People often ask me what my “favorite” Bible verse is, or what is my “life verse”. I always have trouble answering that because I have a different verse for different seasons of my life. Verses will worm their way into my life and pop up at every occasion. I’ll start seeing the same verse be in multiple devotionals that I read one week, a friend will send me this verse, my pastor will preach on it, a song I sing will be based off it, and more. It will be, as I like to say, “on repeat”. That’s often how God gets my attention and how I know that it is more than a passing coincidence; it’s a verse that is specifically delivered inside the realm of my attentions to speak to me.
When I was in my first several years of being a teenager, the verse that was on repeat for me was Proverbs 31:25.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”
It spoke to me because I was going through the process of learning who I was. I was reminded of how God clothed Adam and Eve in the garden in the height of their shame, and I learned that no matter how deeply entrenched in shame I was, I had the same God as Adam and Eve, who clothed me in the midst of my shame. I didn’t have to try to put on strength and dignity by myself; I could never muster up a brave enough face to do so. There would always come a point where I would crack, where my facade would shrivel up, and I would be left vulnerable if I tried to clothe myself. But with God clothing me, strength and dignity were tailor-made.
Laughing without fear of the future was another thing that seemed out of my reach. I was so afraid: afraid of rejection, afraid of not measuring up, afraid of never being good enough, afraid of being alone and not relatable. Laughing (and joy in general) seemed unattainable. There would always be something looming overhead, a dark cloud that rained anxiety down on me. A genuine smile was rare. But when I learned that God had taken my heaviness and replaced it with garments of praise, when I learned that He had clothed me in strength and dignity and I could hold my head high above all my oppressors, when I learned I was washed clean and covered in the blood of Jesus, THAT is when I realized there was no need to fear the future. That fear had gone because Jesus had purchased my past! There was nothing in my past that the enemy had permission to hold against me, because it was all nailed to the cross. I had no reason to fear rejection or anything else from what I had done, because Jesus took it off me and upon Himself.
“To revisit our past, apart from the blood of Jesus, is to welcome deception in that we are visiting something that no longer exists.” -Bill Johnson
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