Monday, January 11, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: When your past is messy, God can still bless you!

God Bless This Hot Mess
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
– 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

I groaned in frustration as my Instagram opened.

“Again?” I asked to no one in particular.

Filling my screen was yet another picture of my friend off on some incredible adventure with the perfect pose in the perfect setting, the wind blowing perfectly through her perfect hair … it was, well, perfect.

In today’s social media world we get accustomed to seeing everyone with their beautifully filtered, seemingly picture-perfect lives and can often start feeling sorry for ourselves. Or worse, we jump on the bandwagon and spend an hour trying to capture the “perfect” selfie to post for ourselves, then spend another hour (or more!) checking our account repetitively to see how many “likes” our image has received. And if we are able to secure a comment, we’ve hit the social media jackpot. Comments like: “You look gorgeous!” / “I am so inspired by you!”/ “I wish I had your life.”

Acknowledgements like this would leave us feeling pretty satisfied with ourselves and allow us to completely forget the three hours of our life we just wasted and will never get back. Please somebody give this post a like if you can relate to any of this (just kidding!). We seem to have an addiction to making ourselves look like we have it all together. We rarely see people confessing their failures to the world on Facebook, posting unfiltered photos on “the gram.”

But our God wants us to be raw and real with Him. Romans 5:8 (NLT) tells us, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Or as I personalize this verse, “Cyndi, while you were still a hot mess I came to rescue you. I am so crazy about you! I think you are to die for.”

God didn’t wait for me to have my act together to save me; which is good, because at this point, I’m not sure that will ever really happen. He wants us to come as we are and leave the perfection up to Him, because He has perfection mastered. One of my favorite things about the the Bible book of Psalms is seeing how King David laid himself bare before God – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And God called David a man after His own heart. I don’t know about you but I would love to hear God say, “Cyndi was a woman after my own heart.”

I believe if I’m going to hear that from my Savior, I have to realize that God loves me as I am – hot mess and all – and accept myself just as I am.

I was several years into my Christian walk when God revealed to me that my desire to hide the mess of my past was robbing Him of glory and preventing others from seeing where God had brought me from. I was sitting in my office at work one day when one of my co-workers came into our office and plopped down in her chair visibly dejected and distressed. It was her day off which made it even more surprising that she was there, so I asked her if everything was okay. She said she “had a lot going on at home and just needed to get away from it for a bit.”

Then she added, “But you wouldn’t understand because you’ve got your life together.”

In that moment, God spoke so clearly to my heart. “Cyndi, if you don’t share what your life was like before you met Me, people will never know what I can do or how much I love them.”

It was in that moment that I had a full understanding of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12. So I spent the next half hour sharing with my co-worker a glimpse of what my life looked like before I turned it over in complete surrender to Jesus Christ and how He helped me shed the shame of my past and trade it for a garment of righteousness that I will continue to wear until I meet Him in Heaven.

We tend to wear our (fake) perfection like a badge of honor when, in reality, we should be boasting about our weaknesses and the big God who helps us navigate them. Next time you are tempted to put on the happy face and pretend everything is “fine”, try instead crying out to God or admitting to a friend “I’m struggling.”

By walking in truth, you will come to know the freedom Jesus was talking about when He said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NLT)

Let’s pray: Gracious God, we praise you for your love and mercy. Thank you for not requiring us to fix our failures before accepting us into your Kingdom. Help us to resist holding ourselves and others to unrealistic expectations of perfection, expectations that You never make of us. Remind us that as Your Holy Spirit works in us, You are looking for spirits that are surrendered to You, minds that are teachable and hearts that are tender to Your Word and Your will. Then give us the faith to believe You and the desire and dedication to obey. It’s in the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Author Bio:
Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him.

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways. 

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

Connect with Cyndi on Instagram: 

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