The Storm Inside: An Interview with Sheila Walsh
By Beth Patch
CBN.com - Sheila Walsh's roots sink deep here at the Christian Broadcasting Network as she formerly co-hosted The 700 Club and Heart to Heart programs. She is now a best-selling author, powerful Bible teacher, and featured speaker with Women of Faith conferences.
In her latest book, The Storm Inside, Sheila identifies ten of life's common issues that bring chaos into our lives and shows how knowing God's truth for those circumstances can transform personal darkness into light. She spoke with CBN.com Internet Producer, Beth Patch, about her book.
The subtitle of your book is "Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are". We all know what our chaos is. How do we get to the truth of who we are?
"I think that on any given day, any of us will find ourselves somewhere on the continuum between everyday chaos and crisis. Whether it's you've lost your car keys or something really devastating, some kind of crisis. So my heart was to really study scripture to know, 'Lord, these things are obviously not new to us; all of the things that we're dealing with are not new to us. So how through scripture, how did you teach people how to learn and move on from these places?' Because I think one of the biggest things within the Christian community is sometimes we miss the point. I mean, the whole act of coming into faith is receiving forgiveness, because Christ took our sin on Himself; but then we act the rest of our lives as if we'd never had any [forgiveness], and we feel like we have to disguise that and hide it from people. But the truth is that we're not the good news; Jesus is."
"So if we're not the good news we get to tell what's true. I've found in my own life that your brokenness is a far greater bridge to other people than pretend wholeness ever is. It just takes one person to speak up and say, 'Here's what I'm dealing with' to discover that there's probably a quarter of the room is dealing with the same thing. It's when you're able to shine the light of truth on it that somehow the enemy loses his grip. As long as he makes you feel you're the only one, and you'd better keep it hidden or you'll be voted of the island, then he's got you in a place where he wants you. And to me, it's the great joy of turning the tables on him and saying, 'You know what? God already knows all this stuff. Christ already paid for it.' And when he tries to remind you of your past, just remind him of his future. It ain't looking good."
In your chapter regarding unforgiveness, you say that unforgiveness equals rebellion.
"That sounds strong. That sounds like a strong statement, but I really believe if we refuse to forgive ourselves or others, we've placed ourselves in direct rebellion against God, because there's so much that Christ talked about forgiveness. Even if you look at the Lord's prayer, after the Beautitudes, there's the Lord's prayer. But at the end of the Lord's prayer, Christ goes on for two more verses to unpack the forgiveness part of it, because it says 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us.' But then afterwards, there's two more verses where Jesus said, 'If you will forgive those who offended you, my Father will forgive you.' Forgiveness is obviously a huge, huge deal."
"The flip side of that is the enemy has nothing in his arsenal to combat forgiveness. When you simply drag your life in line with the will of God, even with tears rolling down your face and a huge sense of this is not fair, because it's not fair ... then when you forgive, it's not letting the other person off the hook, it's placing yourself at the foot of the cross. It doesn't mean that what they did was alright. It doesn't mean you have to put yourself in a place again where they're allowed to do it again. It doesn't minimize the pain. To me, it gives us a place to stand. As I told my son as he's growing up, 'Fair doesn't live here, but Jesus does.' So forgiveness is God's gift to us to live in a world that's not fair."
That really leads into my next question which is, and I love it, in your book you say you're launching an attack on the way we use the word deserve.
"Oh, gosh. If you listen to commercials on television you'll hear, 'You deserve to look twenty years younger.' 'You deserve this car.' That is absolute rubbish. We don't deserve anything. But there's a difference between deserve and being made worthy. Christ makes us worthy that we're clothed in His righteousness, and that's something that no one can touch. If you live with a spirit of entitlement, like, I deserve this and I deserve that, that will impact your relationship with God. You'll think, 'God, you owe me.' I mean, I'm amazed sometimes the Lord doesn't just swat us off the earth."
"He owes us nothing, and He's given us everything. So I would encourage people to listen now in commercials and magazines. See how many times the word deserve crops up, and reject that as a lie. The greater truth, it's not a lesser truth, the greater truth is Christ makes us worthy."
You say shame is one of the enemy's most powerful tools, because it makes so much sense to us. Why does it make so much sense to us?
"Because we already feel like we've blown it. I mean, most of us feel in some area of life, whether you feel like there's things you've done as a mother that you could have done better, or things as a wife, or things as a believer. A.J. Tozer said that what comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you. For some people, they think, 'God's disappointed in me. God doesn't love me as much as he loves so and so,' and that really gives us a good barometer as to how we're doing inside. But shame is one of the enemy's greatest tools. It's like someone called a squatter that refuses to leave. It just takes up residence in the very basement of our soul."
"But to me, and I differentiate shame and guilt. I think that we feel guilt for what we've done. We feel shame for who we are. I think if you've done something wrong, you can try and make it right. If you feel you are something wrong, then what do you do with that? So to me, the only place to take shame is to the cross, because He who knew no shame became shame. I mean, for Christ to hang on a cross almost naked, as He would be hanging there ... it was very close to that part outside the city where they burned all the city trash. So even as He's hanging on the cross exposed and shamed, what he's inhaling into his nostrils is the acrid smoke of all the burning trash. The Lamb of God became shame so that we could live without shame. That's why I think we identify ourselves not by what we do in life. You know, it's not just that you're Sam's mother or Greg's wife or the third grade teacher; you identify yourself as 'I'm the daughter of the King of kings,' and that's an identity that no one can touch."
Regret, another one of your feelings which you talk on. Hard to shake sometimes.
"It is. I think we forget that, like in Psalm 139, David talks about the fact that before he was even in his mother's womb, God knew every single day that he would live. But we often want to hit the rewind button because we think, 'If I'd done that differently,' or 'If I'd just done that.' We live in the whole land of if only. If only I had left five minutes later. If I'd only done this. But the thing is, God is sovereign. He has promised that He will—it doesn't say that everything will feel good, but He has promised that He will cause good to come out of every decision that we make because of who He is."
"I mean, look at the story of Esther: this young teenage virgin who's dragged out of her cousin's home into the palace of a really debauched, arrogant king and made to sleep with him. Was that God's will for Esther? Absolutely not. But did that mean that Esther was now in place to see God perform a miracle? Absolutely. I mean, no one would have thought a young Jewish girl would be the one who would save the whole nation. Because at that point, the king, King Xerxes, ruled over 127 provinces; which is from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, all the way down, Jerusalem, Judah - he reined over all of those. Now, if Haman had got his way, every single Jew on the planet would have been exterminated, you know, from where the line of Christ is to come. Who would have thought that God would have used a little girl who's already lost her parents, ripped out of a place where she called home, placed in such a foreign environment? But when it came that moment where it's like, maybe—who knows—that you've been placed in the kingdom for such a time as this? And I say that to women who've walked through rape, who have lost children. There's nothing in the heart of God that would have wanted that to happen. But can God use you even more powerfully now because you're in the right place with the right information? Absolutely."
Alright, here's my favorite question: how do you find time to write?
"Fortunately, it's what I love to do. It's what I would do even if nobody published it; because it's how I process my faith. Some people write out of their expertise; I write of what I'm hungry to know more about. My big thing at the moment is—I want to understand the times we're living in, because before Jesus was executed, He looked over at Jerusalem and wept, and he said, 'You did not understand the time of your visitation.' And I think, 'Lord, I don't want to be one of those ones who did not understand the times I'm living in.' So it's really a passion of mine."
That's terrific. Are you working on something now?
"Well, I'm about to start a new book. I did the The Storm Inside book, but I also did a Bible study to go with it, and then I've recorded a DVD Bible study series. That took about two years, so I'm taking a week off. [Laughter]"
Beth Patch serves as an Internet Producer for CBN.com. For more articles and info, visit Beth's bio page. Send Beth your comments.
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