Last week, I went on a road trip with a group of gals to a church about an hour away from Pine City. We decided to take a short-cut. Unfortunately, the short cut was a road that had not yet been cleared from the snowstorm 2 days prior. It took us 45 extra minutes to get to our destination.
How often do we try to take short cuts in life, only to be harbored by the rough road we choose?
I often get caught in the performance trap, trying to make up all the wasted time; I was a prodigal daughter and I want to make up for the spoiled brat I used to be and still am at times. I often battle the feeling that I am not worth God’s time or love. I don’t fully understand love in general so I study the bible in hopes to learn how to love in a healthy way. The fear of being unloved will affect my ability to retain or absorb what I read, will affect my ability to wholly believe with everything in me, every part of the bible. Not to mention affecting my ability to apply it to life. Does anyone else feel this way? Please tell me I am not alone!
When I was a non-believer my stance was I did not believe in all the fantastical things that the bible records. None of the miracles, none of the stories of redemption, and especially Jonah in the whale, it is physically impossible! Pastor Seth challenged us in a message a few years back to make the decision to believe. Don’t argue semantics, just choose to believe. It was from that message that I began to discard the old way of thinking and adopt a new life.
For Evergreen’s Christmas series, we have a huge God-meter on stage at church. Pride on one end, fear on the other and Godfidence in the middle. For today, the unbelief I need to get past is that I am not important. And every time I try to combat that thought I jump right over the Godfidence part of life and into pride like leap-frog.
The challenge is how to live a useful life, still realize it is not about me, and at the same time feel totally loved and confident of God’s love.
Many days I do not feel worthy to be part of God’s church. I am much like the apostle Paul in the sense that I slandered (murdered in my heart) Christians, I passed judgement, I made fun of the stero-type, I dis-trusted, I rebelled with my behavior, my language, my lifestyle, choosing the world over the word. Since I didn’t grow up in the church, what did I think I was rebelling and repelling from? I think there is the knowledge and the desire in every single human for that connection to God. I think everyone wants to be loved by God. I think it is built into our biology. I only spent a few short years in Sunday school, I barely remember the old dusty attic of the Lake George bible chapel where we met for class. I had a rudimentary understanding of the memorization of the books of the bible, some key prayers and passages, and of course I remember the felt board ‘make-believe’ stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Jesus. Even for that short period I was affected for my life to come. God was setting the stage, preparing my heart for this time, my life now. He prepares all of us, each of our histories has set the stage for what is to come.
When I came back into the fold, I snuck back in, hoping not to be noticed, for fear I would not be accepted, not by the people- although that is always a fear- but more importantly I wouldn’t be accepted by God. That I had drifted too far away, was not important to His work and not needed. And truthfully, I am not needed. God doesn’t need me to further his work for the kingdom, he can choose someone else to do the job I am doing. So, the fact that I am here, in this moment, that I am in the work I am, helping my church operate behind the scenes, teaching kids, teaching recovery from the prodigal life, proves that God loves me, He desires a relationship with me, wants me exactly where I am and I can wake up everyday and decide to partner with him or not. Love is about acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Acceptance of the responsibility of my role as a child of God, daughter of Christ and in so accepting, I can accept that God loves me. He has the same love for you. You have the same responsibility to choose. Do you accept it?
God cleared the road to me, just like a snowplow. And he cleared the way to you. Use the right road.
May God our father himself and our master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our father when our master Jesus arrives with all his followers. -1 Thessalonians 3: 11-13