My journey over the past five years has been an exhilarating and painful one. I know firsthand that pain is necessary for true healing to take place. I also know that I don’t like pain, so I avoid it, and prolong my own healing. Slowly but surely I’m learning to embrace pain rather than run from it. For me, this is only possible by crawling into God’s lap and allowing Him to hold me.
I was unable to do this when I saw God always looking at me with a disappointed look on His face. I was constantly performing for the approval of God and others…a performance treadmill that will flat wear you out! When you are trying to keep up the appearance of perfection, you must keep people at arm’s length because the closer they get the more chinks they see in your armor. I was the guy who was popular and knew everyone, but was lonely to the core. I knew that people loved the Tray that I had allowed them to see…the QB…the minister…the co-worker…but I knew that no one would love the real me. I longed for a place that I could just relax and be myself.
Out of His love for me, God exposed me. My persona came crashing down all around me. I was left staring at my own frailty and glaring imperfections. My reputation that I had worked for years to construct was gone.
God’s grace is only amazing when we truly understand how black and sinful our hearts are. The Gospel of Christ is a complete scandal! That is what makes it such Good News! I had worked so hard for years to be good because I felt that is what it took for God and others to love me. For years I had preached God’s unconditional love for the world but was brought face to face with the reality that at the core of my being I really didn’t believe that God loved ME unconditionally.
I am very thankful today for the journey that God has me on. He continues to amaze me with His faithfulness in light of my unfaithfulness.
God’s love for us is unchanging…no matter what we have done or where we have been or how far we have strayed from Him. He pursues us like a jealous lover and wants what is absolutely best for us. With Christmas fast approaching, He reminds us again of what great lengths He has gone to pursue a relationship with us…Emanuel…God with us!