You Are Not the Only One - Encouragement for Today - March 25, 2020

Cindy BultemaMarch 25, 2020
You Are Not the Only One
CINDY BULTEMA

Este devocional está disponible en español

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV) 

I was talking recently with my friend Jamie after she'd had a long, disappointing Monday.

Despite her best efforts, everything went wrong. Frustrated and discouraged, she lamented that at the end of her day, while baking cookies for a sick friend — and burning half of them — she caved and inhaled a handful of the sweets.

And that’s just the beginning. After eating those cookies, Jamie carried immense guilt and shame on top of everything else that had gone wrong on that horrible, rotten, no-good day.

I have been there. My guess is you have, too.

Once, when my kids were little, I came up with the brilliant idea to invite all the fourth grade moms from my son’s school over for coffee, conversation and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

It seemed like a good idea, but my plan to win friends and influence people through chocolate quickly crumbled. While trying to roll store-bought dough onto cookie sheets and frantically hiding all our clutter — I gave in and ate (more like “sucked down”) four ooey, gooey warm and chewy cookies.

Later that week, I sunk into my therapist’s couch and cried. I was disgusted with myself and filled with self-loathing and shame. Why? Because of the cookies. I was sick of pretending to have it all together when the reality was, I was hanging on by a thread — a thin thread at that.

In my longing for connection and acceptance, I tried to numb my feelings with homemade cookies. And afterward, what did I do? I let the enemy weigh me down with lies, guilt and shame.

My therapist nodded. “Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten homemade cookies?”

“But I ate four cookies. Not one, not two, but four,” I roared, as if she couldn’t understand the meaning of the number four.

“Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten FOUR of her homemade cookies?” my therapist replied.

“Um, yeah, probably not.”

So, when I listened to my friend Jamie describe her self-loathing over eating her chocolate chip cookies, I recycled my therapist’s question.

“Jamie, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten homemade cookies? Because, friend, you are not the only one.”

And the words I gave Jamie are the words I want to give you: You are not the only one.

  • You are not the only one who deviated from your healthy eating plan.
  • You are not the only one who feels disappointed, discouraged or overwhelmed.
  • You are not the only one who wonders if you're “enough” compared to airbrushed perfection.

Obviously, we know there are far more serious issues that can cause shame or guilt or lead one to land on a therapist’s couch. (As a former cocaine addict, believe me, I know.) But no matter what sin you’ve committed, you are the one Jesus loves!

Sweet friend, you and I aren’t meant to live under harsh judgment, condemnation and self-loathing.

Thankfully, God's Word speaks Truth to you, me, and cookie-lovers everywhere. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Jesus convicts us, but He never condemns. In Him, we are forgiven and free. No guilt. No shame. No more wallowing in what He has washed clean.

And when we understand God is FOR us and loves us no matter what, we can give the same grace to ourselves that we extend to our friends.

We would never say to a friend who over-indulged on something, “You stink. You have no self-control. You're a disgrace.”

So why do we allow such horrible, garbage thoughts to fill our heads?!

Let’s choose grace over guilt.

Let’s choose kindness over criticism.

Let’s choose Truth over lies.

Let’s choose God's love over self-loathing.

Whether your challenge is cookies, cocktails, credit cards, or cravings for other worldly substitutes, may the God who made you, knows you, and is for you, remind you that you are accepted, enough and loved — cookie crumbs and all!

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your great and lavish love for me through Your Son, Jesus. Please help me to experience Your grace, even when I make mistakes. I want to live in Your freedom and fullness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

Psalm 23:6a, “Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life …” (AMP)

RELATED RESOURCES:
The one in your mirror and those closest to you need constant reminders of Truth. Read, wear or share one of the beautiful items available through the GEMS Girls' Clubs “LOVED.” line! Check it out here.

Know your true identity in Christ so you can live the Truth behind it. Get your free “A to Z Truth-Filled Identity List” available for download from the GEMS Girls' Clubs website when you subscribe to the newsletter here.

CONNECT:
You can learn more about GEMS Girls’ Clubs here, reaching girls everywhere with the message of God's love!

Enter to WIN a free year subscription of SHINE brightly (for girls ages 9-14) or Sparkle magazine (for girls ages 6-8) from GEMS Girls’ Clubs. Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, March 30.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what area are you struggling with feeling like you are the only one? Identify it, and ask God to help you see what He sees. In Christ, you are the one who is forgiven and loved!

Cindy Bultema is the executive director of GEMS Girls’ Clubs and has served in ministry for over 20 years. She is passionate about reaching girls and women with the life-changing message of Jesus. Cindy lives in West Michigan with her husband and their four children. When she’s not running her full household, you can find Cindy walking her two dogs, meeting a friend for coffee, attending her son’s hockey games, or trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

© 2020 by Cindy Bultema for GEMS Girls’ Clubs. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks GEMS Girls’ Club for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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