This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series GTH500
Welcome to #GTH500 celebration guest series! See our top 20 posts, and the other guest post in this #GTH500 series and our Instagram contest here.

We are honoured to have our first guest post from Christa Black who is a Multi-platinum-selling songwriter, powerful speaker, entertainer, and popular blog-author. Christa has traveled the world to speak in international events inspiring thousands to find freedom from addictions, eating disorders, shame, and self-hatred.

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My wife had her song on repeat for the longest of time. You could hear it and immediately know that it came from a deep place. The song was “God loves ugly”. It remains an inspiration till date.

We are grateful to Christa for taking time to write this post despite just getting back from her travel to Europe. Her passion for God and depth of her relationship with Jesus is clearly evident all through out this post. I believe that you will be blessed with this interview.

God bless,

Shyju

christa black Christa Black: Hello Revive Nations partners and friends!

Such an honor to partner and share my heart for freedom, wholeness of the heart, and abundant life—the fullness of the Christian life available to all of us!

1. What’s the one very important lesson you’ve learnt in your walk with God?

Christa: As a girl who has walked through the pain of abuse, addiction, depression, self-hatred—you name it—the most important thing I’ve learnt from my Father is how to receive.

The pain of my broken heart led to all sorts of broken behaviors, from years of substance abuse, eating disorders, insecurities, and sexual bondages. Trying to fix my negative behaviors never worked because they were just the symptom to the problem.  The problem was my unhealed heart.  The more I stopped trying to fix myself for God, or heal myself, and clean up my past messes, the more my heart began changing truly.

I’d bring this Great Love my wounds, my pain—the ugly parts of my life.  And the strangest thing would happen—God would love me anyway.  The things that I hated most about myself, He didn’t hate them.  He hated that they were killing me.  He hated that I had been set free in Christ and didn’t know how to live it out.  The more I received unconditional love in the places of my deepest shame, that love came in and healed.  That love came in and restored. That love came in and set me free.

2. What is the key to overcoming temptations?

Christa: Temptation is not the problem–a broken heart is the problem.  Temptation is just a huge warning siren going off signaling a yearning in the soul.  If you have unhealed pain in your heart, that pain will always cry out to be numbed, silenced, or covered up.  We numb through substances, we silence pain through keeping busy, and we cover up hurts with performance.  After years of being tempted to silence the pain in my heart through all sorts of substances, I finally stopped focusing on overcoming the addiction and started focusing on why my heart needed to be numbed.  The more the heart was healed, the more the temptations went away.

Wholeness and unconditional love are so satisfying, it gets harder and harder to be tempted by counterfeit affections.

3. How does your personal time with God in a day look like?

Christa: I’m a mom of a toddler, a wife, and one who travels more than most, every day is entirely different.  I work very well within structure, but unfortunately, that isn’t provided in this current season.  There were seasons of my life that I got up and spent time with Father every day for a certain amount of time, but that’s almost impossible when you have small children.  So instead of having a scheduled relationship with Jesus, I bring Him into every part of my day.

Yesterday morning I got up, put on a worship cd, and danced around the kitchen with my son while making breakfast.  Once my husband took him to run errands, I put on a soaking cd and just marinated in the presence (my favorite thing!).  I wrote all day yesterday, dialoguing with the Holy Spirit about what I should put into my next blog, my next book, my upcoming messages.  I got a text from a friend and began to pray for her.  The Holy Spirit kept laying someone on my heart, so I prayed for them and texted them.

Just like any strong relationship, my friendship and intimacy with Jesus is intentional, but very organic.

I want to walk with Him in everything, listening towards his whispers, and tuning into his heart.

4. Your advice to singles?

Christa: As one who was single for the majority of my life—the girl who sat on the sidelines at school dances and went to prom by myself—I will say I know your pain for relationship.  I know the longing to share your life with someone.  I know the angst, the anguish, the desire–and there’s nothing wrong with you for having those feelings.  People say a lot of ridiculous things when they’re trying to comfort singles.  I can’t tell you how many times I was told ‘The second you don’t want anyone but Jesus, your husband will come along.’  What a load of total garbage (to be blunt.)  You were created to be intimate.  You were created to long for relationship–because you’re made in the image of a God who longs for and created relationship!

Take a deep breath and tell your heart there’s nothing wrong with me for wanting to be in a relationship!

Now, once you’ve embraced that hope and desire as being from God, you have to make sure your hope is set on God and not on a spouse.  As a single girl with no prospects on the horizon for years, I had to set my hope on the God who supplies all my needs and not on my husband showing up. [tweet this] The longer there was no husband, the more that hope turned to despair, and despair poisons everything.

Hope in the person of Jesus Christ–not in an outcome.  The more you hope in the faithfulness of your Father, on His promises, and on His character and will for your life, you can still have joy in the mist of longing.  You can still have joy in the midst of sorrow.

5. What must the church do to see a revival today? 

Christa: I believe revival starts in the hearts of believers, and not necessarily church meetings.  There’s so much pain in the hearts of Christians, so much brokenness, so many wounds.  The world doesn’t want what we have because we still look like them–with more rules.  We still get divorced, go bankrupt, get sick, stab each other in the back, and hurl stones.  They look at us, suffering from all the same problems, and don’t want the Jesus that they see.

But Isaiah 61 shows us the primary purpose of Jesus coming, “To bind up the broken heart, and proclaim freedom for the prisoners.”  When believers begin learning to get their broken hearts bound up by the healer, and we start living out that freedom, the world will run to our Jesus.  This Jesus is so strong, so healing, so loving.  This Jesus is so powerful, so kind, so compassionate.  He’s the solution for every heart problem that the world has ever faced.

The world doesn’t read their Bibles, but they do read their Christians. [tweet this]  I believe that revival will break out when Christians get their hearts healed and begin living from a whole heart–loving the world, being kind, doing goodness, adopting orphans, taking care of widows, giving this new kingdom that we have been given.

No one can resist that kind of Jesus.  (:

6. Share one very important lesson to the leaders.

Christa: For years, I thought being a leader meant I couldn’t have any issues.  I thought if I let people know what was really going on in my life, I’d lose my platform or spiritual status.  The sad thing about this approach to leadership is that it will always promote secrecy and performance—and no one ever gets healed.  There are so many wounded leaders covering their secrets.  There are so many affairs, pornography addictions, leaders suffering from substance abuse and depression—all because we put ourselves on a platform and think we can’t be in pain.

I became a great leader when I started giving all my secrets away. I put everything on the table, shining light on the pain that led to negative behaviors.  The more I brought these issues into the light, the more the shame broke.  And the more the shame broke, the more love began to heal the roots of the pain.  Accountability is powerful, and vulnerability is essential to breakthrough—in your own life, but also in the lives of those who are following you.

People don’t expect you to be perfect.  They want Jesus to be perfected in your weakness. [tweet this]

7. What would be the three most important things you want our generation to learn with you?

Christa: 

i. You can never have true intimacy where there is shame.  Our Western Christian generation is covered in shame, trying to clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus.  The greatest thing I’ve ever done is deem my life a ‘no-shame fly zone,’ even while I was struggling with horrible behaviors.  The moment I would run to a substance and feel shame with its iron grip, I would throw off the rags and run, run, run back into the arms of my Father.  If He didn’t have any condemnation for me—even while struggling so terribly—then why was I having any for myself?  It was His love that set me free—not my attempts to earn that love and overcome shame.

christa black

ii. Stop trying to fix yourself.  You can’t.  You’re unable to.  You can’t fix the brokenness in your heart, and you can’t change your behaviors.  You can modify them and manage them, but that’s not freedom.  Freedom only comes when you bring the good, the bad, and the ugly before this Unconditional Love, letting it saturate every part of your heart.  The more you’re loved, the more that Love kicks out fear.  The more you’re adored, the more your heart is restored—and your life will follow.

iii. The Christian life is not about giving–it’s about receiving.  I John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.”  I truly believe we don’t know how to love God, love others, and love ourselves because we haven’t first received that love.  We know it in our heads, but we don’t always believe it in our hearts.  For most of my Christian life, I thought God required me to worship Him, serve Him, obey Him.

I fell short time and time again, trying to discipline myself to love.  But love isn’t just a discipline—it’s about desire.  No one is standing around the throne room in heaven disciplining themselves to worship!  They’re overwhelmed with this King who has loved them, set them free, and given them a kingdom of eternity!

The more we receive the revelation of that Love, the more we marinate in it, soak in it, and let it fuse with every part of our being—the more we overflow.

I don’t live my life to love and serve God anymore.  I live my life to be loved by Him.  The more I let the medicine of His love go into every crack, every wound, every part of my life, the more I’m transformed and begin to gush.  I gush to strangers about this man who has loved me.  I gush when I preach.  I gush in my writing.  I gush in worship.  I’ve been given everything, so I sure do have a lot to give back.

8) Could you share about your latest resources that our partners can benefit from?

Christa: My book God Loves Ugly & Love Makes Beautiful teaches people very practically how to walk into wholeness of the heart, receiving love in the places of their shame.  My behaviors changed once my heart got healed, and I love teaching people how to do the same.

My CD God Loves Ugly accompanies the book with a song for each chapter.

I’m currently working on a workbook that will go along with the book God Loves Ugly, and will be out this fall, along with T-shirts, posters, and other merch.

My website www.christablack.com has all sorts of blog resources, updated weekly.

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Thank you Christa! Stay tuned for the upcoming guest post by another favourite leader of mine in the #GTH500 series. Subscribe below to receive it in your inbox.

 

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