When You Feel Like an Unredeemable Shipwreck

by Grace 12. April 2018 21:14

Today has been one of those days. 

Those days where I feel horrible... Like an unredeemable shipwreck... Like the sinner I am. When my heart is heavy with guilt and shame.

And you know what? I bet you've had those days too. Days when you can barely live with your own self. Those are long, hard days. 

Recently, I've been kind of wondering about those kinds of days. Those days when the weight of my own darkness is on my shoulders. What those mean, and what I should do in those times. I've been learning a few things and I thought I'd share them with you all. I certainly don't have an exhaustive list of what you need to do -- just what I've learned. But I hope it helps all the same.

I've found that these are the times to examine yourself by the scriptures. And I've found that these are times that we have to be deathly honest with ourselves to pursue the truth. And it's important to pray during this process and have a Bible handy (I have one on the desk with me right now!)

Get ready for a bit of intense cross examinations and multiple choice tests!!! ;)

 

Why do I feel this way? What is the cause, and who's fault is it?

Because it's somebody's fault. Believe me. Thoughts have three sources: God, the Devil, and yourself. And being that God died to take your sins away and bear that burden and grant you release, (as far as I can tell) we're left with two options...

The key here is to ask yourself why you think you're such a bad person. We'll deal with whether you are or not in a minute (by the way, it's not a flattering answer), but for now, we'll deal with why you think what you think.

 

-Devil’s attacks vs. Sin in our lives

This is a tricky question that takes a lot of processing and scripture reading to answer. Now, undoubtedly, either way you're under attack by the devil, whether you're dealing with current sin in your life or he's searching out your insecurities. Right now we're just dealing with what route he's going through.

Ask yourself. Why do you think you are a bad person? Is it because you're thinking of all of the mistakes you've made? Maybe you've received a lot of correction recently from a parent (be honest teens, we're not as grown-up as we like to think, and sometimes we... *gasp* get in some trouble...). Maybe you did something really not-so-great (please excuse my attempts not to use stronger language there) and you can't get over it. Maybe you have some habits that you think are just rather odd or gross. Maybe you feel like you just mess things up all the time and get in the way all the time. Maybe you're frustrated that your lack of confidence gets in the way of being a better friend or a better coworker. Maybe you've made someone mad recently. I could (obviously - just proved it) go on and on and on with the list.

These could very possibly attacks from the devil, but it could also very possibly be... something worse. Perhaps you've got something in your life that you really need to deal with. Something in your heart. Let's cross examine ourselves to see what it could possibly be that is troubling us.

Feelings or Knowledge?

Think for a moment. What's bothering you? Is it just the feeling of guilt and shame? Or is it a knowledge of something in your life that disturbs you? If you just feel like you're a miserable failure and an all around bad person, it could be an attack from the devil on you and your identity in Christ. If you can lay a finger on something a little more tangible (we're not talking about an action/thought difference, we're talking about vague/specific difference), it's time to take things to the next step.

Sin or Strangeness?

Now that you've perhaps identified the thing that's bothering you, hold it in light of the scriptures. Do you feel prone to making really foolish mistakes? Look at the scriptures. Is that a sin? No. (Thank God!) Is feeling dirty, tired, and stressed a sin? Look at the scriptures. No, it isn't. Do you feel like a highly unproductive person? Look at the scriptures. Is a lack of productivity a sin? Yes. God calls us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-16). The lazy man is repeatedly scorned throughout the book of Proverbs. Diligence is a highlighted virtue in the scriptures. Now, as for being down-to-earth serious with ourselves... Call everything what it is. If you look for "exceedingly tired all the time" in the Bible, you're not going to find it. But is it really just that you're tired all the time? Or is that maybe... laziness??? And that works the other way around too. Don't slide something under the title of sin because you feel horrible. It'll just make things more confusing. Examine things in the light of the Bible. Don't nitpick and misinterpret God's Word to get the results you want, expect, or feel you deserve.

 

Past or Present?


Okay, so maybe you've narrowed it down to a sin that's bothering you. Think about this sin. Is it something that is currently part of your life? Or is it in the past? And when I say in the past, I don't mean last decade. I mean last year. Last hour. Last minute. Maybe even just a few seconds ago. Think about it. If it's an action, look to see if you've been doing it consistently recently. No? That's past. Have you apologized to those you've possibly hurt? It's past. Was it a heedless accident? It's past. Have you prayed about it? It's past. You need to let go. What we're dealing with is chronic sin. We're always going to be struggling with sin. We're going to do wrong things, repent, ask forgiveness, move on. What we're specifically looking for right now though is those ugly little creatures that continuously and persistently pop their heads into our lives. Wrong thoughts are often chronic sin (not always, but often). Remember to make sure they're wrong thoughts and not attacks from the devil. Thoughts about who you are are often just the devil trying to get you down because who you are is identified by Christ as a believer. But other thoughts that don't follow the guidelines of Phillipians 4:8 are often sin.

Let's look at some things you should not do when you're dealing with the devil attacking you with insecurities in your life or using your sin to discourage you.

-Don't flatter yourself. You aren't a good person. You ARE a very bad person. Telling yourself that you're not as bad as you think is just a way of running away from the problem and trying to cover it up, and if it makes you feel better, it probably just puffed up your ego (P.S. Not a good thing).

-Don't try to 'wait it out'. If you're dealing with something, deal with it! Don't let it sit and soak in you and drain you. From personal experience, if it does 'go away', it'll come up again later in full strength.

Okay, now the things that we should do.

-Pray and read your Bible!

Pretty obvious. If it isn't, that's very possibly your problem.

-Pray and study those scriptures some more!

-Talk to someone about it!

If I'm having a seriously rough time over something, I talk to my Mom or my sister about it. They always have lots to share, and it's easier for them to see what might be going on from the outside looking in.

-Remember who you are in Christ.

If you're struggling with attacks from Satan, remember that God has washed your sins away. He took them to the cross, and they didn't last any longer than that. They're gone. Don't let them trouble you anymore. Lay them down. Jesus' sacrifice was and is sufficient. To doubt that those sins are gone, to feel that you still bear the guilt of them, is to doubt the grace and power of God to take those sins away!

-"Go and sin no more."

God has commanded us to sin no more! We are to be following in His footsteps. Are you struggling with chronic sin? Do you consistently deal with anger? Pride? Lust? Some other sin? Tell someone and ask them to pray for you and help keep you accountable. And then replace those bad thoughts with something pure and holy. Replace those wrong actions with their opposites. Jealous? Thank God for the success of the person you're envious of and pray for those who aren't as fortunate in life as yourself. Lazy? Find something useful to do! Selfish? Think of unique ways to be generous! 

-Search for things that heighten your feelings of discouragement.

Here's a list of things that cause us to be unnecessarily discouraged:

1) Lack of sleep

If you're over tired, you're going to struggle with stress.

2) Neglecting Bible reading/prayer

No-brainer! God is our Sustainer. He is the center of our lives as Christians. He's the one who took away our guilt. If we're forgetting him, we're gonna feel down.

3) Not keeping up with health

I struggle with chronic heartburn and I have a sensitive stomach. If I eat something that bothers it, it'll throw me fully off balance. This is an area that I really need to work on. If I neglect to take my vitamins, I run the risk of becoming deficient in certain things and that will throw me off.

4) Stress

Brothers and sisters, lay those burdens down! Cast your cares upon the Lord. Take heed for nothing. God has everything under control. Just let go and let God.

 

 

Okay, I hope that was of some help! Like I mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of all of the solutions. There are things that I certainly haven't addressed. This isn't a fix-it-all formula to be sure. It's just me sharing from my heart and my experiences on a bad day. ;) If you have anything to add, if there's anything on your heart, or if there's anything I can pray for you about, comment and let me know! (Or use the contact form if it's something personal. ;) Here's some random resources and verses that I thought of or looked at while I was writing this (this list is by no means exhaustive either!). Not everything is necessarily even related to the whole general topic... Sorry if I list a resource down there and you don't know why I did! Hahaha!

By the way, I commend you if you made it to the bottom of this post!

2 Corinthians 10:5

Phillipians 4:8

Eccl. 9:10

Prov. 6:11

Eph. 5:15-16

Acts 17:11

II Corinthians 13:5

Looking Higher, Reaching Farther

I Stand Redeemed - Legacy Five

As Many Times - Kingdom Heirs

Big Enough - Clark Family

Now let's hear from you!

Was this helpful to you at all? Did it make sense? Have you been dealing with feelings of guilt and shame recently? Remember, these are great times to grow in Christ! Do you have any thoughts to add? Is there something that you disagree with? Is there something I can pray about for you?

 

 

 

 

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Comments (6) -

Laura
Laura
4/13/2018 6:33:49 PM #

I really like this! I've been struggling (for a while) with somethings, and this was really encouraging. Especially the part about actually DEALING with it, not waiting it out and letting it drain you. Thanks for posting!
Laura

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Grace H.
Grace H.
4/13/2018 8:02:02 PM #

I'm so glad this was helpful to you, Laura! And yes, actually deciding to deal with it is a really hard thing to do I've found, but I've also found that the problem gets worse if you let it sit.
You're in my prayers! Keep on keepin' on!

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Grace F.
Grace F.
4/14/2018 2:44:47 PM #

Wow, thank you so much for putting this together, Grace!  I love how you got straight to the point and was brutally honest with the truth.
I went through a serious bought of discouragement a couple years ago, and I found help in all the things you mentioned.  Earlier that year, I had a crush on a young man, and it was the first time I took a crush seriously.  It was escalating quickly, and  I realized that if I didn't get a grip on it, I would seriously damage my thought life and cause myself to become so obsessed that I only thought about him.  I started praying earnestly and taking my thoughts captive.  I struggled and struggled and fought hard against the tendency to obsess.  And when I finally felt like things were improving, I started dreaming about him at night.  I was DEVASTATED.  I felt attacked because I knew I wasn't in control of my dreams.  I was trying SO HARD during the day to stay focused on God, but while I slept my mind played with me. At times I wanted to give up.  I felt as if I was being mocked.  This was a difficult time, but I learned a lot about trusting God and crying out to Him, and I gained a lot of wisdom from the people I chose to confide in.
OK, well, I said it.  This is a testimony I hesitate to share but I wanted to hopefully encourage someone.  Don't give up!  Ask God to give you strength you need.  This is one area of my life I struggled with and felt guilty about, and I had to rely on God's strength and mercy to get me through.  Again He showed He was faithful!

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Grace H.
Grace H.
4/14/2018 7:17:03 PM #

I'm glad you enjoyed this Grace! I tried to be very down to earth because that's the only way to deal with a lot of important things in life - laying everything out cold and bare.
Thank you for sharing about your struggles! Yes, it takes a lot of reliance on God and often times a lot of time and struggle to conquer things in our lives! And my mind is flooding with so many song titles that relate to this topic but instead I'll leave you with a Bible passage, which is much more effective. ;)
Ephesians 6:11-18
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints
The armour of God is SO important when it comes to spiritual warfare (which is what our struggles are!).
Thanks for sharing! Glad you like this!

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J.S. Klingemann
J.S. Klingemann
5/17/2018 11:49:56 AM #

Thanks for sharing this post, Grace! All of the things you listed are rather thought-provoking and set me thinking. It looks like I'll have to get going and "sin no more." It is amazing how hard sin likes to pull on our lives, leaving us feeling helpless (and we are). But with God's help, we can burst through the darkness and mire of sin to victory above. Thanks again for sharing this post! It was a blessing. ;)

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Grace H.
Grace H.
5/17/2018 8:29:20 PM #

Glad you enjoyed this post! So true! Sin pulls so hard on our lives and, without the Lord, we are helpless to the bonds of sin. But "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"! Yes, we can break forth from the deep darkness of sin and soar on the wings of grace and mercy into the light!
I'm glad it blessed you J.S.!

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