Anna is sick and her normally active self wants to be held more minutes than not. Held because she is tired. Held because she doesn’t want to be alone. Held because she needs extra tenderness. Held because she knows I’m a safe place for her. I can’t go 5 minutes or 5 feet away from her and she finds my feet and lifts her arms again.
I see myself in Anna’s continuous asking to be held. Dependent. Unguarded. Trusting. Weak. A glimpse of the Father-child relationship I can have with God. But… I’m not like that with Him as much as I could be.
Why? I don’t like to be vulnerable. Read: super uncomfortable. I spend more energy on being my idealistic version of what a Christian should be, exalting it above who God is and what He says, than about adoring and being loved by Him. Underneath all the self-protecting and self-preserving is a forgetting of the gospel, a fear that if I’m vulnerable and uncovered, God won’t be there, won’t choose me, won’t love me. I falsely believe His benevolence toward me is connected to my enoughness in any given situation.
I’m afraid of His silence, so I’m never quiet.
I’m afraid of being rejected, so I resist vulnerability, with others and with God.
I’m afraid of His disappointment, so I set standards of good spirituality I strive to meet.
I’m afraid of His sovereignty, so I seek control and build comfortable walls.
I’m afraid of being messy and broken, so I work hard to preserve the image I want others to see.
A recent journal page has a standalone line, “I’m trying to validate myself instead of receiving God’s validation for me.“
This is huge. It comes down to my heart. First of the Ten Commandments, anyone? No. Other. Gods. Before. Him.
The god I’m putting before Him isn’t made of metal or stone, it’s me. My judgment of myself is more important than His. My identity is more in how I and others perceive me than it is in Christ. I want to be worthy of it more than I want to lose myself in His worth and find mine there.
I hate to admit that, because typing it, I’m a little ashamed and want to yell, No it’s not! Those things aren’t more important! But they are, and it’s in admitting them, not hiding them, not making a home in them, that the love is poured in. It’s difficult to receive the grace of God if I never admit that I need it. Beatrice Chestnut says humility “is a way of being that is free of the attachment to be better than you really are in order to know that you have value.” I can’t accept who God is for me in a moment if I’m pretending, hiding and covering up what is true about me. And let me tell you, from experience, it seems simple and basic, but believing that you are precious to God and that He wants to be most precious to you is essential to living with freedom, courage and joy.
Like my daughter Anna lifts her arms for me to hold her close over and over and over again, I must risk vulnerability and neediness and allow God to love me. Because He does. Unlike anyone else.
I pose the same questions to you, friends…
Are you keeping God at arms’ length without even realizing it? Where are you hiding from Him? What are you covering up and pretending you’re okay when you aren’t? Where can you surrender your ideas of greatness and strength and learn God’s thoughts instead? In what ways are you prioritizing the approval of others over reaching out for Christ? Where is there a gap between the soundtrack in your mind and the truth of God’s Word?
Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Relent and you will be carried. Love and you will be lifted. Receive and you will be home. via