Friday, October 9, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
He was never his self when he was with his friends, not really, not fully. They didn't completely get him. They were definitely his friends, you couldn't deny that. They got his intellectual side. They connected there deeply. It's just, he still wasn't comfortable, not completely, in their presence--in anyone's presence for that matter.
This was me for 18 years.
It's so difficult to be your self around other people. Pain teaches us that vulnerability is dangerous, and walls are safe. It's hard enough being your honest self when no one else is around, much less when there's an audience judging and ranking your every word. It's when you're not with judges that you don't have to worry how you score, those rare times when you don't even hear the judges in your own head. That's what happens when you're with people just love you and see the best in you. Those rare birds who dig up the gold buried in the depths of your soul and bring it to the surface for the sun to make it shine. Those are the people we crave to be around and in whose company we exult.
Most of the time though, we aren't around those people. Most of the time we feel a judge in the room. And who can really perform well when there's a judge presiding, gavel poised to declare your insufficiencies at any wrong turn? No one. That's the point. The key to being your self is getting the judges out of the room. That's one of most liberating things Jesus did for us, place us in good standing before God, the real Judge. He answered the judge question for us in the most profound way. He took away every judgement that can be made against us and wrapped us in a new, clean, perfect identity. We are God's sons and daughters. He is pleased with us--with you, with me.
The day I realized this, when it really sank from my mind through my mouth down into my heart, it changed me profoundly. I don't remember the verse I was reading, I think it was in Ephesians, and it hit me. There's really only one opinion that matters in the whole world and the person who holds that opinion loves, accepts, and cares about me! Before I realized this, I was generally considered a shy person by anyone who knew me. But when I realized the significance and state of God's opinion of me, I stopped worrying so much about what other people were thinking. I was loved by the one who's opinion matters most. When I entered conversations I suddenly wasn't worried so much about what that person thought of me. That freed up my mind to think about ways I could love and build them up. That's how we are designed to interact with each other, so full of God's love that it overflows on those around us. It's a process of daily coming to the river to take a dip and drink your fill. Daily, every moment, lavishing in the remembrance of His presence in your midst. He is with you and He says you are strong, wise, and good. Believe the words He speaks over you and know your place in Him is safe. Set. Secure.
I don't do this perfectly. I often forget all about who I truly am and drift into thinking the common thoughts that lie all around me. We are all works in process. It's a daily effort to fight those pervading ways of thinking which work sound like anything less than the truth God speaks about you. Surround your self with His words over you; with the truth of His Word; with people who see the New Creation you really are. Speak those perspectives over your friends and neighbors and Self. Let His light flood the crevices of your soul and make them new. You are a son of light, a daughter of the light. Fear no more.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Growing up in the Church you hear people talk about the idea of worthiness quite a bit. Usually the message is something like, “We can’t earn God’s love (true), and we don’t deserve it (Nowhere in Scripture). But by his amazing grace, he died for us while we were still his enemies, living in sin (true). And now we are saved. Isn’t God so great?!” The underlying implication is that you are not worthy of God's love or sacrifice. And this is usually where we're left, with a guilt and a vague sense of unworthiness lingering in our chest.
This oversimplified understanding of our Heavenly Father’s plans, purposes, and character are a sad, weak representation of reality. It is true that we didn’t earn God’s love, he stepped out first and loved us while we were still warring and simpering against him. He first loved us. He decided we were worth saving. He sent his Son to pave the way for us to become his sons and daughters and extend the invitation to us. He made creatures worth loving and fighting for. Worth sailing off into a dark stormy night where immense loneliness, profound suffering, and imminent death awaited him; because we are worth it. He called us worthy when he stepped out of Heaven and took his great leap into our broken and bent reality. He did this to pick us up, piece by piece, if only we let him, to place us in the fire of his love and melt us down to be formed into something new and beautiful, more glorious than we can imagine. Creatures, as C.S. Lewis writes, so glorious that mere centuries from now lower creatures would be inclined to bow down and worship; though that would be to mis-take a great thing for the fountain and source of all that is good and great.
Worthy of his love? Yes, you are. Not because of your great efforts, accomplishments, or strivings. There is no room for pride to rightfully fill your chest. You did nothing. It was all given to you. We are worthy simply because our Maker, who is our Father, our Dad, made us worthy. So stop undervaluing God’s art. And stop taking credit what what was given to you. You are not giving him or your self “more glory” by speaking degradingly of what God has made, from either direction; too high or too low. That is to merely settle for a lie from the Devil. Speak against the lie and agree with the truth, you are worthy of God’s love.
He, made you: Worthy.