Just a few weeks ago, I sat in my co-workers office and listened to a record player for the first time in many years. The sound seemed different than I remembered-better than I remembered. It had been years that I had placed a vinyl on the turntable. But I did remember those moments in my grandma's house listening to records - I wonder where that kid has gone? I wonder where the innocence of my life has gone - maybe it's not gone at all - maybe it's just been stuffed away longing for a day that it can come out of hiding.
My life is and has been an adventure of sorts I guess. I've moved around looking for something. I tried different things to suppress something. I've even tried to live a "good" Christian life - to end up searching for something that seems impossible to reach. It seems that when God gives freely to me - I'm filled with pleasure and joy. It seems that this same God takes away without cause - and I'm filled with distrust and anxiety - I worry about what I've done - where did I go wrong.
We begin to believe our own self doubt... We begin to say to ourselves... "He builds us up only to let us down. He remembers our past sins and retaliates by snatching our health, wealth, inner peace, progeny, empire, success and joy. -- Brennan Manning
We are caught in this trap of feeling toward God what we feel about ourselves. We cast on God the very things we are dealing with and struggle with. If we look at ourselves as defeated we cast that upon God and begin to believe that God isn't there to give us victory. If we feel hateful toward ourselves, we assume that God feels hateful toward us. If we feel guilt and shame, we begin to believe that God is full of shame and guilt toward us. It never stops and it always gets more intense. This trap of casting our thoughts and feelings on God leaves us in a very difficult position to overcome.
Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us - Brennan Manning
Richard Foster wrote... "Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence." You and I must begin to live out our lives in pursuit of God and what God truly wants us to feel and how we are to live in his love. We are truly "Sons and Daughters" - but how can we stand up to this in the midst of our lack of self-worth, our lack of self-love or the forgiveness of self. It truly is a dangerous cycle.
When ever I begin to fall into this trap of self-reliance and look at my own thoughts and my own actions I'm consumed by my own world. When I am consumed by my own world - God's Kingdom is confusing - it doesn't make sense.
I do however have two actions and two options: 1) I am overtaken by my feelings of guilt, fear and anxiety - or I decide that God is not like me at all... and 2) I turn and run into my "Abba's Arms" to realize that even in the midst of my feelings of guild, shame and worry, etc - God is waiting for me. I can trust in the feelings of being a victim to my sin or I can choose to trust in God's unfailing and faithful love and grace. I can give the enemy what doesn't belong to him or I can live in what belongs to my Father.
God calls us to stop hiding and come openly to Him. God is the Father who ran to His prodigal son when he came limping home. God weeps over us when shame and self-hatred immobilizes us. Yet as soon as we lose our nerve about ourselves, we take cover." BM
Just like Adam and Eve - I hide! I run! I try to escape! But what if I would just simply rest in His arms! I suppose that I forget that while Jesus is sleeping in the front of the boat and storm rages on... my confidence is reeling and my mind places tricks - I forget...
The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking..."Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." My dark side speaks... "I am no good... I deserve what is coming - I know God is punishing me." - BM
As I wait for something to happen and for Jesus to wake up - I fail to just be in the boat with Jesus. As I worry about my own fear and my own feelings of not fitting the mold... I wait for Jesus to do something - forgetting that even while He sleeps - He is in control.
But it's true... I listen to my fears, my limitations, my past... I listen to the voices around me. I question my decisions. I question my heart. I let my emotions run rampant! I begin to loose sight of what it means to know God and pursue God. I let the feelings of my sin, my shortcomings and my humanness take over. I get lost in the storm. I yell out to Jesus - "wake up - don't you care"... and so I'm reminded once again that he does... He cares more about me than I do about me! He is fighting for me when I'm no longer in the game. He does care... I just have to listen when calls out to "Quiet the Storm"...
So don't stay hidden in your past like that old record player - come out of hiding, brush off the dust of feeling guilty, polish up that old vinyl and let God lead you into a new understanding of what it means to be a "Child of God". It's time to let the music play again and for God to show you just how much you mean to Him.
Have a great rest of week and know that you are "Abba's Child" and you are loved. When you and I decide to come out of hiding... we can truly see what God has in store for us.
5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
"The decision to come out of hiding is our initiation rite into the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. It brings its own reward. We stand in the Truth that sets us free and live out of the Reality that makes us whole." - Brennan Manning
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