A confession: I sometimes think that I spent a good portion of my early years moving in and out of a love-hate relationship with myself. I had moments when I felt I had some pretty remarkable qualities and good points. And then there were the dark and depressing days when I compared myself to those around me and almost always came up lacking in some way.
I had a difficult time befriending my true self. Can you relate?
This is a painful thing for me to admit. And then we consider God. Where was God during those days? I was a person in search of himself. I was trying to live like a good Christian young man on a roller coaster ride. God stood nearby watching my life unfold, watching me try my hand at a multitude of careers and interests, and all the while I don’t know if I ever fully received myself.
What a dynamic thought that is … a person who never fully received self.
Can you relate?
Psychologist would tell us that this is perhaps a more common occurrence today that we might want to admit. Many people suffer with a lack of self-acceptance.
And along with this self-acceptance comes a whole passel of loneliness and deep need.
I recently read Henry J. Nouwen’s book The Inner Voice of Love, which was written during a dark period in his life. He wrote this book mostly as a private diary, which ultimately got published.
Here is what Henry adds to this thought: “God does not want your loneliness; God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need.”
He continued: “Jesus dwells in your fearful, never fully received self. When you befriend your true self and discover that it is good and beautiful, you will see Jesus there. Where youare most human, most yourself, weakest, there Jesus lives. Bringing your fearful self home is bringing Jesus home.”
My goodness. This is great stuff. It is needed stuff. I encounter a lot of people who live in fear of their true self. They have not made many attempts to being their true self home for a reconciling relationship with their creator.
Those of us who suffer from this malady will often measure ourselves by the standards and successes we see others achieve. We may identify with their choice of clothes and try to emulate that, or even use certain phrases and ideologies we pick up from others, just because it sounds right.
Perhaps, God through Christ stands nearby and simply wants to come alongside each of us simply to receive us as we are. He made you and me with our proclivities, our talent pool, our potentiality and our body type and He loves everything He has put within us.
He knows my hairy back and loves every hair. He knows my propensity for left-handedness. He knows I love the drums, and Diana Krall, Beethoven’s Fifth and The Ventures (they were a 50’s & 60’s rock band).
Christ simply wants to embrace everything there is about me and accept me with the whole bundle of my life as I am. I come bringing it all to Him.
And you can too.
God does not ask us to dress up, clean up, or shape up before coming to Him for help. He welcomes the bedraggled, the burnt out, the low self-esteem thinkers, the butt-draggers, the foggy minded and the sincere weakling. God wants to befriend you and me in whatever state we find ourselves.
He wants to do the work of redemption on us and put us in a right frame of mind.
Are we willing to be changed?
The invitation is a simple one:
“Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened down with all kinds of issues. I will give you rest. Take my ways upon you; learn about me, for I am gentle and easy to be with, and you will find rest for your weary soul.”
Come on home. Bring your fearful self home to God.
P Michael Biggs
One Word at a Time