Here’s the thing: I am really good at being selfish. It comes naturally because it is my human nature. Look out for myself, cast others aside, compare myself, try to elevate my social status, etc. It is all so selfish and so disgusting. I read about the Pharisees and project their wicked actions on others while cleaning the outside of my own cup and the inside remains dirty and tainted.
So here is my vow to you as I write this. I promise you honesty in my vulnerability. I speak from my heart and hope it touches yours.
I have been on a crusade of loving others unconditionally. As I hold my sword high and charge into the battle of loving others I am shaking inside. I am afraid I will not be loved in return. The very definition of loving unconditionally, loving like Jesus, is to love without any hesitation. No strings attached. Therefore I have lived under a false pretense that I have accomplished such an act. Here is the terrible truth that sat right in front of me and bared its gnashing teeth with its fiery eyes. The truth is that I have been too scared to love unconditionally. I can point to many causes and say, “This is the one, the most terrible.” But in the end, I have been lost in the illusion of the desire to be loved. I have learned and grown in my love and I can say with assured confidence that my love is not as cheap as it used to be. That is by grace and grace alone.
However, the timidity of the situation has finally come to its head. I can see me now as a shaking skeleton trying to build my own worth. Grasping at things around me and slapping them on my bones in an attempt to build my own skin. Things such as empty promises and half-hearted I love yous. Then I see the brighter spots where I felt illuminated from within. A warm fluttering brought life back to my deadened and numbed heart. Jesus appeared in all His glory to my shambles and took my hand. My frantic hand that was posting the miscommunication of my trust on my arm. He took that hand and stood me up. He tore away the petty strips of paper flesh and left me bare. Slowly, He took strips off His own skin and clothes me with them. He was never left bare though, just more illuminated by the Light my newfound skin was producing. From there He watched as I bounced back to my stained footsteps and made my true amends. Nothing required, everything given.
It is exhausting trying to prove to the world that you are worth loving. The facades and parading around with a greedy heart lends itself to impure motivations. When I enter friendships and relationships with these strings, I find myself running back to my insecurity. Through that my joy is stolen and my light dimmed. What is the weight of the perception of yourself from others? Throughout my journey I have torn down walls and shouted of triumph. I stood atop the rubble and looked around proudly, hand on hip smiling a toothy grin. I looked around and saw no one. No one to applaud me. My walls were broken so I rejoiced nonetheless. I see it now. The raw walls so close to me that I confused them with skin. Deceptive and smooth, no cracks or flaws to see in the marble slabs. These were the walls that would shake me to my core for they were the ones guarding it. My perception of myself from others. That I have to be strong and never vulnerable. That I must be cautious of my feelings because people will constantly let me down so therefore I must only rely on myself. Here lies the issue of unconditional love. Here is why I cannot lean on the love from others or rely on their responses to what I give them. My calling is to love others through His graciousness in my heart.
Be careful of who you put yourself above because we are all equal beggars at the dory of God’s mercy. I am neither above nor below anyone but rather will receive my own unique crown when I meet Him face to face. I will then immediately throw that crown at His feet in an act of worship and acknowledgement that He is my true King and my Beloved. I would be honored to wash His feet with my tears and dry them with my hair. I would be honored to even encounter the dirt He stepped on. So I must love others like I love the dirt on His feet. Uncontrollable and undeniable. Not for recognition but as my honor.
This is my final point,
At times I can find myself hesitating to meet others eyes and my shoulders can be slightly slumped. I, once again, am struggling with insecurity. I think to myself, “How can you be on top of the world at one moment then crumble the next?” I build myself up with false expectations then my humanity creeps in and I am suddenly unsure of myself. So I heave a heavy sigh and ask,
“When will I know my worth?”
I have been told that I should feel ashamed and that I am unworthy. I have been told, as a Christian, that the only way others can see me as good is through the works that I do. Personally, I prefer the term “follower of Jesus” because the title as a Christian has been dragged through the mud and holds a bitter taste in so many mouths. Living a life of false works is dangerous. I try to prove my worth by slaving away and then look around to see who saw me working. I reach the end of my own strength and then cry out to the Lord and ask Him where He is. He quietly whispers,
“Beloved, I have been beside you the whole time waiting for you to give Me your burdens. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
There is a separation between your flesh and soul. This may sound elementary but I believe that so many forget this concept and strive to be known by their flesh. However, your flesh has the connections to the impure human nature and is riddled with sin. That is what we fight every day. But your soul is good. It houses your dreams, your joy, and your hope. It is connected with its Creator and has conversations with Him daily. It is like the optic nerve. This nerve connects the eye to the brain. If the eye is how we perceive things and our brain is the Lord and all His glory then the connection must be strong to stay fulfilled. If the nerve is frayed or severed then the brain can no longer process things and the eyes are deemed damaged.
We must feed our souls with good things. Things such as prayer, the Word, worship, and simple things that make our souls feel like dancing. The connection is therefore stronger. This is the purpose for my Beloved hanging on a tree. This is what the Lord sees when He looks into my eyes. This is His beautiful creation. So here is where the revelation brings Light. We know we struggle with sin and that our human nature is flawed. We must not dwell on that. This was the cause of my slumped shoulders. If I abide to the sinful nature of my being for too long I almost forgot about the saving grace. I must focus on my soul. That is my true character and that is where my worth flows from. I take care of my body and allow it to be a beautiful carrying case for my soul but that is the limit to the power I give my flesh. So my pledge is to work continuously on my soul and the well being of my spirit. For that is where I find my worth.
My dear friends, with tears flowing down my face I pray that you will allow your walls to fall. To allow the Lord to work through your wounds with you and heal emotional hurts and hang ups. Please understand that the walls that are fallen do not leave you naked to the enemy’s attacks. Rather the Lord builds up new walls of faithfulness, endurance, peace, hope, prosperity, and so much more. These walls do not allow the darts of the enemy to penetrate your armor that the Lord has outfitted you with.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:14-18).