It's near the end of October, the snow is marching down the mountains, the light is draining. I am dreading the advance of winter and may I start my life over again?
Do you know that feeling when you sit in church and suddenly you realize you know nothing? You've done nothing? You're a lumpy, bulky assemblage of pride, sloth, gluttony and selfishness and you wonder if you have done anything right in your life at all. . . And you suddenly worry that maybe you serve God only because of all the good stuff He gives you . . . And then you wonder about your "worship" and the way you lift your hands when you sing, and has all your time in the Word of God been just some clever ploy to finally get what you want, which is the Good Life, the American Dream of freedom and happy pursuits, all that---and hold on now for the finale: all that----freedom, happiness, independence---plus God. Wow--way to have it ALL!
And it gets worse, of course. All those who suffer, who are suffering for His name, and then this life I lead, this easy easy life, and the way I waste money that could feed someone starving . . . . My stomach turns, my heart tanks and I despise myself and I would wear sackcloth if I had it, but maybe sweats are good enough. Sweats, no makeup and a shorn head.
I need a rescue, I know, but don't whisper to me words of esteem and self-love. I don't want Oprah or Osteen "Love Your Lovely Self Because You're Incredibly Amazing" kind of words. Nor do I even want the Christian version of those words, like this:
This is titled, "Who You Are: A Message to All Women." I heard another "Spoken Word" performance for women with words like this at a conference last year----spoken by a 20 year old college kid to women twice and thrice his age. Honestly, neither of these work for me. I hope it works for you and God bless you if it does!! Maybe you feel encouraged and inspired---Hooray!! But for me------maybe because he's not a woman? Maybe because he's younger than some of my sons? Maybe because he doest know me at all, or know anyone I know? Maybe because he has no idea what my life is like? I wonder if we are hearing these words too often these days:
We are beautiful. We are loved. We are worthy. We are awesome.
Yes, these are true words . . . . But apparently we're having a hard time believing it, because the message is said again and again in so many venues (yes, even here, by me.) Here is the real problem, I think. We know ourselves too well---And so these words are hard to believe. AND--we don't know God well enough---And so these words are hard to believe. If we spent more time looking at God, at His capacious love, his scandalous sacrifice, his patient mercies and outrageous rescues right now---and through ALL time and if we spent less time pumping ourselves up about our own beauty and worth----- I think we'd be okay.
The goal, really, dear friends, is not to love ourselves, but to love God. With all we've got: heart, soul, mind, strength, muscle, memory, senses, will---everything. And if we want to repair the damage of the past and present----those who belittle us, who think us unbeautiful, unworthy, who refuse to hear us or see us or love us---affirming words will never be enough. I know this.
And You do too. It takes more. It takes the blood of a Savior, the death of a Redeemer, the fire of the Holy Spirit, the living breath of God's word in our souls.
Words like these: And even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us ALIVE together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and RAISED US UP WITH HIM, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus!!!
(Yes! HIS kindness! HIS grace!)
And these: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great LOVE with which He loved us, even when we were DEAD in our sins, made us ALIVE together with Christ---by GRACE you have been saved!!
And out of thousands of verses, just one more: " . . . in all these things we are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From the Love of God for us in Christ Jesus our Lord . . ..
When you are low and feeling unloved, unbeautiful, not-awesome, turn to these words and believe GOD, Believe how Great and Awesome HE is-- Believe how worthy HE is, Believe how holy and beautiful HE is, Believe how Trustworthy HE is,
and then you'll know who you are:
Rescued, redeemed, beloved daughter and son of THIS God.
Yes. Now----Believe it.