John 10:10 The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Think about that verse for a moment. If we can really really grab a hold of that, it gives us a clear cut idea about where we may be being stolen from in our lives. I have had this thought meandering around in my mind for the past several months.
The enemy wants us gutted. Gutted basically means to take out the insides. In case you didn’t know, insides are usually kind of important. Profound isn’t it? I mean, for a thought to be in your mind for several months, you would at least hope that it sounded somewhat scholarly or something. Maybe I should explain a little more.
He wants to rip the heart out of things. Your marriage? Oh yeah, definitely. Your family? For sure. Your friendships? He is more than happy to do that. Your relationship with God? Turn it into a tidy religion that consists of do’s and don’t’s and the passion is ripped right out. You? Oh yeah, most definitely.
You see, you are created uniquely beautiful by God. What is true is that God created you and not only that, He DESIGNED you. Designed means purpose, planning, or intention that exists behind an action, fact, or material object. When He designed you, He had intentions toward and plans for you. He created you with a unique purpose in mind and to play a part in His master story. You have his imprint on who you are. You are created in His image.
Yeah, the sin nature is attached to us and we have broken parts, but that is not WHO we are. Those ugly things are attached to us and that’s what He wants to free us from. When we come to Him, He gives us a new nature and begins to restore those broken and ugly places. When that happens, we begin to function as we were designed to – free of sin and restored. The enemy wants us to believe that the sum total of us is our sin nature and the sin we’ve been or are entangled in. Nothing could be furthur from the truth, but when we believe that, we stay stuck.
Sometimes we even cling to the sin that is working to gut us rather than the One Who can free us and give us life to the full. When you look at it that way, it makes no sense. When we’re clinging to sin, we can’t really be clinging to Him. I John 3:8 says, “But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. God wants to destroy the works of the devil because they gut His beloved creation. The works of the devil are destructive – always. They will never bring life and they always begin with a lie. That’s how it started with Adam and Eve.
Here is the thing – the end result of sin is always a hollowing out or a gutting. Adultery kills the heart of the marriage. Lying kills trust in a relationship. Gossiping separates a friendship. Angry outbursts kill the safety in a relationship. Bad attitudes, hatred, arrogance, fear, harshness – all of it guts us and/or the people around us. Go ahead, think of some on your own. It’s startling really and gives so much clarity. It doesn’t have to just be sin though. Sometimes other things will hollow out relationships and our life.
Busyness takes the place of those things that are really important. Perhaps that is the point of the Sabbath. We need rest to be able to function well and be in touch with our heart, God and those around us. If the treadmill never stops, we will wear out. Oh yeah, our body may keep doing what it’s supposed to and we may even get everything done that we’re supposed to. In fact, we may even be applauded, but I can guarantee that our heart will suffer. Our insides will wear out. We’ll lose our passion and our heart will be ripped right out of what we’re doing. Some refer to this as burnout.
Social media, phones, t.v. can suck the life right out of us when we do those things at the expense of truly relating or drown ourselves in that so that we don’t have to deal with what’s really happpening inside. Are you seeing this? I almost picture it as if the enemy wants to rip the color right out of our lives. When I think of this, I think of a blighted town. A ghost town that is only a shadow of what it once was. The life is gone, the laughter is gone and along with all of that, the beauty has gone. All that is left is a haunting emptiness of what used to be and what could have been.
He takes our songs, he takes our creativity, he takes our relationships, he takes our joy. That’s what he does. What are some things you used to do? Is your piano a bit dusty? Are your paints all dried up? Is your journal empty? Is your Bible a bit neglected? Are you tired and worn out? Is your energy gone? Does life feel mundane? Have you lost your spark and your hope? Are your relationships dead? Friend, there may be a gutting taking place.
He wants our marriages a shadow of what God intended. He wants our families to be void of life and not able to relate on a heart level or not wanting to be together at all. He wants our friendships surfacy. He wants our relationship with God superficial. He wants us to be so out of touch with who we really are that we don’t even know what’s going on inside of us. We can get a little plastic or superficial.
I find it so interesting talking to people about this. One told me that as God has restored her heart, she has started to write again. I found the very same thing myself. I used to write all the time, but then life got hard, I kept going. It got busy, I kept going. It got painful, I kept going. It got disappointing, I kept going. It got confusing, I kept going. Along the way I began to close off the feeling places because sometimes numb is a little safer. I kept burying, burying and burying. Your life doesn’t have to be insanely hard for a slow gutting to take place. It just kind of has to be life. A hurt there, a death here, a disappointment, a betrayal, misunderstandings, insecurity, exhaustion in a season of life. You know, the regular stuff that all piled up and not dealt with can make a bit of a mess. I dealt with some things, but so many things were easy to just not think about while I thought about the things I was busy with. Especially the small things – those are easy to push to the back burner. I was getting gutted. I quit writing. I quit doing things I loved. I didn’t mean to, plan to or notice, it just kind of happened.
And then – I stopped. I slowed down and let God do the healing He needed to do. I let Him go deep to those places I didn’t want to deal with. I brought Him my whole mess of a closet that had looked so tidy when the doors were closed. Once busyness wasn’t there holding the doors closed for me, they started bulging and stuff started falling out. God was there sorting with me, changing my perspective, healing my heart and showing me His and do you know what began to happen? I started writing. I started doing things I loved. I woke up ready for the day no longer exhausted. Small things weren’t so overwhelming. He gave me my joy back. He restored so much! If it sounds a little like George in “It’s a Wonderful Life” well, I was thinking the same thing.
That little phrase, the enemy wants us gutted, has brought so much clarity to my life. It helps me know how to pray, how to process things in my own life and how to help my kids process their lives. It helps me to not to take things the wrong way (John loves that one) It helps me to recognize that to believe a lie has big consequences. A gutting always starts with a lie – a lie about myself, a lie about another, a lie about God, a lie about how God sees me.
Not only that, but it helps me to watch my words because I’ve noticed how more often than I would like, my words don’t bring life, but work to gut those around me with a snide remark or a tone of voice. I don’t want any part of that. I want to take part in restoring the lives that God has so beautifully created and have no interest in the enemy using my mouth or my actions to destroy or gut someone. When I filter life through that, I am able to go to God when there is something that is threatening to ‘gut me’ and ask Him to heal that place and speak His truth.
Friend, is there something in your life that is gutting or has gutted you? Are you needing Him to restore a place that was taken? Is there something you loved that was a part of you that you put away? Are you exhausted? Are you discouraged? Are you fearful? Have you retreated? How is your marriage? How is your family? How are your friendships? Do you have any? Are you still able to cry and feel deeply?
If you see yourself in any of this, then it is time to pray to the One Who restores. Sometimes (well, a lot of times) it’s a process, but it’s well worth it. Let Him go to those places in your heart that you have closed off. He knows what to do. He can restore what the enemy has taken from you. If you have given your life to God, those places aren’t his (the enemy’s) because you are His. The God who designed and created you surely knows how to restore any place in your heart that needs restoring.
Father, Thank You that You see and You know. You know the things that I have lost or let go of. You know who you have created me to be. You know the things that You put in me from the beginning. Please forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy who deceives and destroys rather than the truth of You Who loves and restores. I choose to believe You and Your Word. Please restore my heart, heal the brokenness and help me to walk in complete freedom and full of life.