Monday, September 24, 2012
As a child, I had 3 aunts and a grandmother that liked to go fishing. I would sometimes go with them and my favorite thing to do was watch the bugs that looked like they were "skating" on top of the pond water. They are called "skimmer bugs" and they are light enough to just skim the surface without going into the actual water. This week I was reading about the relationship that our Heavenly Father wants to have with us as His children. I think that for most of my life, my relationship with God was like those bugs skimming superficially along on the water. I wanted Him at arms length. Sure, I prayed. But most of my prayers were shallow ones....God, please help me on this test (even though I didn't study)....please let this boy love me (even though I don't love myself)...please protect my friends and family (don't have time to get them all in by name or specific need). Who did I think I was kidding by keeping my innermost desires and plans from Him? He KNOWS me. He knows me better than my family, my husband or my best friend. In Psalm 139 it says that "Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely". My Heavenly Father made me and created my inmost being. He knew me in my mother's womb. He is familiar with ALL of my ways. Wait....ALL of my ways?
Growing up, I saw God as punitive. I thought that if I was bad, he wouldn't love me and would punish me, and if I was good, then He would love me and my life would work out exactly as I wanted it to. I am a people pleaser, so this concept came naturally to me. I tried to follow all of the rules. I attended church weekly, minded my parents, didn't drink or cuss (hard to believe, I know) and made all A's. Know what? I still didn't feel like God loved me, nor did I have a personal connection with Him. I felt like I was always disappointing Him and letting Him down. The missing key was a relationship. A real relationship...one that goes down deep into my inmost being. God wants to hear about my day, the good and the bad. He wants me to talk to Him about hurts, triumphs, dreams, goals, failures...ALL of it. Think about the relationships you have with people. If all you do is talk to them about superficial things, your relationship with them will remain on the surface. All it took for my relationship with God to go deep was a seed that was planted in me by another person. I received a letter that said..."God loves you just the way you are. Nothing you can do will make God love you any more or any less." Whaaaat? I can't earn His love?? I am a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but seeing this statement in black and white gave me a truth to hold onto. God loves me. He always has, and always will. I am a daughter of the most high God. By holding onto His love and learning to receive love from others, our relationship continues to grow deeper and has taken root in all areas of my life.
Guess what happened as a side effect? I learned that I am not alone! Not only is God with me and for me, but He has some followers that love me too! I mean really love me. I've learned what agape love feels like and looks like. I've learned to let people know the real me and sometimes I am not easy to love. I've learned to form deeper relationships with my friends and family. I've learned that perfection is impossible for me, but He loves me anyway. Once we have our identity in Christ, we can share our story with other people and build relationships that draw people closer to Him. When I truly received His love for me, it changed me. I really am a new creation. I want to tell others about this unconditional love of the Father. I want to show people that they are worthy, accepted and loved. I recently read a book called "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller. This quote stood out to me..."I think the most important thing that happens in Christian spirituality is when a person falls in love with Jesus". I have to wholeheartedly agree with a big grin on my face. No more skimming the surface...I'm going deep.