The last few weeks have been...interesting. I would characterize them by saying that I have not been very happy with myself in various areas of my life. (#Loser) Do you ever feel like that? Goals and deadlines missed, lack of follow through, chores undone...mind not, well, focused. In the middle of all of that (and there's way more), answers to prayer have started to roll in...one after another in truly unpredictable, unforeseen ways. There have been specific answers in areas that have been prayed over for quite a long time. It has been amazing to me on so many levels. I feel completely unworthy, at this specific moment even more than usual, of having God answer my prayers.
It all reminds me of chapter four in the book Good and Beautiful God..."God is Generous." My goodness, He certainly is exactly that! Sometimes I forget to notice His generosity. This week He is, I think, making a point. He is just being generous with me, when in my estimation, I least deserve it.
In discussing God as generous, James Smith talks about performance based acceptance. This is the narrative of earning, or failing to earn (and therefore not deserving to get) what we want. "When every person in every situation in every day of our lives treats us on the basis of how we look, act and perform, it is difficult not to project that onto God." (pg. 77) How do we really think the Lord measures our worth?
Smith goes on to say, "Guilt, fear, shame and the hunger for acceptance become the primary motivators in our performance based culture." (pg 77-78) So true isn't it? We have to (or often think we have to) earn our way to acceptance in most every part of our world. It only makes sense that we start to think that we have to earn God's favor and acceptance, even His love, too. For me, the sad truth is that I can be so hard on myself...that I get caught in this performance cycle. I try to change my attitude and do better in order to be found acceptable...in my own eyes, and in the eyes of everyone around me, including the Lord. This is an exhausting way to live.
Instead of letting me wallow in this false narrative, Jesus reaches down and pulls me up into the truth. He loves us so much...He just does. He has demonstrated His love on the cross...and now He just keeps giving. The way the Lord has graciously woven together so many answers to prayer this week has me incredulous. These past three weeks have been very difficult in terms of feeling worthy of any good gifts, as I said. My days have been less than stellar. I've done some stupid things (lost my wallet--insert appropriate emoji), and I've lost my temper...I have not been grateful, I've been pretty whiny actually. I take SO much for granted.... When people say something like, "I'm so happy for you, you deserve it!" I just cringe, honestly. If I got what I deserved, it would not be pretty.
I so often live in Romans 7, doing what I don't want to do, thirsty for Romans 8, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. By His grace, He always gets me there; to a place of recognizing He doesn't condemn me...and even all the way to the end of chapter 8 and NOTHING can separate me from His love. OH how He loves us... He gets me there by continuing to steadily love me, no matter what. He takes care of me, teaches me, grows me deeper into His truth as I seek Him even when I am feeling unlovable.
James Smith asks a bit later in the chapter, "If you fell more deeply in love with God, how might that change your behavior?" GREAT question. What if I stop trying to be worthy of His love, and just let myself be loved by Him?
The more I let Him love me, really love me, the more I fall in love with Him. Grace, grace and more grace. His grace is amazing...I don't mean that as cliche, I mean that as heartfelt truth. How is it He is so patient, so kind, so gentle, so constant, so quick to forgive me, so steady in His expectations without shaming me in any way...?
I am not less than, I am His daughter. Even when I'm not "performing" well in my day to day life, it doesn't seem to change anything with Him or His generosity towards me. He is wearing me down with His love and goodness...I can't resist Him. He is calling us all to this love adventure...I am saying yes to Him. It is the best yes ever.
How about you? Have you ever been on a #loser roll and the Lord intervened? Or maybe He hasn't yet and you are wondering how to connect with a love like that? I'd love to hear your comments and/or thoughts...