Can you think about anyone you enjoy spending time with? What do you enjoy about being with them? Are you able to identify all the little lovable things about them that motivates you to carve time out of your day for them? Do you have favourite past times, formed over the course of your friendship/relationship? What are they? Do you miss them when you are apart? How long can you go without speaking to, or seeing them?
It feels like I am grilling you doesn’t it? And maybe you are thinking, where in the world is she going with this? Honestly, up until this moment, I had no clue. But let’s dive in.
We often talk about being our authentic self, yet somehow exclude God from this said authenticity. I have been one to place God over there, outside the boundaries of my everyday life. Sadly, like I once did, some think that this is the unspoken requirement for reverence/respect. I was also of the mind that my issues were largely small, in comparison to that of others, and so thought that requesting His much needed attention was selfish. Then of course the shame. I was pretty ashamed about what seemed to be a huge chunk of everything I was doing at the time, and so like Adam and Eve, hid behind a metaphorical tree, and unfortunately, there were many trees. I put God at arms length, and consequently deprived myself of enjoying the intimacy of His depths; the inner rooms reserved for the ones that are curious enough to seek, humble enough to surrender, and bold enough to disrobe in His presence.
Every time I have felt far from God, it has been because I prioritized something, or someone over Him. However, it was the shame that kept me glued to my chosen corner of whatever space I was in, clamouring with my thoughts. So, back to the one(s) you enjoy spending time with. Is there anything you can imagine not forgiving them for? Before you answer, think about all the good times, the bants and laughs, the joyful thrills of lived experiences shared hand in hand. The phone calls till 4am. The brunches, and UFC fights. The walks, and jet ski races. Even the fights that only made your heart grow fonder…ish. In this context, what is one grievance that you could think of that would be big enough to make you consider walking away from this person?
Can we shift gears? How would you feel if you found out that they could not tell you something because they were ashamed? Or better yet, what if you were the one with the grievance, and they walked away from you?
At this point, I want you to be thankful that we have a God whose fatherhood is not predicated on performance or perfection, but on faithful surrender. A Father whose love is not tied to the human condition, or emotions. A Father who sees His son when He looks at us, not our sins. A Father who does not consider us, no matter the life lived, as trash but as His best work, made in His image, beautiful and wonderful. A Father who wants to be anywhere but over there. Anywhere being right there in the middle of your life, walking with you, hand in hand. A Father who disciplines, yet in the same breath submerges you in His love. A Father who appreciates your dimpled (or not), hairy (or not), potbellied (or not), uneven (or not) nakedness. Eloquent or not, degreed or not, ‘all together’ or not. If anyone deserves your authentic self, it is the One who loves you more deeply than the love you ascribe to your favourite, most loved, enjoyable person.
God is my favourite place. He is home. I hear folks say things like my husband is my everything, or I live for my children or my life is nothing without you et al. On the surface level, these all sound sweet. I have even awwwww’ed a time or two. That is until I realized that my husband, my children, my family and friends, my employer or employees, and everyone I will ever come in contact with in this life get the best of me because my everything is God, and Him alone. I can love them because He first loved me. I can be gracious to them, because He first showered me with grace. I can be kind to them, because He is far too kind to me. I can be forgiving, because who am I not to, when He has forgiven all my sins. I must say though that He is still working on me, on the forgetting part, and He is faithful to keep at it, as long as I am faithful in seeking Him. Basically, I cannot bring my authentic (God-breathed) self to anything or anyone when I am separate from God. This is why I make it a point to make room for Him, and why our conversations do not stop at the end of amen after my morning prayer. I enjoy Him for many reasons, but if for nothing else, that He took my wretched self, and showed me a whole new ‘world’, more dazzling than the unbelievable sights Aladdin crooned Jasmine over with 🙂 . He is also why I can enjoy my favourite people even more now, because I am not looking to anyone to fill me. He always fills what He forms.
Last question, I promise. Are you being your authentic self?