It’s always interesting to ask someone about their life, and see what parts they include. The details they choose to share, and those they pass right over.
Obviously the depth of sharing depends on your relationship to them, but most often, even close friends choose to disclose the happy, secure parts of their past before the not so happy and secure moments that mark their personal history.
Well, here’s a bit of my personal story, and I don’t mind sharing some of my not so happy parts. Not because I am proud of everything in my past, but because it has been redeemed, and I have been set free. And if someone else can see my past and experience more of God’s love from my story, then that is my greatest joy.
I have a past freckled with spiritual striving, pride, failure, and an inability to accept that I could (and did) fail on many levels.
I tried so hard to “keep it all together”. I couldn’t admit to anyone my shortcomings, for fear of loosing the image of a good Christian that I thought I had created. I was haunted with the fear of disappointing others, myself and God. I was shaken to the core when I felt I had failed; in big or small ways.
I was trapped in my own piety, unable to sense the love of God apart from all my “good deeds”. I was only able to connect with the thought that God loved me if I felt like I deserved it or had done something to obtain His love.
I compared myself to everyone around me, and never felt that I measured up to what I should be. Since I felt I could never do enough, be enough, or know enough, it was nearly impossible to find rest in God. There was no room to just be His child. I was such a “good Christian” but I dying on the inside as a result.
In two words, that sort of living was religious bondage.
But in-between fits of performance, anxiety and hearing internal voices of accusation, comparison and condemnation, I found myself finally unable to do anything but fall at His feet, totally dependent on His grace.
I came to the end of me and the beginning of belief. The life-changing journey of knowing and believing the love God had for me.
Collapsing into the compassion of God, believing that His grace is active, trusting that He actually loves me.
No matter what I do, don’t do; no matter what others think of me, or how many good deeds I can perform from pure or impure motives, He loves me just the same.
There is rest in that place of trusting God’s love. Rest in allowing His love to transform my brokenness.
It’s His love that has redeemed me from myself. His love has brought me into more fullness that I could have ever created or imagined on my own. And this is just the beginning.
“So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. For God is love.” 1 John 4:16
Have you ever felt like pressure to be perfect is leaving you further from God’s heart and trapped in a cage of performance-based Christianity?
I’d be honored for you to come back for my next post to hear more about my story of learning to know and believe the love of God.