I don’t usually like church, but I really wanted to go last night because I hoped they would play Christmas songs during worship. I had to pick up my mom from the airport in the afternoon, and by the time I got back home it didn’t look like I would make it in time for the service. Also it was dark and cold…which is pretty much my kryptonite.
But I went. Even though I was late and would probably miss the Christmas songs. I just felt a pull to go. When I finally arrived they were still playing worship songs (not Christmas ones, but oh well) and BOOM I was touched by the physical power of Jesus. It fell on me like a rush of warm water.
They were playing the song “How He Loves Us” and God was speaking to me so clearly – he was showing me how I don’t accept all his love because I think I don’t deserve it. As he often does with people, God compared my relationship with my earthly father to my relationship with him. There have been times in my life when I wished my dad wouldn’t love me as much as he does, because I know I don’t deserve it and I’m often left feeling guilty. God said I do the same thing with him – I put guilt and shame on myself to make up for the unconditional love I am given.
JUST ACCEPT IT!!!! God told me. Accept it freely, no strings attached.
Lately I’ve allowed myself to feel guilt and shame for not having a job this season of life – I feel like I must’ve messed up somewhere along the way and I accuse myself of being lazy – even though God has specifically spoken peace and rest over this time. But why should I be given rest when so many are toiling? And so I let myself feel guilty, like I’ve done something wrong.
I feel guilt and shame for having been given the opportunity to do something I love, something I’m good at (leading a mission trip) – even though God has called me to it. Why should I get to do what I love when so many people have to suffer through jobs they hate? And so I let myself feel guilty, like I’ve done something wrong.
Tonight God was telling me to LET IT GO. To let go my idea of what life should be like, of how my life compares to other people’s. To let go of my guilt and shame – no I don’t deserve the things I’ve been given, but preventing myself from enjoying such things is only a waste.
It’s amazing, there is so much more love that God has for me – I can’t comprehend it!
And then the sermon was titled “God Has Good News For You” – I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, nodding my head and shouting YEAH and AMEN every other second. I’ve heard it all a billion times before but it was like I was hearing it for the first time.
The speaker talked about how Jesus is always bringing good news – even if it doesn’t seem like good news to us at the time. And he said that while many of us understand this idea, we don’t live like we do. He quoted scripture about Jesus coming to give us FREEDOM and mentioned how the whole story of the Bible is God setting his people FREE. But we need to choose to walk in freedom and to accept the tsunami of love he wants to wash over us.
Then the speaker asked if anyone wanted to come forward for prayer – I bolted from my seat and practically ran to the front of the room. This lady prayed for me and as soon as she started I felt another wave of Jesus flood through my body. When she finished she said, “Whoa, I felt that.” And I said yeah, me too.
Basically I’m in awe of how much MORE of God there is for me to experience (for all of us to experience!) As C.S. Lewis would say, I’ve been like an ignorant child playing with mud pies because I cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. Except really, I’m a child who has taken up the offer of a holiday at sea…and goes on to ruin the experience by feeling guilty the whole time.
I’M DONE WITH THAT. I want more of God; I want to DROWN in his ocean of love!!
…and to think I almost didn’t go to church last night.