"And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all"
They say that love is blind, especially of new love. In my experience there have been so many times when I felt this to be an attribute of God - that He has a sort of blind love for us. Not that He is blind, no, far from it. But He loves us so incredibly and patiently and forcibly as if (it seems) he does not notice our shortcomings. Today I again had the immense pleasure of realizing this again. He spoke only a couple words, but in them was such an overwhelming flood of love that told me of and showed me of His love for me as well as what the last year or more has been about.
In the last year or more I have been in a place of wandering and wondering, fighting and arguing, giving up and giving in until eventually I simply took whatever came as it was and stopped thinking much at all about...anything. I only knew that God was working, and that was it. The anger and frustration I felt and continue to feel seemed unexplainable and unwarranted, yet it's presence is undeniable. I had given up asking God why I was feeling so negative because there was never any answer except the subtle yet undeniable hints that He was at work. I think that because I over think so much, He had to get me to the place of surrender. When I say surrender, I mean that I gave up trying to figure it out, gave up asking or arguing, and no longer cared at all what any of my fellow Christians thought of me or my actions or behavior (after all I have friends who are not Christians and they love me just how I am). So I allowed (and continue to allow) myself to really feel everything and to be open to all that I might see and hear and weigh it all without much of any religious influence.
When the bible talks about surrendering all to Him, about dying to self and giving up your pride, we have all been taught what kinds of things that should include. Either that, or this is how I have perceived it. Here's what I mean.
My False Perceptions
Surrendering All = giving up... things, time, money, dreams, etc.
All material things along with things like time with your family to "be with the Lord", surrendering your time, resources, talents and desires.
Dying to Self = giving up "fleshy desires" like (if I am honest) fun
All the "do not’s" - don't smoke, don't drink, don't dance (in any way that is "unholy"), don't swear, don't lose your temper, don't spend (too much) money on yourself, etc.
Giving up my pride = do not boast or take credit or pride in, about or for anything
We can do nothing without God and we should say things like "God be praised!" for every feat great or small and give Him ALL the credit verbally and incessantly so that all can hear and know that you are not full of yourself.
Though there is some truth in each of these, the slant I viewed them from was a bit ridiculous. I really only saw these things through religion's lenses, as law; as in if you don't do the do's and do the don'ts, life and after life is going to be hell. Don't ask me where I got these religious glasses from, as I have no idea! Here's the thing; growing up the way I did in a loving Christian home has it's definite benefits, however just like anything there are pros and cons. One of the cons being that I never really questioned anything, but took a lot for granted. So when normal but difficult life occurrences began affecting me and those close to me, I couldn't understand why, when we were doing everything "right," crap continued to go wrong. Life continues to prove to me that even though I am a Christian, hard things were going to come my way - and they did... and do.
The beauty of God though is that He can take anything. If you think He is shocked by your show of emotion, your mistakes, or your anger, you are sadly mistaken. See, you forget (as I often do) that He made you! Every fiber of your being is known and loved by God! He took pride in His work. He knows your temper, your quirks, your desires, your cares, your oddities, tenancies, emotions, will, glories and failures, past, present, and future! To top that off, He loves you so much that He won't let you stay that way, but will continue to promote good change in you.
I acted at first like a spoiled brat raising my fists in anger at God and begging Him to change and improve my situations. Then I became the sulking teenager with a "screw you" and "whatever" attitude. Eventually though, I came to the conclusion (with the help of the wise) that no matter what happens and even though I'm extremely angry and frustrated, He is still here inside of me, working and loving and moving. Even though I'm mad as hell and don't understand a thing about what is going on, I don't want Him to leave. Whether I like it or not, my heart is inevitably and irrevocably His because I chose Him so long ago and continue to choose Him. So, I let Him work...
Part 2 will be posted Tuesday of next week!