“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become — because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” – C.S. Lewis
With me in the light and night
With me when I’m full of fright
Of things that have been
Of things to come
Of things too big
With me in my joy and shame
With me when I’m all to blame
For wrong things done
For targets missed
For things I should’ve known
Who is like my God?
Who hides the weak in His protection
The humble, the broken, the mourning
He exalts, He completes, He comforts
Who is like my God?
Who pours so lavishly His love
The ugly, the guilty, the rejected
Find beauty, freedom, and acceptance
You used my broken heart
That I may discover Your love
You used my shame
That I may witness Your glory
Who does that?
Who loves the unlovable so passionately?
Who gives to the debtor so generously?
My faithful Lover
There is none like Him
I know I’m missing the second part of my series If I Had Kids, but I felt I should share this first after a conversation with a friend of mine.
My friend was telling me, “I’m trying to do so much but I feel so far away. I know I need Him but there are so many distractions. It’s like I can’t do enough.” As she was explaining to me how she felt about her relationship with God, I could almost picture myself not very long ago having exactly the same frustration. I’m sure many others have had this same gnawing feeling. I’m talking about the feeling of not doing enough for God.
The Root of Our Insecurity
This feeling of not being good enough is rooted in the standards and comparisons we find in society. This need to be impressive, to be attractive, comes from a very simple-minded equation that most of us have believed at some point: Be impressive, be excellent, be handsome or pretty, be successful, be as amazing as you can be so that you can attract someone who is equally amazing. Sounds fair right? We think this is also the formula to a great relationship:
Impressive partner + impressive partner = relational bliss.
This is why we are so easily attracted to seemingly “excellent” people. We have so many people on pedestals – many of them we really know nothing about other than what their PR agencies have released. But in this world of impressing and impressing, when someone no longer impresses us, and of course this will be the people you know best because you’ve gotten close enough, we feel like they’re not keeping their part of the deal.
We, the Impressive partner + them, the un-impressive partner = feelings of being shortchanged.
The problem with this is everyone, and everyone means everyone, isn’t anywhere close to the impressiveness they project. That includes me. I never post anything that I know will pull me down. I don’t post pictures of me taking a crap, or recordings of my snoring, or my clumsy kitchen work. I post poems, and drawings, and thoughts that took weeks to work on. So we’re actually in an internal back and forth of wanting to be impressive to deserve something impressive, but knowing we’re not actually that impressive, but still trying to project, still trying to expect to be impressed by someone, until we’re burnt out and jaded.
And all of a sudden, God comes into the picture and: You’re not the impressive one anymore.
Like with my friend, who in her past relationships, the guys were the lucky ones to have her. Now she was in a new spot: she was lucky to have God. Not only are you not the impressive one, you’re so so so far from His level. He’s more beautiful than you. He’s kinder than you, more generous. He’s more talented than you, more powerful. He’s lovelier than you, more respected.
He’s everything you want and everything you wish you could be.
But you know you need His love.
You know that no one has ever loved you this much.
That there has never been love this real.
So you do things the only way you know how: you work it.
You try to be impressive, to Him and to others who know you and Him, that they may may be impressed that you are His. You try to fix the equation of your relationship: God the beautiful + you, the reclamation project = ? It doesn’t make sense to us anymore. How am I going to keep this relationship if I don’t keep impressing Him enough to stay, to love me? Why will He want me if I’m not the pretty one? So we try harder. And harder. We try harder because we’re afraid to lose, to not deserve this beautiful person.
Until we get tired and out of pride say, “I’m tired of earning this! I don’t need this! All this does is make me feel ugly.” or in fear say, “I can’t meet the standard. I’m afraid I’m going to lose this. It’s not worth even trying. I’m never going to be beautiful enough.” Either way, we lose the most real love we have ever known.
But here’s a truth that may help you escape this trap of pride and fear: God doesn’t need a perfect you but He does want all of you.
God is perfect, and if He simply wanted perfect people, He would have made robots. But He wants love and a necessary ingredient to love is choice, and choice can only happen in a world of freedom – which includes the freedom to choose someone else.
Are we so proud to think that we can do anything to make us as beautiful or as impressive or as deserving as God? It will never happen.
But God’s equation is not like the world’s equation of love. It’s so different from mine and yours and that’s why we have such a hard time with it.
This is His equation: God + You = Relational Bliss
God removes the labels that make us deserve or not-deserve something. He simply wants us to run to Him. Even when He disciplines us and prunes our lives, it’s not to make us impressive but to remove the things that hurt us and keep us from becoming the beautiful person He sees in us.
Until our relationships go from: Impressive person + Impressive Person = Relational Bliss to God + Me = Relational Bliss it will always hit a point of frustration because it is so tiring to keep trying to be the pretty one when you know deep down you’re really not the pretty one here.
Yet, there is an embrace that awaits those who humble themselves and say, “God, You are most beautiful. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for accepting dirty, ugly, pretentious me, and marrying me despite the suffering and shame I cause You because of my wrong decisions. I really don’t understand but I’ll trust You because I believe in You.”
When we acknowledge God is most beautiful that is worship. When we thank Him that is gratefulness. God doesn’t need anything from us, but I’m sure He enjoys embracing us, looking into our eyes, as we say, “You’re so amazing. I love You so much. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You for loving me.” This is the beautiful irony we find ourselves in. While we know we’re not the pretty one in this relationship, we feel more beautiful than ever because of this amazing love. Now if only we could get the nagging pride and fear out of the way.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2