Friday, April 29, 2011

Friendly Friday: Sober Julie

Today's Friendly Friday comes from a new Twitter friend of mine: Julie from Sober Julie Doing Life. Julie's a witty gal who has come through alcohol addiction to find God on the other side. This chick's been through a lot and is stronger for it. That's pretty awesome! She's also Canadian.

And because I love her, I'll withhold all Canadian jokes. You're welcome, Julie.

Read her post here, and then head over to Sober Julie Doing Life and show her some love over there. And don't forget to follow her on Twitter!

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Lately I’ve been having long phone calls with my sister—real, deep conversations where time slips by. Perhaps that's normal for some sisters, but this is just a reflection of how far I've come in my journey.

My sister and I have always loved one another but were worlds apart in our behavior. I lived a fast lifestyle and—to put it simply—she didn’t. I always wanted a closer relationship but had no idea how to do the work.

I had the opportunity during our conversation to talk about something that wasn't easy for me: I’ve realized that it's uncomfortable for me to know that people had been praying for me and talking about my addiction before I sought help.

I know how illogical this is. I appreciate the love and caring that was the motivation for these conversations and prayers. I speak openly about how God and his peeps were working on my program before I was. But still there's this feeling of shame. That deep, dark sinking feeling that something bad is about to happen. It's a lesser version of the shame that I felt during the days of my drinking career, but it's still there.

Through speaking with my sister, I realized I had work to do. She was awesome about it, by the way.

I will now be looking at this character defect, one that is an issue of privacy but skewed. A normal person would want privacy but be open to help from others. I was not. I honestly thought it disloyal if anyone who was close to me shared my business. There are still remnants of these feelings within me.

I refuse to live my life with shame for my past actions, and—as my sister pointed out to me—God has forgiven me, but perhaps I have not.

Hmm. That's deep and worthy of consideration and investigation.

Guess what? I couldn't find any scripture which quotes "self-forgiveness.” There are plenty dealing with forgiveness in a relationship sense between two parties, but none on the singular level. Interesting.

Maybe self-forgiveness isn't what I'm really having an issue with?

So I am beginning in Romans 3:21-26, I’ll wait while you read it.

What this says to me is that through Jesus I have been granted righteousness! His purity, his perfection, is mine. When I give up my need for perfection and truly give my life to Him, my need for self-reliance shall disappear. I cannot achieve righteousness any other way. Jesus already paid the price for me. Now I live for Him alone.

My freedom from guilt and shame is not now, nor ever will be, dependent upon my forgiving myself.  My freedom is dependent upon my knowledge of and belief in God's deep, deep forgiveness of all my sins.

So now how do I get there? To this place of understanding?

By surrendering to God's grace, which to me means prayer, confession, awareness and listening to God.

By taking action when awareness strikes, I will continue on this journey with God trusting in Him alone to guide me in His purpose for my life.

© Sober Julie, 2011

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Trusting in God is so hard sometimes and for me, is something I always have to work on.

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  2. By taking action when awareness strikes, I will continue on this journey with God trusting in Him alone to guide me in His purpose for my life.

    I don't know if this comes with age, the trust and the letting go.

    All I know is that sometimes I wish I would've found God before I made all my mistakes, but then, He says to me, "then you wouldn't be who you are."

    I love Him.

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  3. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:1. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    I used to repeat this to myself over and over. Still do sometimes. Does this speak to self forgiveness? I don't know, but it reminds me that I am a new creation too.

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  4. I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

    That a woman such as Mother Teresa would feel overwhelmed by life, gives me faith that I too, will manage in the end by trusting God.
    Love to you sweet friend :)

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  5. Hi Julie; Perhaps you may find solace in the following: Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy,and my burden is light. God is so wonderful. How can one not love Him. To sacrifice His only begotten Son. He loves us unconditionally. Never forget that.

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  6. what a great insight on self forgiveness. Thanks!

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  7. I absolutely agree so much so I wrote a post about this very thing a few weeks ago http://gracefullwomen.com/2011/04/13/grace-full-women-know-forgiving-themselves-is-not-an-issue.
    I've not found Scripture to back up self forgiveness and I have looked believe me. God's total forgiveness through Jesus Christ really is enough because the old is past away and we are new creations. Even if as Christians we left the path and followed sin for a while, which is what I did, I discovered God's forgiveness is still enough and I'm still righteous,and beloved.

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  8. This is the only (in)direct reference to self-forgiveness and it's in the context of accepting the forgiveness of God (quote is from the New Living Translation; the KJV says 'if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart' (v 20):
    I John 3 -
    18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

    When we refuse to forgive ourselves it's like we're saying that the sacrifice of Jesus wasn't enough and no, even if the God of the universe forgives us, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. How weird is that - almost like we're setting ourselves higher than God! Letting go of the guilt and the shame is directly tied with accepting and believing in His forgiveness (for each one of us personally), knowing who we are in Him - and living in gratitude.

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