Risenness

A hard day, yes.  Rattled and unglued, yes.  Unable to cope, no.

How does the life-giving Spirit of the risen Lord manifest Himself on days like that?   In our willingness to stand fast, our refusal to run away and escape into self-destructive behavior.  Resurrection power enables us to engage in the savage confrontation with untamed emotions, to accept the pain, receive it, take it on board, however acute it may be.  And in the process we discover that we are not alone, that we can stand fast in the awareness of present risenness and so become fuller, deeper, richer disciples.  We know ourselves to be more than we previously imagined.  In the process we not only endure but are forced to expand the boundaries of who we think we really are.

Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted.  Pessimism and defeatism are never the fruit of the life-giving Spirit but rather reveal our unawareness of present risenness.

– Brennan Manning

 

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

– Colossians 3:1 (NLT)

 

God wanted His people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery—which is Christ living in you, giving you the hope of glory.

– Colossians 1:27 (GW)

 

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him…

– Ephesians 1:18,19 (NLT)

 

I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:20 (AMP)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Worth

It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are — not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them.  Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us.

– Brennan Manning

 

We cannot accept love from another human being when we do not love ourselves, much less accept that God could possibly love us.

– Anonymous

 

Our courteous Lord does not want His servants to despair because they fall often and grievously;  for our falling does not hinder Him in loving us.

– Julian of Norwich

 

Many Christians…find themselves defeated by the most psychological weapon that satan uses against them.  This weapon has the effectiveness of  deadly missile.  Its name?  Low self-esteem.  Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is a gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth.  This feeling shackles many Christians, in spite of wonderful spiritual experiences and knowledge of God’s Word.  Although they understand their position as sons and daughters of God, they are tied up in knots, bound by a terrible feeling of inferiority, and chained to a deep sense of worthlessness.

– David Seamands

 

But God loves who we really are — whether we like it or not.  God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding.  No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him.  As Merton said, “The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before Him.”  His love, which called us into existence, calls us to come out of self-hatred and to step into His truth.  “Come to me now,” Jesus says.  “Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you:  A Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs.  Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself.  At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it, a smoldering wick and I will not quench it.  You are in a safe place.”

– Brennan Manning

 

…love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 (NLT)

 

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

– Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)

 

Father,

My worth

is tied beautifully to Your complete worthiness

and Your love for me.

 

Let me not slip into

corrosive thoughts self-degrading

preoccupied

with my failures.

 

But keep me in

the place

where I know

I’m completely dependent on You

and loved beyond reason.

 

 

Surrendered to grace

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

Perfect

Self-loathing

Self-consciousness

and

Self-hatred

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

unconditional

perfect

stubborn

unrelenting

Love

 

desires an accepting of that love

unconditionally

 

– 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