I think I’ll just lay it all out here, today. Yep. Why not speak some (not so lovely) truth in (this month of) love?
I think it’s overdue.
So, the truth is this blog business is kinda hard business. See, I keep going over and over in my mind and on my keyboard these ideas and thoughts that seem to consume me. Thoughts on God and my story with Him and where I’m going with all this and how I can actually get them from my head and into your heart in some coherent, attractive way so that you will see and know the Jesus that makes my life worth living.
Like, really… how am I supposed to share with you — most effectively — the heart I have for you to know the Jesus I’ve met without sounding like I’ve got this faith thing all figured out? (Not even close!) But, my heart is heavy and my mind is full and my experience walking out my story with the Creator of The Universe literally takes my breath away and, y’all… I just have such a burden to share it. And, I really, truly want to. Because, it really and truly is everything to me, and I know He wants us all to share Him really and truly…
But, oh my dear… I so stumble in the telling because I stumble in the sharing and get stuck, because…
Well… here we go. It’s gonna get real ugly, real fast.
I need you to approve of the sharing and telling because I want you to be pleased with me.
Yep. There it is. Hello, my name is Kacy and I’m a people pleaser. Well, at least that’s what I call it so it doesn’t sound as bad. It’s really more like I just need people to love and be pleased with me, so I can be free to live happily ever after in your loving approval.
(Is that too honest? Are you sitting there thinking all these awful thoughts about me? You know that’d be my worst nightmare, right??)
And, unfortunately, it doesn’t even stop there. See, if you do approve, it won’t matter since I really can’t love you back all that well. Nope. I’ll just want to fix you. Or, run from you. And, as much as I want you pleased with me, please don’t need too much back because I will let you down and then things will get really uncomfortable. And, comfort is kind of a big deal for me. Like idol status big. I actually seek out my comfort zone at all times and if you try and pull me from it, I will push back. Hard.
Oh, and it only gets worse. See, I’m real quick to judge and can be quite rude. I have screamed and shouted at my loves until my voice gave way. I have wielded words as a weapon toward many, often inflicting wounds that cut deep and scars that may never heal. What’s more, I can be selfish and ungrateful and quick tempered and moody and defensive and easily assume someone meant the worst. I can drink too much and eat too much and cuss too much and be altogether too much. And, I want to control your thoughts and actions even though I have next to no control of my own. I can easily forget you reflect the image of The Creator and try and remake you in my own image. Or, I can just as easily forget all I have is a gift from Him and end up holding back from you all the amazing grace I’ve received. And I can swing wildly from feeling like I have all the answers (while force feeding them to you!) to feeling I have nothing at all to offer — from pride to pity and back again — in under six seconds. Like that massive viking ship ride at the fair that swings dangerously from side to side until it finally just flips completely around. Dang, I hate that ride. But who can break free from the giant circle of death? Not me, so I’m caught circling round and round and round again until my mind becomes so spun around I’ve spent all my time up on me. And don’t even get me started on how I think it’s all about me…
So, the bottom line is… I am a broken, sin filled, all about me, person who is capable of inflicting the worst kind of damage. To myself and to others. I have been used and have used up way too many. I know regret and shame and fear like I know the faces of my two beautiful boys. I know jealousy and envy and gossip. I know when it comes to loving people, I fail miserably much of the time. I even know the list is nowhere near complete, but I’m exhausted in the retelling (as I’m certain you are in the reading), so let’s move to the good stuff.
Because, I also know something else… Someone else.
And, because Jesus… well, I know that list of ugly truth no longer gets to define me.
Because, this is what we’ve all got to know…
Jesus changes everything!
Oh. Yes. He. Does.
He changes our past and our future. His perfect life actually becomes our life. His perfect record actually becomes our record. It’s the glorious exchange… our filthy rags for His Righteousness. And, not just one time, but for all time.
Because, the absolute best part is — He also changes our present!
And, as much as we may say we know this, living like it can be tricky. See, I’ve noticed I tend to either look at myself through the eyes of pride or the eyes of fear and shame. Usually – like that awful fair ride – swinging wildly between the two. Both options, though, are no good because they each keep the focus on me. On my performance, whether good or bad. Neither option takes into account the fact that He’s already performed perfectly on my behalf, and His is the only performance that will ever count.
So, even on my best days… those with every to-do item checked, every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed, everyone loved and cared for… those days when I’ve done everything, beautifully and perfectly, (yeah, I’ve never actually had one of those, but I’m trying to paint a word picture here, so work with me…) on those best of the best days… guess what? I’m still sinning. Yep. Because it’s just simply my nature. It’s from the garden. It’s in my heart. With a look or with a thought. With a white lie, a high rate of speed, a cheating glance, a broken promise. With loving something or someone else more than I love God. (You had to know I’d get there eventually!) Yep, every day brings another opportunity to break God’s perfect law. And so, I can either deny it or stew in regret and shame about it.
Or, I can be honest in it and live in His glorious truth instead.
Because, what if, instead of swinging wildly from pride to fear and shame, I chose to hop off that circle of death and simply swing in the safety of my Savior’s arms? What if I humbly receive His perfect record, with thanksgiving, and rest peacefully in what He’s already accomplished? What if I stopped expecting any good thing at all, from myself and from others, and gratefully accept what I’ve already been given… ALL of Him?!
All of His promises. All of His power. All of His perfect record.
All of His Perfect Love!
See, I can know much about Him… much about His Word. I can listen to sermons, sit in studies, and hear some great speakers until the cows come home, yet still never receive His Love intended to infuse all those words I ingest. Because, it’s His Love that surpasses knowledge. His Love is what “fills [us] to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19) And, truly receiving this LOVE will make all the difference in walking out our stories.
So, what if we all just became audacious enough to not only know this love, but live like we believe it… live receiving it and resting peacefully in the perfect fullness of it?? What if we could all live and rest knowing He still loves us when we stumble… Live and rest knowing He loves us whether we’re filled with faith or fear… Live and rest knowing He loves us when we under perform… Live and rest knowing He loves us when we run away… Live and rest knowing He loves us on our worst day… Live and rest knowing He loves us at our most unlovely… Live and rest knowing He loves us in our weakness… Live and rest knowing He loves us even when we don’t love others… Even live and rest knowing He loves us whether we believe it or not??
Simply live and rest knowing He. Is. Love.
See, living my life focused on my lack of love and loads of sin, will never accomplish in my story what resting in His Perfect Love and Life will. You read my ugly truth. The brokenness that taunts me daily. The only reason I can even hold my head up in the morning is because He picks up my face. The only way I can even bear this shame is by gazing upon Him. The only way I can take one step is by leaning upon Him. His Love holds the whole of my sad, sin-soaked soul. His Love is what’s remaking all this broken, into something whole.
And, I know that no matter where you are in your story, walking through it arm in arm with The Lover of your soul will make all the difference for you, too. I know there is nothing more beautiful than coming out the other side of even the most arduous or painful wilderness, “…leaning on [your] lover” just as the Shulamite woman in Song of Songs did. I know there is something forever filling about being led to a banquet hall after even the lengthiest famine. I know there is nothing as breathtaking as the sound of His voice rejoicing and singing over you in even the darkest of nights. And, I know absolutely nothing compares to being covered by a banner of His Love when your sin has left you completely and utterly exposed.
I also know you want that, too. Everyone does. We were created for it. We all have a Bridegroom and His name is Jesus. He is waiting for you at the altar. He will draw you with quiet whispers, speaking a language of love only you can understand. He will tell you wonderful and mighty things you have not known. His voice will sound like His Character, the one His Word reveals. Not the one you may have heard from others or the one you may have convinced yourself of. His voice is not a fiery, earth shaking sound. Not to His own. His voice leaves no fear. Neither condemnation. Only peace.
His voice loves you in the way no other voice ever will.
And, since the voice of His Perfect Love, “casts out all fear… [which] has to do with punishment because the one who fears [the one filled with anger, shame, anxiety, a need to control, etc.] has not [yet] been made perfect in His Love.” (my crazy paraphrase of I John 4:18), then I will bravely share my ugly, broken voice in this blog, if it means I may encourage even one person to know this love, too. Yes! If I know that Jesus loves me perfectly, I can be free to share my imperfect and stop needing to please anyone but My Savior.
But, y’all… I also need to remember that, just like in the Song of Solomon when it says, “you cannot arouse or awaken love until it so desires…” (Actually, the verse is there three times, but who’s counting?!), your choice to receive His Love is not up to me. No matter how flowery or persuasive (or witty, or charming, or thought-provoking…) my words may be. Nope.
So, I will simply rest, while praying boldly that today is the day you desire His LOVE. I will pray that you begin to desire more and more and still more of The Lover who will woo and cherish and lead you into His Own Love Story. It’s the story you have always desired, yet may have never dared to dream. And, it’s the story you were made to tell.
Rest in it ❤
Some more truth to feast upon:
Ephesians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 13; Psalm 34:5, 103:12; Zephaniah 3:17; Song of Solomon 2:4; 1 John 1:9, 4:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:21, 12:9-11; Hebrews 4:9; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 3:23-26, 8:1; Luke 15:11-32; Isaiah 61:10, 64:6; Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Kings 19:12; John 14:27;