Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Repentance: my new best friend

Today's prayer prompt on the Turning the Tide! April Calendar leads me to confession. I've fallen into a common trap set for strong women who are motivated by challenge. It's a deep hole that can trip you up at various points for long periods of time on the autism journey. Beware!

"...for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me strength and power. Philippians 4:13 The Living Bible

My mom taught me self-esteem through this scripture--or at least a portion of it. Whether it was my warped listening or her incongruent circumstances of being a single parent, I mostly heard the first part: you can do all things! Abruptly cropped there, the verse became a distorted lie and my head swelled past the healthy percentile. She had me convinced I could be president of the United States if I just put my mind to it. "Mind over matter" was inflated to more than mere axiom.

So, only mildly daunted by the impossibility of conception, I entered adoptive motherhood of twins confidently. I can do anything I set my mind to. I kept marching through early intervention and autism diagnosis, I can do this, watch me. My strong-willed self-talk escalated until it approached ugly fallacies like, "my love will make the difference" and "I know better than anyone" and "I don't need help, I'm fine." Floortime, 40-hr. week intervention, team meetings, PRT, Brain Highways, GF diets, homeschooling, bring it on. I was invincible--and deluded.

I shudder to think now, how great God allowed the demands to become before I would admit the truth, even to my own husband. The raw reality was clear to us both when I finally said, "You're right. I can't do this." I had long before started calling my own shots and was far off base from things God had asked. That's not self-esteem, it's not scriptural; it's sin straight up. I had agreed and perpetuated an ugly mess of pride, self-sufficiency, idolatry, unbelief and control. As each layer of wrong thinking is revealed, the Lord has graciously led me to repentance.

Repentance is my new best friend, for without it I'd still be mired down in that trap with no way out--still trying to do the impossible...alone...or with the added weights of shame and guilt.

Repentance is a powerful punch to the enemy of our souls that's actually deceptively simple. As I come across a verse--like the one today--that I've either misinterpreted, misconstrued or missed the mark in living out, I simply turn around from what's false and agree with the truth as laid out by my loving Father in heaven.

This is amazingly similar to what Reid does at school when he missteps on one of a myriad "School Rules." They call it "turning the day around." Maybe he left the area during morning meeting. He has a chat with one of the teachers to recognize the rule and hopefully choose to turn it around. No condemnation. No permanent penalty. Just returning to life as usual with new resolve to abide by whatever rule. Let's just reason together.

Whether in the natural realm with school rules or the spiritual realm with God's stated principles, freedom begins by recognizing we got something wrong. Then turning away from that, I can agree with truth and walking increasingly toward it. It's a process made habitual by individual small steps.

For example, as I read Philippians 4:13 and realize my flawed thinking, I pray something like this repenting and agreeing with Scripture:

Lord, forgive me for thinking I can do anything without you. I repent for giving ground to pride and selfishness and control. I repent for putting other people and things (idols) in the center of my life. Thank you for offering me Jesus' help. I want to operate in His strength and power which is far superior to my own. I ran myself ragged chasing solutions and doing a million things you never asked me to do. I am so sorry for listening to so many experts before my own husband, let alone You. It went awry like confetti following the law of gravity, when I made my own rules. I need your strength and power. Thank you for the help of Christ. Help me stay close enough to you to hear only what you are asking me to do.

"...for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me strength and power. Philippians 4:13 The Living Bible

Correlated with Children of Destiny's Turning the Tide! Prayer Thrust.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool. Isaiah 1:18

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