• Dana L. Butler

Something’s Off (Differentiating Between Conviction and Condemnation)

Something was “off” in my heart.  

I felt it for days.  I felt distanced from the Lord.  I felt less “at peace” in my depths than I normally feel.  I think I went a whole week feeling like that.  It made my times with the Lord frustrating, made me feel like I couldn’t hear His voice clearly.  Like I had done, or was doing, something “wrong” that was the cause of the distance.  But when I’d sit and pray and journal and try to hear from the Lord what was wrong, there was zero clarity….and zero peace.  Just more of the vague feeling of “off-ness.”

Anyone out there know the feeling?  It’s pretty terrible, in my opinion.

I can’t believe I let it go on like that (off and on, but more “on” than “off”) for a whole week.

Yesterday, it all changed.  Praise GOD.  <>

I was sitting with the Lord during Isaac’s nap time…. playing my guitar, singing this song by Jonathan Helser:

Faith is rising

I am seeing

You are smiling over me

(CH)  Perfect love is filling us 

Fear is leaving; fear is fleeing

Perfect love is singing over me

Faith is rising

I am hearing

You are laughing at my enemies

I absolutely LOVE this song.  It had been on my heart and I’d been singing it all week… still with that vague “off” feeling.  And then yesterday, the “fear is leaving; fear is fleeing; perfect love….” part of the song just crashed in on my heart, and I realized that what I had been feeling was FEAR.

Fear that I was doing something wrong.  That I had impure motives somewhere and couldn’t see them.  That the distance I felt between the Lord and I was somehow my fault.

And the Father, in His perfect love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) gently reminded me:

“Condemnation is vague.  Conviction from My Spirit is specific.  Condemnation is from the enemy…. It makes you perceive distance between you and I, and can make it difficult to pinpoint what’s “wrong.”  Conviction is specific…. specific, clear, and SWEET…because it comes in the form of a tender wooing of your heart back to Me.  Remember, Dana…. Remember….  If your heart truly belongs to Me, My conviction will always be clear and precise and loving.  NEVER vague.  It will always draw your heart BACK to Me…. It will NEVER push you away.”

Oooooh, right.  Yes, Lord….  How quickly I forget!

As His mercy and freedom and joy and peace washed over my heart in those moments, the only response I could imagine was to sing my guts out to Him.  It’s semi-miraculous that I didn’t wake my sweet boy up from his nap, and that I still have a voice today. 🙂

Oh my friends….  Don’t let the enemy convince you that you can’t come boldly before the Father.  Even when we do fail and sin, His conviction is gentle and specific… and He waits with open arms to receive us as we run back into Him.  His love casts out fear.  Remember…. Remember!!  

Thank You Father!  It really is your kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). There is nothing sweeter in the world.

What about you, friends?  Do you know the feeling of “off-ness” that I spoke of?  How do you tend to respond to the Father in those times?  

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