do not lead to true humility
but lead only to increased self-absorbtion
Let us not waste time
being engrossed in how we don’t hit the mark
but focus our energies on Almighty God
the One whose
desires an accepting of that love
– Susie Stewart
It used to be that I never felt safe with myself unless I was performing flawlessly. My desire to be perfect had transcended my desire for God. Tyrannized by an all-or-nothing mentality, I interpreted weakness as mediocrity and inconsistency as a loss of nerve. I dismissed compassion and self-acceptance as inappropriate responses. My jaded perception of personal failure and inadequacy led to a loss of self-esteem, triggering episodes of mild depression and heavy anxiety.
Unwittingly I had projected onto God my feelings about myself. I felt safe with Him only when I saw myself as noble, generous, and loving, without scars, fears , or tears. Perfect!
But on that radiant morning in a cabin hidden deep in the Colorado Rockies, I came out of hiding. Jesus removed the shroud of perfectionist performance and now, forgiven and free, I ran home. For I knew that I knew Someone was there for me. Gripped in the depth of my soul, tears streaming down my cheeks, I internalized and finally felt all the words I have written and spoken about stubborn, unrelenting Love. That morning I understood that the words are but straw compared to the Reality. I leaped from simply being the teacher of God’s love to becoming Abba’s delight. I said good-bye to feeling frightened and said shalom to feeling safe. What does it mean to feel you are in a safe place? That same afternoon I wrote in my journal:
To feel safe is to stop living in my head and sink down into my heart and feel liked and accepted…not having to hide anymore and distract myself with books, television, movies, ice cream, shallow conversation…staying in the present moment and not escaping into the past or projecting into the future, alert and attentive to the now…feeling relaxed and not nervous or jittery…no need to impress or dazzle others or draw attention to myself…Unselfconscious, a new way of being with myself, a new way of being in the world…calm, unafraid, no anxiety about what’s Going to happen next…loved and valued…just being together as an end in itself.
– Brennan Manning
Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only His child redeemed in Christ.
– James Finley
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith….
– Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
– Ephesians 2:4-9 (NLT)
Photo taken by Susie Stewart