For anyone who's also struggling with this
(I have SOOO much that I want to say about this topic, but I don't think I can say it all yet, so I wanted to say a little.)
Over the past couple years, especially, God has really been showing me some profound insecurities, misconceptions, and struggles that have lodged themselves in my soul. He's helping me root them out, but I've got a feeling it will be a years-long process. They go very deep.
In the midst of discovering my fears, God has showered me with confirmation that they are not unique to me. I believe these are issues that many of us deal with. The problem is that we don't talk about them, and that needs to change.
I mean things like:
- works-based approval (both from God and from others)
- religiosity & legalism
These problems can manifest themselves with symptoms such as:
- inability to believe that you are truly "free in Christ"
- tendency to overanalyze even insignificant thoughts, decisions, etc.
- wondering whether you're idolizing something or someone you deeply love
- inability to let your mistakes go
- inability to rest in your spiritual life
We're ever striving, striving, striving. Ever feeling like we haven't quite reached the mark -- like there's a little more we could and should give. Never feeling like it's okay to say, "That's enough for now"; not wanting to settle down and be at peace or "do something for us" -- something fun and frivolous and "not spiritual" -- because we equate peace (a gift of the Holy Spirit) with complacency, and we believe that being "all in" for God means shunning anything that even slightly resembles satisfaction for our "flesh."
Forgetting that maybe sanctification is actually a thing and maybe it's actually a process and maybe that's actually okay. (I mean, were the disciples magically perfect when they received Jesus' call? A resounding "heck no" to that. Well, then, did Jesus give up on them in disgust because they weren't instantly perfect? How about another resounding "heck no".)
Forgetting that "every good and perfect gift comes from above" (James 1:17).
Forgetting that "God . . . richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17).
Forgetting that having doubts, questions, and fears doesn't automatically boot you out of the Kingdom. (Remember Thomas?)
Forgetting that the Spirit gives different people different gifts, and that it's a crying shame when we fool ourselves into thinking our gifts and talents and callings aren't "spiritual" enough (1 Corinthians 12:14-27).
Forgetting that when Jesus prayed for His disciples the night before His crucifixion, He didn't pray that God would remove our humanity, but that He would purify it (John 17:15). (Michael Lloyd has great things to say about the whole issue of hating our humanity in his Café Theology.)
(random bunny because bunnies are happy)
I could go on, but, again, I can't cover it all right now. Hopefully more will be coming soon over on my other blog (link on my sidebar).
Suffice it to say, for now, that I believe there are lies that the enemy has spoken into our souls, and it's been hurting my heart today to think about how deeply we've fallen for them -- what damage they've caused our mental, emotional, and spiritual psyches, what scars they've left on us. So I wanted to hopefully speak some truth and love into this kind of situation (and please understand that I need to latch onto this every bit as much as you might). I think this is one of the main things it comes down to: we haven't really grasped, deep down in our souls, that we -- individually -- are loved by God. And there is something so broken in the outlook of a Christian who doesn't believe God adores them.
Beauty, please believe that you are loved.
That's what I want to leave you and I with today. We think we're clinging to God by a thread, and that any mistake or mishap could break it and send us plunging. We also think that we're the ones doing the running after God, as if He isn't running after us too -- more than that, He was running after us first. First and always.
So if this is you -- if you struggle with feeling like you never perform well enough for God, if every slip-up has the potential to send you into a whirlwind of self-doubt, if you don't truly believe down in the core of you that God loves you voluntarily and passionately -- please try to believe this instead. Please allow this message to sink down into your soul and dare to believe that it might be true:
You are not alone and you will not be given up on.
(P.S. I'm right here trying with you, and I'd love to talk. Please feel free to reach out. We need each other. <3)