1 + 1 = 2.
Any number multiplied by zero equals zero.
Welcome to math? Nah. Those are just two examples of basic math that will never change. I can understand them. I accept them. I have had to prove them and pass tests over them. At the time, I was a little girl and I understood them just fine. I am no longer a little girl and yet, I still get this information. It’s ingrained in my early childhood education while at Blanchard School.
Do you know what IS difficult for me to comprehend at times? Love. Not just any love but, specifically, God’s love…for me.
This is a foundational belief of the Christian faith. His love for the believer in Christ is tied to what He sent Jesus to do for mankind – to die in our place because of our sins, because there was no other way to make atonement due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away our sins and the penalty of them (eternal separation from God). We needed the perfect sacrifice. Jesus was then and still is the only answer to that equation. He had to live so that He could die…and come back to life on the third day. He is now seated at the right hand of God in the heavens where He intercedes on our behalf. God had to come in the form of the man, Jesus (fully man and fully God), in order to understand this life in the physical body and in order to be tempted in all things. Yet, He remained without sin. He was tempted in all things, but did not succumb to sin. By this, He can sympathize with us in our weaknesses. Therefore, He is the perfect High Priest for us.
He proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).
Therein lies the rub for me and why I still have such a hard time with the basic fact of God’s love for me. My weaknesses get in the way of my understanding God’s unconditional love for this me, a vapor here today and one day gone. My life is just a “blip” on the radar screen of eternity.
I have many weaknesses. One is so common among many. To me, however, it’s an all out battle. I feel at times, that it is going to be forever my war. I want so much to be free of this war. But, there is this ongoing commentary that runs in my head at times when I am beset with reminders of my weakness. It is the reminder of past success in this particular area coupled with the reminder of failure; for if I had truly succeeded in overcoming this weakness I would not still have issues with it and thus, be the failure I hear about myself.
And so, I go about my daily life smiling and laughing with most people when only those with whom I am most comfortable hear the comments I make about myself. I read a book one time that said we shouldn’t put ourselves down in front of others because it makes them feel uncomfortable and forces them to notice what you are so focused on in yourself that they can’t help but see it and perhaps agree with you (maybe not to your face, but in their heads). Although I have had some point it out when I wasn’t even asking for commentary; when I had said nothing. Another book said that gracious ladies do not point out their flaws. Period. A third said that true women do not even allow this issue to become their weakness. Boy, is that an impossible dream. I wanted to write that author and suggest she wake up to reality. I really wanted to know what she looked like…
These ideas of and from women end up forcing me to heap a bit more condemnation on myself because I do not do as they suggest I should. And so, I stuff more accusing junk on top of the other and try to tote all this misery around. Side note here; were you aware that one of Satan’s names is the “accuser of the brethren”?
In Hebrews, we’d call this condemnation we buy into an “encumbrance”. And that is exactly what it is. Ultimately, my encumbrance is not only the condemnation but also the weight of my own expectations of myself. For some reason, I have adopted the mentality that my expectations of me and God’s expectations of me are one and the same. Furthermore, I believe more often than not (I’m being really honest about this) that if I did not meet my expectations for myself, then God will be displeased with me and, GASP, love me less.
There it is. I said it.
So, what’s the solution? I believe there are several parts to the solution and they may not go in a particular order as they are all related. Somewhere along the way, my thinking has gotten messed up. So, I must:
- renew my mind so I can be transformed rather then conformed to the world’s thoughts (Romans),
- rehearse and memorize the basic truths in Scripture about God’s love in order to refute the lies and schemes of the enemy,
- meditate on those basic truths until they replace those wrong thoughts and also so I can pull them out when the enemy wants to talk ugly to me,
- remind myself that not only is God a righteous judge, but He is also a loving and merciful Father and that I need to practice grace and mercy on myself,
- remember that I am victorious with Christ and that I am no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).
Do you see the common thread of the place of origin for these things? It begins in my head. Lord, help it to move from there to my heart…such a short distance it seems but I am and have been wandering in the wilderness inbetween that space for most of my adult life.
Oh, I can know it in my head. I want to believe it in my heart.
Can anybody else relate?