I am a soccer mom. A football mom. A basketball mom. A baseball mom. I am my kids’ biggest fan. I love watching them do what they love to do. I am so proud when I see them pour so much passion into their sport. I love watching them succeed. But guess what…when they struggle in a game, or when they don’t score, or when they mess up out there, I don’t love them any less. I still love them will all that I am. No question. No doubt. The more goals they score, or catches they make – that doesn’t make me love them more either. This may sound pretty simple – and really it is. It’s called love. Unconditional love. But as simple as it may seem on the surface, and as logical as it is to my brain, I sometimes forget that my heavenly father has the same kind of love for me (only on a much deeper level that is more than my brain can comprehend). So if I know how I love my children regardless of how they “perform,” and I know that God loves me as a child of His, why is it so hard for me to accept and embrace the fact that God loves me regardless of how I “perform”? I don’t have to try and please God just to make him love me more. He loves me infinitely regardless of my actions. He already proved that love when He sent His son to die for me. I WANT to please God and live a holy, sanctified life – but let’s keep it real…I’m very human and I will fall, try again, and fall some more. And even in my failures, God doesn’t stop loving me. God doesn’t love me less. And when I try to please and “do” and try some more, God doesn’t love me anymore. He can’t love me anymore than he already does. My kids don’t have to earn my love by “doing” things. It’s free to them. It doesn’t change based on their actions. I don’t have to earn God’s love by doing…I just have to accept it. I can stop being so hard on myself and accept that I am a beloved daughter of God and that He loves me for exactly who I am. He is my biggest fan.
Sometimes the first step is the hardest to take. The first word the hardest to say. I was shaped by tragedy. My personality formed under traumatic circumstances. I say that not as my crutch – but just as my reality. I know that Jesus is my savior and that he has rescued and redeemed me. I get that I am no longer who I used to be and that I don’t have to live in my past – I get it – in theory. But the practicality of it is that I am who I am right now based on who I was shaped to be back then. Could God completely wipe clean the hard drive of my personality and make my character new? Absolutely he could. But I don’t think that God will do that because he knows that if I struggle through this change as he works slowly on me then I will be truly changed. Now – I pause here to say that I already have been changed so much. I no longer carry with me many of the destructive behaviors of my past. My decisions are guided now by the Spirit rather than by my own selfishness. My outlook is one of hope rather than hopelessness and despair. I have already experienced great change by the grace of God. But I feel more and more that I must become responsible for some of my own deeper growth and change (some of those personality things) so that then I will see the true me, the image-bearer me come alive. While none of us can really claim our own successes – we are nothing without God – I do believe that God will allow me to struggle through in order to build up my faith. And if I seek him in and through it all then that struggle becomes a “productive” struggle as I grow and transform. There is a lot about me that I wish were different. But me is who I am and merely wishing won’t change me. My faith in God, lived out daily, my trust and hope in his power to transform, and my desire to seek him and his guidance in every moment of struggle – those are the things that will bring about my desired change. Those things will be my transforming power.
There are a lot of things that are hard about being human. Life is messy. Sometimes it’s hard. And at times it just sucks. I think that the hardest thing about being human is emotions. Emotions are powerful! They can be debilitating. Sometimes they can’t be contained. Now before I go any further I will acknowledge that there are plenty of good, positive emotions that arty the same attributes as the bad ones. For example, pure joy can overflow and cause tears of happiness. But there are also plenty of “negative” emotions that are just as strong, if not stronger. One of these is anger. It can be ugly. It will control the mind and the tongue, causing thoughts and words that are not truly reflective of the person speaking them. Sadness, hurt, pain and loneliness kind of all wrap up into one big pile of messiness that can weigh down and smother ones spirit. I think that one of the hardest feelings I have dealing with is when someone I love is experiencing sadness or pain. This feeling should really have a name of its own. I have learned how to cope with (perhaps not in the best way) my own emotions…but for me to watch someone I love suffer through anger or sadness is nearly overwhelming. But the flip side is even sweeter too. The joy of watching someone you love be at peace and filled with their own joy is amazing (sorry that word is so overused). So I’m not really sure what my point is (if there is one at all) Exocet that I am truly fascinated with the ability to feel things the way we do as humans. It makes me wonder how Jesus dealt with his array of emotions while he was human. The Bible talks about his anger. And sorrow. And grief. And yet we know he never once sinned even as he dealt with those emotions. I’m fascinated by his mind and his thoughts. And it brings me comfort to know that since he did walk the earth as a human that he felt the same things I do. He understand my prayers when I ask for help dealing with my human emotions.