I could have told you with confidence- “God loves the world, and God loves me.” But I didn’t know it, know it. Does that make sense?
I knew it in my head, and according to my religion, but I didn’t yet fully believe it for myself. And I didn’t even know that I didn’t believe it, until I nearly killed myself trying to be a “good Christian”.
Believing that He does actually love me- despite what I do or don’t do, was a miracle that happened as I spent time with Him. But it was more than just doing daily devotions. I had being doing those religiously- it was actually the “checking off the box of my daily duties for God” that led me into such a spiritual trap.
The difference between the time I spent with God when I was trying to “earn” His love, and the time I spent when I was finally able to “know” His love was HONESTY.
Before I had been dishonest about my real self before God. Afraid of His reaction if he really knew my dark thoughts, fantasies, insecurities and doubts. I felt I had to be on my best behavior, suppressing everything I thought was unpleasing to Him. After all, everyone knew me as the good Christian girl, and good girls don’t have such ugly issues. Right? I felt like I was the only one with these struggles, and I sure wasn’t going to tell anyone- definitely not God.
It was an honest unveiling of my real self before God that brought me to a place of freedom in my faith.
It was allowing the shackle-breaking spot-light of His love to break through and penetrate every area of my heart that brought me out of bondage and into freedom. It was saying no to secrecy, and yes to living in the the light.
Of course He always saw, always knew the real me- but it was the willingness to let light enter into ever crevice of my heart that brought me to the freedom that He had been offering all these years.
Coming to God with our real selves is the safest place we can be; nothing is too ugly, too dark, too far gone for His grace to bring beauty, light and restoration. Jesus secured that place for us when He died on our behalf.
It was time to stop striving, stop pretending I was super-woman, super-Christian, super-good; and be honest with God about where I was, where I failed, how I lived needy, insecure, afraid, doubtful and messed up on the inside.
It was a transition from
BEING GOOD to BEING LOVED.
As I let go of my ability to “be good for God” I embraced the reality that accepting His love for the real me was the only source of anything “great for God” that I could ever do for Him.
Grace at work.
I finally lowered my walls of perfectionism, comparison and strife and allowed His love to bring me into the light of His love and mercy.
My Christian life does not begin with me and my ability to be good. It begins in His love for me and His grace that redeems all of me.
I love because He first loved me….even in my grossest, darkest, most shameful hours.
Somedays my confidence in God’s love for me looks like a secure runner setting out for a victorious race.
Other days like a baby deer, wobbling ahead, to the side, to the back and then falling.
Most days, though, trusting His love is less of an activity, more of a leaning back into Him. Quietly, one breath at a time, leaning into Him. Allowing Him to rock me to rest in His steadfast love.
In the midst of my mess, I have found His love to be true and worthy of trust, even on my most undeserving days. Days where I yell at my kids, snap at my husband, neglect my friends and wallow in self-pity. I have honestly found His love to be the best, most trustworthy thing in life.
No matter what my circumstances or emotions tell me that I deserve, He continues to lavish. And as I receive, then and only then, am I able to keep walking ahead, pouring out what I have been so graciously given.
Have you ever felt afraid of being honest with God? What gave you the courage to stop pretending and get real with Him?
My prayer for you, friend, is that the truth of His unconditional love for you will set your heart free. Free indeed.