Confident in Love

I think I’ve given a few other posts this title. (The problem with writing more often: I’m already running out of words.) It’s just what’s resonated with me these days.

Ever noticed that when you’re around someone who is totally for you, you act differently? Your best parts are magnified and you’ve all but forgotten the things you just don’t like about yourself. Your humor or intellect or passion or whatever it is that makes up a large part of who you are, comes alive.

There are a few people in my life that, when I’m around them, Nate says things afterward like “you were just totally yourself. You were on.” (Of course he means really funny and smart and just beautiful.)

For much of my past, that person that comes out of her shell confidently usually didn’t “show” herself before God. Not sure where it came from, but I’ve carried this expectation that God cares more about evaluating my weaknesses and shortcomings than He delights in how He made me.

This only posed a problem when my steam ran out. Rule-abiding and discipline has its limits. You can only flog yourself for not cutting it for so long before your arms get tired.

Religion, religious rules, are a bi-product of an insecure heart … a heart that doesn’t know Love. I’m not talking about Biblical mandates or clear directives. I’m talking about those subjective standards that are intended to keep you in the narrow lanes of life that end up being the foundation of Christian life for so many.

(You know, that conversation with a friend that goes “Oh, I’m really trying to do more of this or not to do that” that leaves you feeling less inspired and more like you missed the memo about what devoted followers of God are supposed to do.)

When I’m not living in the reality that “I am one who is madly loved and deeply delighted-in by God”, I default to following principles. I evaluate myself against other principle-followers and place myself on some arbitrary scale of good or bad. Usually I end up closer to bad than good and live feeling like Joe Btfsplk from L’il Abner with a dark cloud over my head.

But 2010, my year to fall in love, has brought forth a new reality which is quickly becoming my only reality.

Not only does He love me, but He really likes me.

He likes what He made. He made me with a dry sense of humor, and He enjoys it (most of the time). He’s delighted when I write. I even think He gets a kick out of the songwriter in me who’s composed a song for almost every daily task (wait ’til you hear my ditty about doing Eden’s hair, appropriately entitled “The Mommy Spa”).

Before you think I’m totally arrogant or misguided in thinking God really enjoys these things about me, try it on for size. Ask Him how He sees you. In more than a quiet moment where you have some time to really listen, ask Him first to clear out all the self-condemning thoughts that tend to rule your mental playing field. And then listen.

I bet you’ll be surprised at what you hear.

The latest self-imposed principle of devoted-ness (clarifying, because God does speak to us about principles) fuels me for about a day before I’m already feeling lousy that I couldn’t uphold it. But I can go for weeks if not months in the whole-hearted devotion that comes from even one single phrase from Him like … you, Sara, make me glad.

And the enemy of my heart wants to do everything in his power to prevent me from hearing the latter. Because when I am confident that I’m loved, the power of Jesus at work in me makes me unstoppable. I might just give away the last bit of savings I have to the homeless person on the street … or adopt another … or begin praying that He changes a nation.

I think I’ve said it for years (because the next best thing to living a reality is talking about it as if you live it :)). But this is just now beginning to really change my core (ask Nate): Falling in love with Someone who really enjoys you is so much better than being married to an ever-so-slightly-frustrated-with-your-flaws Spouse.

Jesus is a pretty amazing husband. I think I’m caught up in the best love story of all time.

He will rejoice over you with gladness.

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17