Decrease Me and Increase Thee by Sascha Enders

Decrease me and Increase Thee. 
More Faith, Less Fear.
I am fearfully, and wonderfully made, and I mean it.

I’m Sascha Enders.
Duke University.
Nice to meet you. Yes, pre-med. Yes, my classes are hard. Yes. Yes. Yes. 
How are you? Good. Well. Great!
This is what I say everyday to my friends, acquaintances, teachers, and professors, the things that we all say, but if we truly talked about what is happening with and in our lives, if we truly shared our testimonies, there would be a lot more acceptance, and a lot less pain.
They don’t know that I’m…
Struggling with consumption: too consumed in grades, self pity, self image, self defeat.
I am not perfect. I am broken. I am wrestling with my sins.
But
I have been set free. Did you hear that?
I am set free. And SO are you!
I am set free NOT because of what I have done, but because of HE. He chose me. And HE chose you. ALL you have to do is accept his unconditional grace, love, patience, and peace. 

That was the first time I have ever introduced myself by my struggles (and my savior). But, the fact of the matter is… we all have them, however, we are too afraid to talk about them. I am not what I struggle with, but without these trials I would not be able to proclaim Jesus’ name in the way that I am able to know. For I truly truly believe that HIS power is made perfect in my, yours, his, hers ALL of our weaknesses.

Being a student, a black girl, at Duke University has been such a learning experience.
I have struggled with not feeling welcome, good enough, smart enough, or simply enough.
And, I constantly forget that my aforementioned statement is EXACTLY what the devil, and the WORLD wants us to believe. 

 At the beginning of this year I prayed to God, the prayer of Psalm 139: 1- 24:

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

What if we all truly lived by what the scripture above says…

(1)    With faith in knowing that a Lord who governs the universe still knows US intimately… nothing goes unnoticed by him. And, WE CAN NEVER LOSE HIM.

(2)    We have been given a spirit that is full of HIS power. The power of a king who governs the UNIVERSE… take a second to soak that in. All we have to do I accept this power, accept this spirit that we have been given.

(3)    God is guiding us, nothing that we endure is too “dark” or to difficult for our Father. In our darkness, at our lowest points, He is made perfect, that is when HIS light can truly shine through us.

(4)    WE ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. What if we truly believed that? And we didn’t stand in front of the mirror and pinch the parts of our bodies we don’t like, but accepted every curve, bulge, tightness, bloat everything (still exercising and working to be our even better selves and glorifying his temple, but loving our selves in the process).

(5)    This bottom part of the passage is tricky. BUT it means that instead of diving deeper into sin, we actively repent of our sins, and strive to be more like Jesus, detesting ANYTHING that would disappoint Him. For His only enemy is sin.

(6)    What if we woke up every morning in the midst of sin, struggle, school, lack of sleep, racism, any circumstance, and PRAISED God because we knew that we were being led to the way everlasting. Our trials are meant to bring us closer to Him. We are meant to LOVE despite what hateful words our neighbors said to us. We are NOT meant to be anxious for ANYTHING but by prayer and petition ask God for what we need. 

If you, like me, are struggling, please see this as a chance to get closer to our Heavenly Father. He is exposing us of our weaknesses, so that we can humble ourselves before Him. We are NOTHING without Him, and we NEED Him every second.

Thank you Jesus!

Lord, 

I just pray for any eyes that may be reading this post God. I want to challenge my sisters in Christ to wake up every morning and say, “Father, decrease me, and increase thee.” To think of themselves and FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made, because despite what society says, we are beautiful, we are strong, and we are fearless. Please see if there is any offensive way within us, and lead us in the way everlasting.

Amen. 

  • Challenge:
    FOR A WEEK…
    Wake up every morning and say whichever power statement resonates with you…
    (1) Decrease me and increase thee. 
    (2) More Faith, less Fear.
                     AND
    Also look in the mirror and say every morning…
    “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” AND MEAN IT!

After you did this for a week straight, do it for two weeks, then three, and then a WHOLE MONTH! 
Be disciplined, and DO IT! If you miss a morning, it’s okay do it during the day. 
If you miss a day, it’s okay do it twice the next!

Scripture from: http://www.biblestudytools.com/psalms/139.html

Chandler PhillipsComment