Love I Can Rest In

I don't have the answers for myself right now. I struggle to really believe all of the truths I know to be absolutely true.  I thought I was stronger; to find out that I'm really weak is shaming. I thought I was thoroughly prepared for the next season of storm, but in truth I didn't believe that I'd walk this road again. I thought I had it all together. This time around I would be prepared and "woman up" impressively. No one would even know I was walking through another valley. They would applaud my strength and immovable faith. There was no room for weakness or failure. No way would I fail this time.

I wanted that image and when everything was going well, maybe I did achieve that image just a little bit. A belief that you've finally arrived at the height of Christianity. A belief that people will never reject you because you have real strength, real faith. A belief that God will never reject you as long as you feel and do all the right things. Maybe you could finally be good enough for God.

Because you see, the woman I really am deep down in her flesh doesn't feel accepted; she feels rejected. The woman I am doesn't feel confident; she shifts shapes. The woman I am doesn't feel unconditionally loved; she feels loved as long as she is the right kind of person. The woman I am isn't resilient; she is uncommonly sensitive and easy to wound. The woman I am often feels she has the wrong kind of personality to feel like she can really be loved and known; too quiet, too mellow. The woman I am wears a mask.

And the strong woman I wish to be just isn't strong right now.

And it's not just me. A lot of you who are reading this do not believe that God loves you. You look at the mess inside and it's ugly and you believe that the God of this universe does not, could not, really love you. You know you're saved, but you're still hiding, you're still performing, you're still working for acceptance not just to gain other people's love, but God's. And if you do have a mess you would like people to believe that it's past and put away, not current and gnawing at the walls of your soul. That you've come through it already, not walking through it presently because what if they reject me?

And those of us who are still performing don't understand grace. We can't accept God's grace and in turn we can't give grace to others because we demand of them the same law that we live by. We are very, very tired and we desperately want to be truly known and truly loved. 

But here's the truth. There is always a point where you'll be knocked off of your feet and unable to perform any more. There will inevitably come a circumstance where you feel the weakness deeply and by yourself, you cannot be strong enough. A time where you have to be honest with yourself, with other people, and most importantly with God and admit that this one is bigger than you and you can't perform or pretend any of it away. 

But the truth still remains whether you feel it or not. Whether you choose to accept it or not. Whether you choose to rest or still work for a love you've already been given and a grace that has already been extended.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
— Jeremiah 31:3
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:35-39

It's uncomfortable to take off the mask of performance; admit I don't have answers and that this road is harder than I ever thought it would be. That being real means admitting that there are lots of days where I don't look right, feel right, act right. There are lots of times where I shudder at my own disbelief and the tired that comes with trying and getting it all wrong. Oh but in the tired, I am ever more anxious, desperate, to accept His love that I know with absolute relief is true. I'm not in a cruel dream where I awake and the beautiful disappears almost un-remembered. I accept it thirstily and readily.

I don't have to be everything right. I can rest in God's unconditional love that made it all right.

For now, 
Jennifer

 


 



 

Zachary Ray Langley

"...lean not on your own understanding."