In the last post, I described my feelings and the questions I had for God. I wrote how doubt and unbelief are not the same and how we shouldn’t feel ashamed of our questions or our feelings.
Since then, I’ve tried to dig deeper at why I was asking those questions. Why was it so important to me to tell God all the things I’ve done and ask how something bad could happen to me again? Why did I need answers on why God would allow Aaron and me to live apart for a year, only for it to be in vain?
After some time, I came up with an answer. I didn’t doubt God’s goodness, his faithfulness or his love, I doubted myself. I know God is love. I know he is Truth and life; I know he is a Good Shepard, but I wondered if I was the one person in existence that failed so badly I couldn’t receive his love. I wondered if I could be unloveable.
At our core, I think we all have these questions. Many times they’re too painful to say aloud, so we ask other questions instead, just as I did. We think telling God all the things we’ve done will win his mercy and grace, and if we’re really lucky, maybe those good acts will also win his love.
Of course, I don’t express these things. I know logically we can’t earn grace, mercy or love. However, there is a small voice in my head that beckons me to ask these questions. The voice starts small, insignificant, “Maybe, you need to do more.” I ponder the suggestion, and louder I hear, “Maybe it’s you. Your friends don’t seem to have these issues, nor does your family. It seems like you are the common denominator.” This thought stings, and in my emotionally fragile state, it seems true.
In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself relying more on the Spirit. I’ve needed strength and not the kind I could find within me. I’ve been reading the Psalms, and I love how open David is about his anguish. He seems to be able to capture the longings of my heart. I notice while David crawls to the feet of God and pours out his heart, he remembers the goodness of the Lord. I’ve been trying to do this myself. Remembering and listing off all the times God has sustained me.
At the recommendation of Aaron, I started reading a book Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. Greg is a wonderful story-teller, and in the first chapter, he recalls a time when he’s working overseas. He is a new priest and is going to a village to hold a mass, something that hasn’t happened there in a very long time. He forgets a key piece to the mass and is not very good with the language, so he stumbles through, thinking to himself, he must be the worst priest this village or maybe even the the worst priest the world has ever seen. As he’s replaying the terrible service in his mind, he sees an older man come up to him. The man gestures for Greg to put his head down and then lavishes handful after handful of flower petals on to Greg’s head.
Our society tells us we must earn what we’re given. If we fail, we must work harder, do more with less, and make ourselves better than the person beside us. As Christians, we let these ideas slip over into our faith instead of basking in the joy of undeserved love. God, however, just wants our hearts. He just wants to lavish us with flowers on our heads. His greatest joy is loving us, just as we are.
The beauty that saves is in this knowledge. We are not kinda, sorta, if-he-hasta loved by God. We are cup-running-over, flowers on our head, dancing in the rain, loved by God.
When I finished listening to Greg’s story, I cried. I no longer asked if I was loveable. Instead, I let the love of God lavish over me. I basked in it, overwhelmed with joy and hope. Dear one, I encourage you to do the same. You are so loved, more than you know. Let His love fill you to the brim and run over.