Friday, September 18, 2015

Because He First Loved Me

Yesterday, I said that I want to be comfortable with Jesus, and I don't think I can unless I'm first comfortable with myself. But the more I grow and mature and discover who I am, the more I discover that the exact opposite is true:

I cannot be comfortable with myself until I am comfortable with Jesus. 

Here's why: it's because every time I think I know who I am, every time I think I've got something essential about myself figured out, and I bring that offering of what I think is my best self to God, I find something more of myself there. Nestled in His hand, an even greater truth of who I am is revealed than I could have possibly dreamt or imagined outside of His loving touch. And I find that here, I am forced to discover myself all over again and come to terms with who I am now. 

So it follows that the best way to come to terms with who I am is to settle into the palm of God's hand until I figure it out, and then go from there.

This actually works, by the way. It's not just a good theory or something holy-sounding. The more I let myself come to rest in God's presence, the more I discover who I really am and the more comfortable I am with myself. Not only comfortable, but happy. Content. And even more than content, excited! I come to be enthralled with the idea of being who God created me to be, and I only discover that in His presence. It's simply undiscoverable outside of Him. 

And even if you don't buy the whole God thing, this is still true. It's still true that if you spend your life trying to figure out who you are, you will keep coming into places, situations, where something else starts to speak into your life and you have to discover all over again whether who you thought you were still fits. You're stuck in this process of rediscovering yourself over and over and over again every time circumstances change, every time something new happens. 

The only time I've ever found that this rediscovery isn't necessary is when that something else that speaks into your life is Love. If you're comfortable with what Love says about you, then you're comfortable with literally anything. You can just relax, rest and be who you are. Who Love says you are.

It's really quite nice. 

That doesn't make it easy, though. There's a lot of squirming that goes on, I'll admit. Because I think there's something in us that wants to be comfortable in our own skin before we come naked even before Love. But that's not how it works. We come clothed in our best imaginations before Love, and Love starts stripping away our meager coverings and revealing our tender skin. Love shows us intimately who we are, and it's awkward. It's uncomfortable. There's something about shame that keeps us reaching for our own ideas once more. But the more Love wraps its arms around us and runs its tender hands over our exposed flesh, the more we come to discover who we really are.

It sounds erotic, and it is. It absolutely is. It's not sexual, in the way that we so often think of sex, but it is the most intimate experience we can possibly have in this flesh, sex included. That moment that love speaks and tells you who you sets your whole flesh tingling. And it's this whole experience of being truly, wholly, fully, nakedly loved that finally makes you comfortable in your own skin. It makes you comfortable with who you are. 

All because you become comfortable with Jesus. 

To be honest, I don't know how someone without God does it. I don't know how someone without this kind of love ever comes to know who they even are. I don't know how someone who never has the chance to rest in the confident assurance of being loved has any idea about their worth, their loveliness, their very self. Because I find it absolutely essential for me, and trust me - I have spent a lot (and I mean, a lot) of time trying to figure out how to love myself. 

And it turns out the Word is true: I can love only because He has first loved me. That love, that perfect love, lets me love myself and all that I'm created to be. 

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