Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Guilt

Then Joshua said to Achan,
“My Son, give glory to the Lord,
God of Israel and give Him praise.”
Tell me what you have done;
do not hide it from me.”
Achan replied, “It is true!
I have sinned against the Lord, God of Israel.
JOSHUA 7:19-20

Achan’s story tells of an occasion of true guilt, but sometimes I struggle with false guilt, and it isn’t always easy to tell the difference and deal with each accordingly.

Nor was it easy to break free from the guilt burden I had grown accustomed to lugging around most of my adult life. How such a thing could be habit forming, I can’t imagine. And yet … it seemed so difficult to let it go! I know that God does not want my heart and life to be burdened down! In Matthew 11:30, Jesus tells us, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So if you find the weight of guilt biting into your shoulders, it is appropriate to consider the source. Very likely you’re carrying a burden that doesn’t belong on your back at all! When our hearts are troubled or burdened by guilt, we can bring it all before our Father. We can ask Him to shine the light of truth on our guilt, so that we can discern what is true and what is false. In this way, one day at a time, we can be set free from the terrible, life-sapping burden of false guilt.

Investigate my life, O God,
Find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong –
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Guilt, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.”

I was ashamed of who I had become. I kept asking God “how did I get to this place?” It was not as if this place was a goal in life that I wanted to achieve. I had tried relentlessly in my own strength to manage my sin but had failed countless times. My only option left was to surrender myself to God.

“Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself
with all your sinfulness to God
who sees neither the score or the scorekeeper
but only his child redeemed by Christ”

As I surrendered myself with all my sinfulness to God, He began to show me how I got to this place. He showed me through the wise Godly counsel of others with whom I entrusted my sinfulness, that I was extremely codependent – a people pleaser with low self-esteem who feared my family’s disapproval, who avoided others’ anger at all cost and stuffed my own feelings of anger for the sake of peace.

I learned that my addictive tendencies were a by-product of my codependency. These tendencies were my self-effort to self-comfort and escape from the pain that I experienced within my sensitive wounded heart.

As I began to understand how God wired me and why I chose those addictive patterns the shame dissipated and I experienced His Grace for myself. As I trusted God and His promises I have been able to receive His forgiveness and therefore been able to forgive myself. His Truth has broken my chains and set me free, as I have trusted Him and others with whom I truly am!

“Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.”
ISAIAH 49:23 (NLT)

On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Guilt, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

Every day I’m up against it,
my nose rubbed in my shame –

While I have seen the Holy Spirit within me temper my words in tone and season them with love, whenever I am reminded of the damage that I have caused with my words in the past I feel “my nose rubbed in shame.” But whenever I am “tweaked” by shame I am reminded of a sermon given by our Pastor Ken Van Vliet on James 3:1-13. That Scripture reminded me of the power of my tongue.

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.
A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain
sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account,
but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it.

Once again I felt the shame of my past but Pastor Ken didn’t leave us there – he continued by reminding us that we are fully loved by God.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing –
nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic,
today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable of unthinkable –
absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love
because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

He then urged us to pay attention to our words for they are the windows into our true being.

“Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”

And then he encouraged us to confess to God what our words reveal about our true beings.

If we admit our sins – make a clean breast of them –
He won’t let us down; He’ll be true to Himself.
He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.

Pastor Ken then reminded us that we could invite Jesus to heal our brokenness.

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,

And that is exactly what the Holy Spirit, within me, did – I went to Him for help and He healed my heart and rid me of my shame.

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
PSALM 34:5 (NLT)

On The Journey With You,
Dave Dravecky


Depression, Guilt, Hope, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

“I’m baptizing you here in the river
turning your old life in for a kingdom life.
The real action comes next:
The main character in this drama –
compared to him I’m a mere stagehand –
will ignite the kingdom life within you,
a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you,
changing you from the inside out.
He’s going to clean house –
make a clean sweep of your lives.”
MATTHEW 3:11-12

It had become obvious to me that I was totally powerless to “change” from my old life after countless futile attempts – trying in my own strength. I felt hopeless. I was stuck in my own muck and mire. I felt much shame for not being able to “fix” myself.

I had recently been told that “The Cure” for my old life was to trust God and others with who I truly am. This was a scary step for me to take because I had worn so many masks to please others. How do I dare trust others with my true heart?

But I wanted so much for the Holy Spirit to make a “clean sweep” of my life. After years of my low-lying depression I could no longer feel the presence of God but I knew from my past depressions that God’s presence is not dependent upon my feelings. I would have to trust the God within me that I could not sense and the God within others to guide me out of my darkness by bringing the true me out into His light.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.

On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Guilt, On the Journey Together, Pain, Words of Endurance

Christ has set us free to live a free life.
So take your stand!
Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

My entire adult life, my harness of slavery has been people pleasing. I have felt it my responsibility to make others happy. I love making my family and friends happy – happy with themselves and also happy with me. I always have tried to truthfully build up and encourage rather than tear down and criticize. I never wanted to hurt their hearts because when their hearts hurt so did mine.

I have a highly sensitive heart and if I would sense that someone was experiencing any anger or disappointment with me that would crush my heart. I would immediately feel it was my fault. I would apologize and fix whatever I had done or eliminate my behavior. Unfortunately, this is how I lost myself when I put on masks to make others happy with me. After so many years those masks had become my identity.

So when Dave gave me the freedom to be “me” I honestly did not know who “me” was anymore. I realized that I was so busy making everybody else happy that I had totally forgotten who I was – my gifts – what I enjoyed – I had “self-forgot”.

God does not want us to “self-forget” because each one of us is “marvelously made” by Him. While that may be hard for some of us to believe we need to remember and ask God to let it sink deep into our hearts that He loves us and accepts us for who we truly are – warts and all. What freedom!

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made.

On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Guilt, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

My heart’s cry to God has always been “Lord, please change me from the inside out.” Sure I can put on a mask and change my outside appearance but what about my sinful desires? What about the part of me that still sins – that I don’t dare let others see? I know that God sees that sinful part of me so what good is it to appear to be holy on the outside when my heart still desires sin on the inside?

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. ROMANS 7:24-25 (THE MESSAGE)

Dave was convinced that the path to pleasing God was to “fix” his own sin. And he was also convinced that he needed to fix our children and me. He had high expectations of himself and us. While his heart motive was to please God he always fell short causing him much frustration and shame.

Being the codependent that I am, I tried hard to please Dave (and God) by attempting to live up to Dave’s expectations but I always fell short – causing me much shame. My shame contributed to my low self-esteem and depression.

But thanks be to God, five years ago, Dave discovered a new path with God. He learned afresh the path to trusting God because of His Grace. His life began to change not from the outside in but from the inside out. Little did I know how Dave’s new path would answer my heart’s cry and would begin to change me, too, from the inside out.

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people
by what they have or how they look.
We looked at the Messiah that way once
and got it all wrong, as you know.
We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore.
Now we look inside and what we see
is that anyone united with the Messiah
gets a fresh start, is created new.
The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!
Look at it! All this comes from God …

On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky


Grace, Guilt, Relationships, The Treasure of Relationships, Words of Endurance

The most perfect people in the world have imperfections, and so do we.
And sometimes it is quite difficult for us to tolerate each other.
We are to “bear one another’s burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galations 6:2),
and I think this means, among other things,
that we are to bear the burden of each other’s imperfections.

One precious treasure I uncovered was learning not to expect perfection in relationships. No matter how much we long and strive for perfection – we will always fail. We all have strengths and gifts but we also all have weaknesses and warts.

For everyone has sinned;
we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

So learning to accept people and ourselves – warts and all – is very important. I had been guilty of thinking that if anything went wrong in a relationship it was over. I learned that relationships are a continual work in progress. I learned how to work through the challenges in order to experience the richness of the relationships God had given me.

Another treasure was discovering the power of grace in relationships. Grace is being able to love others and ourselves despite their warts and ours. What could be more precious than the security of knowing that another person loves and accepts you even when he or she sees the ugly part of you! What could be more valuable than to give that love, acceptance and resulting security to another!

There is no doubt that adversity experienced in the valley of suffering tests every one of our relationships. But adversity also has a way of strengthening our relationships by eliminating the trivial, exposing what is false and focusing our attention on the true nature of our relationships. Some relationships will not endure the pressure of adversity but others – even relationships that have been miserable for years – will emerge strengthened and restored. What a priceless treasure!

Overlook an offense and bond a friendship;
fasten on to a slight and – good-bye, friend!

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Cancer, Doubt, Fear, Grace, Guilt, Words of Endurance

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,
for he faced all of the same testings we do,
yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace
HEBREWS 4:15-16 (NLT)

I have always had high expectations of myself – never wanting to fail – always wanting to be strong – never weak – earning my success – in the game of baseball and in my everyday life.

All that changed when cancer entered my life. Oh I was strong and performed well at the beginning of my journey of suffering. But as the journey took me into the wilderness and the days became long and endless, I experienced a weakness of my being that I had never felt before.

I had a fear of death – I doubted – then shame for my lack of faith. I experienced frustration over my weakness and my failure to overcome. This resulted in anger – rage filled fits – then extreme guilt over my sin. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, my inclination was to run from God and hide. BUT … running and hiding from God was not the answer. In order to endure I needed to run to Him and receive His grace even though I felt I had not earned it and therefore I did not deserve it.

But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not.
God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.
“Come to me now,” Jesus says.
“Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:
a Savior of boundless compassion,
infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness,
and love that keeps no score of wrongs.
Quit projecting onto me your own feelings about yourself.
At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it,
a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.
You are in a safe place.

God’s grace is an incredible source of fuel for enduring the journey. It encourages us to keep going even when we fall because we know He understands and knows our weaknesses yet He still loves us. This was a huge source of fuel for me to continue taking steps forward on my journey with Him knowing that …

“If we have only the will to walk, then God is pleased with my stumbles.” CS LEWIS

Sometimes we are so sick and tired of stumbling that we don’t want to walk anymore. What a blessing it is to know that all we need to have is the will to walk with Him, and God is pleased with us – even when we stumble. That’s an incredible expression of grace. That is a tremendous motivation to keep stepping forward and endure the journey!

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Depression, Grief, Guilt, Laughter, Words of Endurance

The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.

Fortunately, the good news for all of us who have endured or are presently enduring a season of brokenness is that our crying will “give way to days of laughter” – that is God’s promise to his children – there is “a time to cry and a time to laugh”. Thank you Lord.

Jan and I can both testify that we did learn to laugh again in the midst of our adversities. We loved comedies and one of our favorite movies at the time was What About Bob – Jan could so identify with Bob! The movie’s humor allowed us to momentarily step out of our reality – get perspective, balance and increase our endorphins – the “feel good” chemicals our body produces when we laugh.

We know it isn’t always easy to find humor or to be humorous in the face of adversity. At our lowest point, God brought into our lives friends, Bob and Patty, who laughed all the time. Their laughter was contagious and through their influence we learned to choose to laugh when our circumstances went awry. They helped us see that we could look at a situation and be frustrated or we could laugh at the situation and build up our endorphins!

We even began to learn to laugh at ourselves. Our first experience at laughing at ourselves was when years ago we spoke at our home church about pain and suffering. For Jan it was always a little traumatic when we spoke together. She is “Miss Organized” and has to have everything planned out. I am more spontaneous and it drives her nuts. One of the last things she said to me before we spoke was, “Dave, please don’t digress. When you do that I don’t know what to say – please Dave, stick to the notes!!!”

I’ll let her finish the story …

“To my surprise our talk went well at the Saturday night service and again at the 8:00 am service on Sunday so by the 9:15 service – the only service they videotape and audiotape – I was feeling good. I was really comfortable – perhaps too comfortable – because in the middle of the presentation where I normally said prolonged stress affects the brain, I looked out into the congregation and said, prolonged sex affects the brain!!!! The audience gasped – I then realized what I had just said!

For a moment I was horrified and didn’t know what to do. Then I realized the humor in my mistake so I looked at Dave with a great big grin on my face and said I can’t believe I just said sex! My honesty gave everyone permission to laugh – and with that the congregation started to roar with laughter! Dave was rocking back and forth on his seat and had tears running down his face he was laughing so hard. Then he picked up his Jan prepared notes and said ‘I don’t know about you honey, but that isn’t in my notes!’ I then started to howl and the congregation howled with me!!!”

There we were in the midst of talking about pain and suffering and we were laughing! It took a few minutes for us to regain our composure and continue with our talk. It was good to learn later that after the service they sold a record number of audio and videotapes – this made us laugh again!

I realize that you may not be in a place where you can laugh right now. If that is your situation – don’t feel guilty. But do remember that laughter is a gift. It doesn’t mean we deny the reality of what is happening but it does provide a momentary distraction from the pain. It is a healthy diversion – good for the body as well as for the soul. When we choose to laugh our difficulties become easier to bear. It is also good to remember …

For everything there is a season,
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

On the Journey with You,
Dave Dravecky


An Awakening from Brokenness, Grief, Guilt, Hope, Prayer, Words of Endurance

Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Each time I have hit bottom – I am left feeling broken and weak. What is even more painful for me is that I have no one to blame but myself for my present condition so I feel nothing but shame and guilt. But I have learned that whenever I find myself in this place of brokenness what I need to do is to remember. Remember how in times before – when my pride was shattered – none of it was unnoticed by God. I need to remember …

Since God assured us,
“I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,”
we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

I also need recall that it has been my past experience that …

“Often breakdowns lead to breakthroughs.”

And then I can reassure myself that …

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
He knows our pregnant condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives
of love for God is worked into something good.

When I remember this promise from God – this Eternal Truth gives me the courage to not lose heart –to not give up – to keep on enduring the journey. May His Word provide you the endurance for your journey when you remember …

So we’re not giving up. How could we!
Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us,
on the inside, where God is making new life,
not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
These hard times are small potatoes
compared to the coming good times,
the lavish celebration prepared for us.
There’s far more here than meets the eye.
The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.
But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky