Here’s the bad news: you cannot overcome your sin. Especially persistent sin. But there’s good news! Not easy news, mind you, but good: Being brutally honest with yourself and with God is the first step to spiritual freedom. Guest Christy Bass Adams shares how this key opened the door to a life and ministry far beyond anything she ever imagined.
About Christy Bass Adams
Christy Bass Adams worked in education for eighteen years and now serves as the Outreach and Connections Coordinator at Fellowship Baptist Church. She is passionate about connecting people within the Body of Christ and helping fellow believers find a place to serve and grow. Her writing career includes a weekly inspirational column for Greene Publishing and regular contributions to Vinewords.net and Inspireafire.com. She has also written devotions for CBN.com, christiandevotions.us, Inkspirations, and The Secret Place (Judson Press). Speaking and sharing about her own healing journey is also a big part of her life as she teaches a weekly bible study at Humble House recovery home for women and monthly leads workshops at Honey Lake Clinic (a Christian mental health center). Her most important role, however, is that of a wife, and mother to two busy, adventurous boys. Her debut book is a devotional, Learning As I Go: Big Lessons from Little People. Her second book is a middle grades novel, Cricket and Kyle: Imagination Checkers.
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Erin: Welcome, listeners, into the deep. We’re excited that you’re joining us. I’m extra excited because we’re going to continue our interview with Christy Bass Adams. It’s just been a great conversation so far, and there is more to come, so we’re going to jump right in.
Erin: My favorite thing, Christy, about your healing process is that this core lie that almost started it all, “If anyone really knew me, they wouldn’t love me,” you actually had to overcome that.
If we were writing a novel about your life, that would be the climax where it would be like, “Okay, now she’s faced with having to confront that lie and overcome it.” That’s what God had you do when you wrote your testimony, when you wrote that book.
You’re right that maybe God will use it and maybe it’ll be published, or maybe it won’t be. The issue was that writing the book was your climax of your story in terms of this particular chapter of your life. You faced that deepest fear and God helped you overcome that. And man, it opened up not just healing for you, but healing for others as you talk about it.
I’m amazed by that. I think that’s very cool.
Karen: I think something you said there, Erin, is key and we need to focus on that. We don’t overcome our sin, especially habitual sin. We cannot overcome it, but the act of surrendering and placing it in God’s hands and then taking it back and placing it in his hands again, that’s key. God is the one who overcomes by continually drawing us into truth and drawing us into those uncomfortable places.
I was a habitual liar when I was younger. I mean fantasy worlds. I’ve been a writer since I could speak, in essence, writing fiction, telling stories, and I always embellished. That expanded into just flat out lying when I was an older teen and then on into college to the point that I would falsify the hours that I was working on work study.
I’d just nudge it a little here and there so that I would make more money. I love the people that God has placed in our lives to confront us. At the moment that they confront us, at the moment that a friend of mine confronted me when she realized what was happening and told me it had to stop and told me that either I would tell our boss or she would, and inside of me…the worst thing that could happen was that anybody would know that I wasn’t perfect.
I mean, I know you two are surprised by that, but…
Christy: I would like to piggyback off of that because I feel like confrontation is the biggest way we can love somebody.
Christy: Especially when we have that relationship. I have women now that God has placed underneath of me in a ministry. I’m on staff at our church as an outreach and connections coordinator, and part of that umbrella that I’m in charge of is our women’s ministry.
God has given me the opportunity to sit down with so many women, and they’ll start sharing and I’ll go, “Time out. That’s not okay. That is the separation. That’s why you are not growing in Christ. It’s because you’re living in sin, and it opens the door.”
And I always share my story. If we’re in a big group, small group, I’ll be the first one to throw myself under the bus and say, “Hey, this is where I was and this is what God did. This is what Satan wanted, and this is what God has been able to do.”
I’m so grateful that he gave me the courage and the boldness, and I stopped worrying about people pleasing. Now sometimes I still get scared. Even doing this, my stomach was in knots as I was getting ready for this phone call. But I recognize also that God, if he will use this—I go back to that deal every time—if he will use one thing to set somebody free, then it’s all worth putting our junk on the table.
Erin: Right. You know, I think, too, that Satan wants us isolated so nobody can confront us.
Erin: The more we’re isolated, the more we don’t have those people around us. You writers out there, get truth-tellers in your life. Get somebody who’s willing to confront you. Find a small group, find a writer’s group, somebody.
Pray for it if you don’t have it now. This might be one of those dangerous prayers, praying somebody will confront me for all my bad stuff.
Christy: For one that saves your life.
Karen: That’s exactly what we need. We need dangerous prayers. Remember in Narnia how they say, “Aslan isn’t safe, but he’s good, I tell you. Completely good.”
God is not safe. You pray dangerous prayers, and he will take you at your word, like you said, Christy. And in the process of taking us at our word, he heals us. He sets us free. He gives us life beyond anything we could possibly have imagined when we were so busy hiding.
Erin: Right. One thing I want to just go back and touch on, you had said that part of your issue was that you were not being satisfied by Christ. You did not find your satisfaction in him. I’m assuming that this process has changed that, but talk a little about how you find that satisfaction in him now. Are there practices that help you do that or something?
Christy: Well, I think I need to kind of say what I was living for was for “the stuff.” I was living for the things of Christ and not for Christ. For example, we get wrapped up in church and we do the things. We sing in the choir, we lead the study, we go and serve, and we set up the tables.
We do all the “things.” We do all the things that are Christlike in our eyes, but we leave Christ out of the middle of it. So much of what we do for Christ could be done without him at all. And if we’re not dependent upon the Holy Spirit, then we’re wasting our efforts.
Christy: What God really did through this process was I was one of those smart aleck know-it-alls about Scripture. Bible trivia? I won everything. Sword drills. I was very proud of that fact. But what God did through this whole journey was he brought me back to Scripture and he showed me, “Hey, listen, you’ve got this stuff in your head. You need it in your heart.”
Hours and hours I would spend on my front porch, reading out of the Psalms and weeping, going, “God, I do have an unclean heart. Please create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit.” I prayed the words of King David in Psalm 51 and so many others.
I’d read, “My enemies are chasing after me,” and I would go in there and I would put a line through enemies and put sin, my selfishness. Whatever I was struggling with at that time, I would go back and actually write it down and mark it in my Bible.
Another big piece during this whole season, this last decade especially, but the past thirteen years of being on the other side of addiction is that God has really drawn me to him through writing in my journal.
So many of the words that I write, nobody else will ever see. It’s between me and that audience of One. It’s God dealing with my heart. I can be angry or frustrated and not know why, and I can sit down and get my pen, and I can pray, “God, show me what it is that’s going on.” I’ll start writing through it, and I’ll have that epiphany moment and go, “Oh, that’s it!”
Then I can spend that time in prayer. That’s another piece is the prayer. Spending time in the word, journaling, praying deeply. Not just, “Dear God, thank you for this day. Forgive me.”
But instead saying, “God, I am so broken. I’m hurting today. I messed up. I said this. I hurt this person. God, I was angry at my kids for no reason, and I took it out on them. God forgive me.” Being very specific in our prayers.
Then, you know, there was even a time that—I like to tell people this because I grew up in church and I knew God—but I said, “God, I don’t love you.” This was recently, in the last 10 years.
I said, “God, I don’t love you and I don’t trust you. I’ve said it my whole life, but I really need to love you and I want to trust you, and I need you to show me who you are. Show me your character, because I’ve been paying you lip service and I wanna really know you.”
And he did that. He has been showing me his character. He’s been showing me who he is. He’s been breaking me. I thought he’d broken me of all my pride and then, yeah, laugh, laugh. We never get broken of it all. There’s always more pride in there.
But in 2019, my husband got diagnosed with cancer. For a whole year we went through cancer treatments. Well, here’s the ironic part. I was at my busiest season with work.
I was teaching between two colleges. I taught teachers how to teach. I had joined our staff at church part-time. We had just ordered the trusses for our house because we are doing the work ourselves. We are in year number six doing everything, with help from friends, of course.
But with my husband going through treatments, it was like he had the flu all year. God humbled me to a place where I had to ask for help and let that pride fall. But through it, God brought friends and family that I did not know would rally around us. Blessings in disguise all throughout the whole season from 2019 to now. And again, he keeps breaking that pride again and again and again.
And he’s brought people. That’s another piece of the puzzle: surrounding ourselves with people that will confront us, love us, hold us accountable. They’ll call us out on the carpet and go, “Hey, listen, you gotta work on this.”
But it’s only because I’ve invited that accountability. If we don’t invite accountability, it doesn’t just show up knocking at the door. We have to be somebody who others can be accountable to, and we can be accountable to them. That’s another piece of that growing puzzle that I always want to tell people. We don’t heal by ourselves.
Erin: Yeah. You know, one of the themes that I’m hearing from you is brutal honesty.
Erin: I mean, if we want to know how to get closer to God, it’s called brutal honesty. We can admit, or have to admit, “I don’t love you, God. Help me.”
He knows. It’s not a secret. But I think that that kind of honesty is what opens the path to a deeper relationship with him.
Karen: Well, it’s like any relationship. If you’re having struggles in your relationship with a spouse or a sibling or a friend, you can’t restore the relationship until you’re honest. Until you share what’s going on. And then restoration can begin. It takes a long time and it’s a process, but if we just continually stuff things inside, it will fester and it will completely destroy the relationship.
It’s like that with God. The thing is he knows. He knows exactly what we’re stuffing. If we think we’re hiding it from him, we’re just dumb. He knows exactly what is in there and festering, and so he brings the people who are necessary. He brings situations, events, readings, everything that we need to be able to release it and surrender it so that it can be excised and we can start to heal.
But we can’t do it until we’re honest with him.
Erin: Right. So, Christy, one more thing before we wrap up here. Do you have anything else that you would want to say to the writer out there who is afraid, who is struggling with fear in this? They want to make this step that you did, but they can’t bring themselves to do it?
Christy: I think I would tell that writer that you gotta start with ditching the excuses. We make a lot of excuses. We need to change the things that we tell ourselves. “I’ve always been a this,” or “I’ve never been able to finish,” or “I’ve always been a procrastinator.” But changing the way that we think and going, “You know what? Yeah, that might have been the pattern, but I’m giving that to God,” that’s the place to start.
We need to say, “God, I don’t want to be this way anymore. I don’t want to be a procrastinator. I don’t want to make excuses. I don’t want this to be my identity.”
Because tThose excuses become our identity. And it became my identity, the rejection, the “I can’t do this,” and the “I don’t have time.” I had to get serious about it and go, “All right, is this something that I want to do? Is this something God has called me to do or not? Am I gonna dink at it or am I gonna be serious about it?”
It’s really laying it down on that one-yard line going, “Am I in or not?”
If we’re in, then we go, “Okay, God. I’m gonna depend on you to show me when that time is, and then when you show me when that time is, I’ve gotta hold it sacred. If it’s thirty minutes every morning, and I gotta get up at five instead of five-thirty, then I’m gonna hold that thirty minutes sacred.
If it’s a whole day of the week, then I’ve gotta hold that time sacred. I don’t take calls. I don’t send messages…unless it’s my husband, which I need to make sure he’s okay and not bringing reptiles home or anything. Which he will. He had a snake in his truck one day, which is a whole nother thing.
As far as those excuses and that time, we really need to set that time aside. But I think the biggest piece is saying, “Okay, who am I doing this for? Am I doing this for my glory or am I doing this for God? If nobody ever read a word that I wrote, am I willing to continue putting it out there and offering it to God because he told me to do it?”
That’s when you really are satisfied. At the end of the day, I have to go, “Okay, it’s not for this person, it’s not for that person. It’s for God first. And if he chooses to put it wherever he wants to put it, I’ve put it in words and now it’s there.”
But if I never take the time to put it on paper, then God can’t have it. He can’t use it. So that’s what I would say. Just get serious and decide, am I all in or not?
Erin: Love it.
Karen: Christy, you have shared so much with us, and we’re just so grateful that you’ve been here and that you’ve allowed us into your life and into your journey, both as a writer, but more important as a believer who struggled with an habitual sin.
I want to say thank you, and I want to tell all of you listening out there, if you think that God doesn’t know what’s going on deep inside of you, you’re wrong. He knows, but the thing is, he still loves you. That lie that if people really know who I am, they wouldn’t love me? That’s just out the window with God.
He knows. He created you. He knows every single thing about you. It’s time to kick fear to the curb and just walk in boldness. Confess to him. Lay yourself in his hands, and as he did with Christy, experience the amazing restoration and the ways that God will use you for his glory.
Erin: Amen.Brutal honesty with yourself and with God is the key to freedom! @christyadams008 #ChristianWriter #amwriting Click To Tweet
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
What are the challenges of being brutally honest with God? Or with others?
BOOKS BY CHRISTY BASS ADAMS
Learning as I Go: Big Lessons from Little People by Christy Bass Adams
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