once so difficult before surrender is so easy now. The difference is that before I had no reason to be consistent about the search(for God), no overriding desire to be a person God could take pride in, no openness to see the value of such cleansing. It’s the difference between an optional assignment and a requirement to complete the course… If you love God, you want to please Him.”
So the list grows shorter the more time I have dedicated myself to following God’s leads. Sometimes, I am shocked that the same issue has come up yet again, like my mixed feelings about my mother, but I have learned that there are layers and layers to each issue which take time, years sometimes, to address. But the burdens get lighter and lighter; and the freedom to be exactly who I am grows in me. And my life is an adventure, because I never know what God will put in my life next. I have learned from one of my readers to praise God for what He is about to do in my life and then I sit back and wait to see just what that will be. Life has been a breath-taking adventure since I’ve given up control of my life to God.
Questions to ponder over the week: What has been your experience of a conversion to loving God, moving into the mind of Christ? How has it changed your life? How closely do you listen to that “still, small voice?” What have you let go of? What have you embraced? What is calling you right now? How do you express your gratitude and willingness to God? (only respond to the questions that call you.)
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are always praying and listening to God in all that we do. May we hear and obey all that He is saying to us. May we be healed.
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I am collecting conversion stories. I am still not sure what the Lord’s intention is for collecting these, but if you would care to share yours, I would only use your initials to identify the author.