Tag Archives: confession

Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…


I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.


And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

If you’ve been following my story, you may think deciding to change careers was the hardest thing. Nope. Completing my doctorate? Close, but no. Become a spin instructor? No. Launch a ministry? Still no. The hardest thing I’ve ever done is actually something I have committed to keep doing on a very regular basis: confession. Letting someone know what my real life struggles, faults, and failures are is by far the most difficult thing I’ve done. We all know no one is perfect, but it sure feels good to pretend and is incredibly vulnerable to actually name the ways I’m not!


Sin creates a great deal of shame and shame is an incredibly powerful emotion. It’s subtle and sneaky. It quietly creates an inner dialogue of self-condemnation. Shame makes us shrink back and away from others, the isolation only increasing its power. And shame disrupts our ability to be God’s image bearers because it stunts our courage to create, which is one of the most powerful ways we are like God.


Even in our shame, God longs to be with us and relate to us. We see this in God’s response to Adam’s shame in the aftermath of sin and in Jesus incarnate. Though shame turns us away from one another, God draws us towards himself and back into relationship with others. In fact, that is the way toward healing – towards one another. And we move towards one another by sharing our stories, even the shameful ones.

Christian psychiatrist, Curt Thompson says, “The first verse of Hebrews 12¬†alludes to a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that allows us to ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’…[This] includes Christians today who know me deeply and whom I confide in personally. These are individuals whom I allow to see everything there is to see.” He points out that we have to “name things to tame things.” There is great healing available when we put words to emotions and experiences we don’t even want to acknowledge and do so in the presence of another. When I voice my shame and acknowledge my fears, faults, and failures, the community is able to point me towards God’s love for me. Thompson points out that shame can’t tolerate transparency, which means the antidote to shame is sharing anything and everything that may lead to shame, including sin.

So although confession is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it is also the most healing thing I’ve ever done. I have never vulnerably laid my shame before my cloud of witnesses and had them respond with more shame, shun me, or scorn me. Not one time. No, instead when I am vulnerable within the safety of a trusted cloud of witnesses, I am met with tender care, kindness, and gentle accountability. The fear of vulnerability is that others will reject and push you away. However, in the midst of and wake after moments of vulnerability, a well chosen cloud of witnesses draws you in.

vulnerability 2

So press into possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Risk being exposed and vulnerable within trusted community. Give yourself the opportunity to hear someone with skin and bones draw you in with great acceptance in the midst of all the shame. Allow yourself to hear them say, “I’m so sorry you are struggling with this sin. I’m here for you. I love you. I still accept you. And so does God.”

Who are your “great cloud of witnesses”? Maybe you don’t have one. Pray that God would bring those people into your life. If you do, what keeps you from being vulnerable and authentic regarding confession with them?