Afraid of My Glory

This week has been a difficult week. I recently began to go to a very large church with a young, hip, charismatic pastor. (Normally those types of pastors make me nervous because it is all about them instead of Jesus. But my pastor is a humble man who keeps pointing us to Jesus.)

Anyway, I wrote the pastor a letter last fall about how impactful a particular sermon series was on me. We met earlier this spring for the first time and I shared a bit about my abuse and struggle to rebuild my faith.

I was stunned this week when I received a text from him asking me if he could anonymously share part of my story in his Easter message. He talked of his admiration of me and my willingness to fight a long difficult battle and endure. This man has heard thousands of stories over the years from thousands of members of his congregation. I was humbled and wrecked that he was inspired by mine enough to include it in an Easter sermon.

I had an opportunity to watch him preach the sermon early in the week. Afterward I went home and wept in my wife’s arms considering the kind things he said about me in the sermon. It is the same reaction I have when my counselor says kind things about me. I usually have a panic attack and sob. I thought back to a book I read by John Eldredge.

In his book Waking the Dead, Eldredge says: “Your story didn’t start with sin...and doesn’t end with sin. It ends with your glory restored. “..you are being transformed....God is restoring your glory. He is bringing you alive because the glory of God is you fully alive”.

Eldredge immediately asks: “Well, then, if this is true why don’t I see it?” He answers: “The fact that you do not see your good heart and your glory is only proof of how effective the assault has been. We don’t see ourselves clearly”.

I have been assaulted sexually and emotionally. These assaults have been brutal and effective. They spoke a narrative over me that I have believed: that I am a worthless piece of shit. I have embraced that as my core identity. Kind words from people I admire are deeply disruptive and send me into a panic attack and sobbing. Kind words cause me distress because I don’t see myself the way others see me.

Eldredge goes onto say “we fear our glory....The deepest reason we fear our own glory is that once we let others see it they will have seen the truest us, and that is nakedness indeed.”

I considered, however, that Eldredge is only partially right. I also fear my glory because it demands a new way of being. And not surprisingly Eldredge addresses that. He continued: “to begin to let it be unveiled and embrace it as true - that means the next thing God will do is ask us to live from it.”

I want to see myself the way God and other people see me. I want words of affirmation to wash over me. I want to take them in like water offered to the lips of a thirsty man. I just don’t know how to believe what God and others say of me instead of what my abusers have spoken over me. I am afraid of letting go of the way I see myself to embrace a new way of seeing myself. But I still don't really understand why.
 
Greg123
What a beautiful, faith filled, faith inspiring story!
Thank you for sharing!
Just the desire to see yourself the way God sees you is the beginning of believing it is true: you are worthy, you are loved, your presence among us is of enormous value. Your testimony to the truth of what you lived through is an inspiration to others.
It is a blessing that you have a wife into whose arms you can feel comfortable enough to cry. She is a gift to you as I am sure you are a gift to her.
Easter Blessings to you, your wife and your family.
 

UTV21

Registrant
Amen! Made me think a little about this. First I feel you here. Made me think of conflicting messages we have received through this. Anything negative is attributed to our negative feelings about ourselves and experience. When smacked across the face with something that contradicts this we start wondering if they are wrong or is it you.

Peace be with you.
 
God is glorified when we speak the truth in love. That is what you did, Greg123, when you "shared a bit about my abuse and struggle to rebuild my faith." What a beautiful story you shared with us, Greg, Thank you.

“..you are being transformed....God is restoring your glory. He is bringing you alive because the glory of God is you fully alive”. Such beautiful words!

“Peter tells us what our aim ought to be in all Christian service—'that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.' In the work of God, a work not to be done for wages but for love, the humblest labourer is admitted to a share in God's plans, and to an insight into the great purpose which God is working out. That purpose is nothing less than this: that God may be glorified.”
Andrew Murray
‘That God may be Glorified’
 
What would it mean to you if you are fully loved by God and admired by people?
To be fully loved by God and admired by people would mean the following: first of all, we ARE all fully loved by God, and when we truly understand that, we are called to be vessels of His love to minister to other people. The fact that people may admire us makes us feel good, but it is more important to obey God and act in accordance with His will, which is always to be loving to others. So that is my short answer to your question. But I am not sure it was posed to me - but there is my reply nonetheless. Peace to you and all survivors. These words I wrote are much easire to type than they are to live.
 
To be fully loved by God and admired by people would mean the following: first of all, we ARE all fully loved by God, and when we truly understand that, we are called to be vessels of His love to minister to other people. The fact that people may admire us makes us feel good, but it is more important to obey God and act in accordance with His will, which is always to be loving to others. So that is my short answer to your question. But I am not sure it was posed to me - but there is my reply nonetheless. Peace to you and all survivors. These words I wrote are much easire to type than they are to live.
I was asking because sometimes it it hard to let go of long held beliefs about ourselves, even if they cause us pain. It can be like the proverbial leap of faith to embrace and new view of ourselves. I wish you the best in your healing journey.
 

Survivormode

Registrant
Absolutely wonderful message. I too have begun going to a large church. I have not shared my story, but to hear how your fight may inspire others is a blessing . Remember, God knows you. What happened to us was nothing to be held over our heads. God see’s into our hearts and loves us for turning to him during our struggles.
 

CarbonTiger

Registrant
Thank you Greg, i'd cry there right with you my friend. This was special to read.

If nothing else prevails, love will endure it will be there until the end.

Your words and your posts mean a lot to a kid like me. I couldn't thank you enough. Ok, time to get out of bed and go for a walk around the lake.

Cheers to you, and your strength & courage!

Peace,
Ct
 
I believe that when God looks at us he ses us, whole, perfected, in glory. A consoling scripture I like for people dealing with loss is Isaiah 54: 10 to 14, or to 17.
10For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee.
11O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set thy stones in fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. 12And I will make thy pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of precious stones. 13And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
14In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.
 
@Bartimaeus thanks for the post and the scripture. I have had so many breakthroughs since I posted this. I had always thought that God lived in a perpetual state of disappointment and disgust toward me. Last month I exchanged that god for a God who feels love and tenderness toward me. I no longer have panic attacks and am able to receive compliments. There are too many other great things that have happened to write here. But reconciling with Jesus has been the best.
 
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