27 Crash

We all come into this world helpless as infants. We grow yet we are still naïve. As children we trust those who care for us. We continue to grow and develop throughout our childhood yet we retain some of our infant helplessness. Then, as we grown into adolescents, we begin to resent parental intrusions into our lives, yet we continue to feel deeply dependent upon them. The development continues into adulthood where we learn independence, move away from home and make a life of our own.

Somewhere in this process we experience “crashes”—a “crash” is a profoundly negative event that marks us. What was your crash? Some may have experienced many crashes. A “crash” shakes us to our core and can make us wonder if God even exists. My primary crash was the death of my mother when I was eight and a half years old. I believed in God when I was a child, and I heard about His love, but I doubted that He really loved me.

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job to his wife, from Job 2:10.

Job believed in God. According to Job 1:1, “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job made the above statement after he lost almost everything he had, including his health. After some time with his friends, Job’s thoughts about God seemed to have changed. “’I cry out to You, O God, but You do not answer; I stand up, but You merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of Your hand You attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; You toss me about in the storm. I know You will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.’” Job 30:20-23. Job’s view of God was affected by his circumstances.

We tend to question God after a crash. “Why me?” we ask, “Why now? How could You have let this happen to me?” When push comes to shove, God is the big target for our blame.

What is the basis for our faith in God? Is it the circumstances of our life, or His Word? Yes, circumstances affect us. Stoicism, ignoring our emotions or closing ourselves off to them actually worsen our problems. Rather, we need to base our faith on the Word of God even in the midst of crashes and the resulting pain and suffering.

How can we still believe in God when He allows us to experience crashes? Some “crashes” are blatantly evil (such as the shootings at the opening of the “Batman” movie in Aurora, Colorado). The news shows us daily the evil in this world. We need the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to keep believing in God. “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). As Lord, He is in control and in control for our good.

Finding faith in Him,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

     Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received                                    so that others can better see.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/


26 Identity

To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:5-6  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.  Amen.  Revelation 22:21 (the last verse of the Bible)

We need to claim our new identity in Christ.  In our perfectionistic tendencies and self-idealism we act out of the old-self (cf. Romans 6).  The old self’s identity is based on pride and shame.  Having accepted our wounding and sin as a part of our identity we now need to let go of it and find our new identity fully in Christ’s love.

What is this new-self?  According to the three verses above, in this new identity we are: 1) Loved by Jesus; 2) Free from sin; 3) Part of God’s kingdom; 4) Priests in service to God; 5) God’s people.

Let’s focus on the first point because Jesus’ love for us directly challenges our pride and shame.  In Jesus we have no place for pride because He bought us with His blood.  We did not earn our salvation.  Also, in Jesus, we have no place for shame.  We are forgiven and forgive others because we are restored to right relationship with God.  Free of these tyrannies we can experience Jesus’ love.

The hope we have before us in heaven is full reconciliation.  We get glimpses of this when we relate to safe people who are in the process of finding the power in God’s redemptive grace.  Past sins against us actually hold no power to mark or define us because we belong to Jesus.  It is only when we agree with the deception of our enemy that he has any power over us.

We find freedom from pride and shame through the power of the blood.  Spiritual reality holds that if we believe in Jesus and ask Him to cleanse us, He has.  This truth, even though it may not be a daily experience, can still be found in our daily lives through the process of sanctification which is God’s work in us

In summary, our shame-based identity leads to feelings of shame.  Likewise, our pride feeds the pride-based identity.  In letting go of pride and shame, we find an empty hole in our hearts.  To fill this hole, we need a new identity which is love-based and only found in Christ.

Even if you do not feel loved by Jesus, you are dearly loved by Him!  Learn to think in terms of being loved.  This requires faith.  Exercise your faith as you would your body.  Meditate on Jesus’ love for you rather than how amazingly good you are or what a miserable failure you are.  Pride and shame are destined for corruption, but God’s love will abide forever!

Receiving His faithful love,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

     Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received                                    so that others can better see.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/


25 Self-Idealism

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evil-doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14

In our pride we think highly of ourselves.  We consider ourselves capable of great feats.  We can even develop a superman complex and be in awe of ourselves.  We relate to Peter Pan when he says, “Oh, the wonder of me!”  If not checked we revel in our self-idealism.  Self-idealism is idolatrous, narcissistic and grandiose.  Self-idealism feeds on perfectionism and, in turn, perfectionism feeds on self-idealism.

When we believe the lies perfectionism espouses, we open ourselves to idealizing self.  In order to maintain our perfectionism, we need to believe ourselves to be superhuman.  We deceive ourselves into believing we are way more capable than we really are.  Humility requires an accurate appraisal of oneself.

What are some reveries we have about ourselves?  Ones where we think we have the right idea for ourselves and for others.  “Why don’t they just do the right thing?” we ask, “Can’t they see that speck in their eye?!  Oh, yes, they might not be able to see it for the log in my eye that is in the way.”  Let’s remove the log so we might see clearly and help each other with the specks. (Matthew 7:5)

I wonder if we realize how much perfectionism affects us on a daily basis.  Perfectionism involves denial.  We need to let go of our denial.  Owning our self-idealism helps us let go of it.

I confess my self-idealism.  I have been aware of it for many years, yet I still hold on to it.  I need to follow my own advice.  God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Choosing to own and let go,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

     Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received                                    so that others can better see.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/

PS  In case you cannot relate to the above, either you do not have self-idealism or perhaps you are in profound denial (?).  Okay, seriously now, open your heart and listen to God.  Is the Spirit pointing out any self-idealism?  If not, please pray for us who struggle with it.  Thank you!


24 Pride

Last post showed how the performance trap feeds our pride.  We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  In humility, we need to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).  We have inflated egos.  We think we are capable of great feats.  We are capable of many things.  God’s works are wonderful.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27).  In addition, we are able to learn and adapt in our circumstances.  Furthermore, we experience mastery over many of the issues of life.  The fact that you can read this sentence and understand it shows your ability to learn and think.

However, our abilities have limitations.  We are finite creatures.  We do not like to admit our limitations.  We prefer to think of what we can do rather than what we cannot do.  We feel a need to prove ourselves, then, because we are fighting our shame.  We do not like feelings of shame.  Shame feels shaming.  It is painful.  We strive to get rid of these negative feelings.  We use pride to battle shame.

Pride, however, is the flip side of shame.  Shame says we are dreadful.  Pride says we are superior.  In reality, the coin has no power to define us.  We are sinners saved by grace.  We are now saints, but this is God’s work in us, not our own doing (Philippians 2:13).

God warns us against pride:

[The Lord] mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.  Proverbs 3:34

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.   James 4:6, I Peter 5:5

Humility differs greatly from shame.  Shame says we are awful.  Humility says we are human like everyone else; that is, we sin and make mistakes.  Shame wallows in how poorly we have treated others.  Humility acknowledges the ways we have hurt others and repents of those things.  Shame rejects grace as too kind, too considerate.  Humility accepts grace as a gift.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.  I Peter 5:6 (also James 4:10)

Letting go of pride and shame; learning to embrace humility,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

     Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received                                    so that others can better see.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/


23 Performance Trap

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”  Matthew 6:1

Rules flow out of fear.  The rules may issue out of fears, such as:  fear of failure, fear of being punished or even out of fear of losing praise.  By our rules we try to avoid bad things.  By our good performance we try to create good things.  We think that if we do the right thing at the right time, good will result.  We seek to obey all the rules and do all the right things.  Sometimes this even works!

Positive results reinforce our performance and striving behavior.  If we crave praise and diligently seek it, we find ourselves in The Performance Trap.

Jesus calls us to obey Him rather than our man made rules.  Valuing what people say about us more than what God says about us makes an idol out of human praise.  You may think receiving praise is harmless, but consider how you allow it to control you.  What are some things you have done today solely because someone else thought you should do it rather than doing it because it was on your task list for the day?  Do you run after praise?

You may be thinking, “But, I’m supposed to try to please others.”  Why?  Who says?  What will happen if you don’t?  Are you obeying Jesus in your people-pleasing behavior?  “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

Where is your emotional investment, earthly treasure or heavenly treasure?  I am speaking of praise as a type of treasure.  “’Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Let go of performing for others.  What is God saying to you about your motivations?  Choose to live for Him and His glory rather than for your own glory.

Learning to live for the Master,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

     Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received                                    so that others can better see.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/