We all have things that hold us back.
Pain, sorrow, past mistakes, guilt, regret, family struggles, generational issues with parents and grandparents and other heartaches and stress.
What is holding you back?
I know for me, one of the things that trips me up in life – is my optimism. That might sound strange to some because that can be seen as a positive but it actually causes me to make decisions that are not always grounded in reality. Not only am I an optimist but I’m also an idealist. I tend to think that if I try just a little harder and love just a little deeper and give everyone second and third chances, that struggles and strife and hard things in life can be fixed.
And so last week, I sat on a beach in Florida, early in the morning – alone with the Lord. And I cried out to him. From the depths of my heart and struggles – I asked the Lord to just meet me there and speak. And he seemed quiet. Once again – the idealist in me thinks, if I rise early, and open God’s Word, that there will be something very special and personal that the Lord will impress on my heart.
So I opened his word and read and it was good and sweet – my time in God’s word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11) but the words on the page seemed to blur, as I began to feel guilt. Guilt for not making more time in my daily life to meet with Jesus, while at the same time feeling trapped with the busyness this season of life requires.
I share this with you because I want you to know that just because I have a Bible degree and just because I blog through the Bible – for years on end – that does not mean that when I open scripture, every single time it’s fresh and exciting. Sometimes it turns into a daily discipline rather than a sweet relationship that I am enjoying with the Lord. And the question that permeated my morning with God on the beach that day was this…
What is holding me back?
I had to ask myself, is there sin in my life?
I took a hard look at areas where I tend to compromise. I faced my own reality. I reflected on ways I sometimes isolate myself, resentments that sometimes pop up, areas where I’m too rigid or too much of a people pleaser. My weaknesses and wounds hold me back and when I reflect on past years, it seems like the same stuff trips me up over and over again. There’s a change of scenery but the same mistakes repeated, just played out in a new way.
And so that brings me to today’s reading in Psalm 130.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 130:1 & 2
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
The Psalmist is crying out to the Lord from the depths of his soul.
Do you need to cry out to the Lord today?
God loves you so much and he is safe. We can let his light shine into every dark crevice of our soul and it is safe. He is my safe place. He already knows every single thing you’ve ever done and ever will do – both right and wrong – and he loves you. God knows your fears, anxieties, struggles, and past sin. There are no secrets with him and you can trust him.
Does the past hold you back?
The rear view mirror in a car is smaller than the windshield for a reason!
We aren’t going that way – we aren’t going backwards. We are going forward.
Don’t let the past hold you back.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 130: 3 & 4
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
We are flawed and verse 3 says, if the Lord kept track of all of our sins – who could stand before him? The answer is – none of us.
But thanks be to God, he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and when we bow our knee in humility to God and repent of our sin – we are forgiven. When we die we will not face judgement but instead he will welcome us into heaven as his child.
What is holding you back?
If it is a sin in your life – repent today. Jesus will forgive you of every sin you ever committed and ever will commit.
I personally have given God a lot to forgive. But 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Satan does not want us to believe that we can be forgiven.
He wants us to stay stuck in habitual sin.
He wants to hound us about our past with regret and sorrow and pain and guilt and shame.
If the enemy is doing that to you today – sit down and write out Psalm 130. Speak to the enemies lies with truth- you are forgiven – period. And when forgiveness is properly received, verse 4 tells us that God is feared. There is a deep reverence for God, as we thank him for his mercy and grace.
Psalm 130: 5 & 6 say:
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
As I sat on the beach last week, alone with the Lord – I waited on God and as I waited, I put my hope in his word.
Are you waiting on God?
The psalmist says that like a soldier standing guard at night, waiting for the sun to come up – he waits for the Lord. He repeats this simile to show how intensely he is waiting.
God is worth waiting for. We must take the time to not only cry out to God when we are in distress – but then to be still and wait on him. Wait for him to work in your life. He hears your prayers and he is faithful.
Psalm 130:7&8 says:
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
The Psalmist turns from speaking of himself and now addresses the public. He tells Israel of God’s love and redemption and how plentiful it is. His well never runs out or runs dry. And what the Psalmist learned in his private walk with God, he now encourages others to experience as well.
Once you have experienced the forgiveness and steadfast love of the Lord – we are compelled to share it with others.
When was the last time you told someone about God’s forgiveness and love?
What is holding you back?
Life is too short to not take the time to sit and reflect and wait on the Lord. Being still and quiet in the Lord’s presence is necessary.
We cannot change, what we are not aware of.
Name the thing that is holding you back today and take it to the Lord in prayer.
Sit and reflect (and repent if it is a sin). Our God is a God who changes lives! His word is living and active and will not return void. Trust in him and always remember – Jesus loves you.
This life will soon pass – only what is done for God will last.
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