Tuesday, May 25, 2010

{worth it.}

My prayer Sunday was this, that God would fight for me. That of all others who have let me down or have let me go, that He would be the one to find me, to seek me out. That I would know Him as brave. Brave enough to possess my heart.

Monday, I came across this verse - "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her." {Hosea 2:14}

For this year, that is the verse I claim. God has picked me up, pulled me from my security, and brought me to this place to be alone with Him. He is jealous for me.

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience - but shouts in our pains." - C.S. Lewis
It's only been a week and God's already taught me so much...I have hope, because I can see Him.

Please let me tell you what He's teaching me, it's far too good to keep to myself. -

I have been listening to Francis Chan's sermons online and in one of the sermons he says that he "doesn't understand why love plays itself out differently in different relationships." It's so much easier to love people than God. He said he knows he loves God, he believes what the Bible says is true, he believes God loves him and wants a relationship with him. He knows prayer works and he believes there is goodness and blessing in seeking God. - And yet, he has a hard time giving the God he loves even twenty minutes of his day...why? I echoed those thoughts and felt realization hit me as he read the quote, "As a man prays, so he is." A.W. Tozer. No sort of revival or revolution has ever begun without prayer. Prayer will change me. Prayer will change how I see God. Prayer will build desire. This ties in to what I have been learning through Henri Nouwen's words, in "The Inner Voice of Love". Bear with me, I have no way of making this a short post.

"You have been speaking a lot about dying to old attachments in order to enter the new place, where God is waiting for you. But it is possible to end up with too many noes- no to your former way of thinking and feeling, no to human relationships that were once precious and life-giving. You are setting up a spiritual battle full of noes...The love that came to you in particular, concrete human friendshi[ps and that awakened your dormant desire to be completely and unconditionally loved was real and authentic. It does not have to be denied as dangerous and idolatrous. A love that comes through human beings is true, God-given love and needs to be celebrated as such...

When you try to die to that love in order to find God's love, you are doing something God does not want. The task is not to die to life-giving relationships but to realize that the love you received in them is part of a greater love. God has given you a beautiful self. There God dwells and loves you with the first love, which precedes all human love. You carry your own beautiful, deeply loved self in your heart. You can and must hold on to the truth of the love you were given and recognize that same love in others who see your goodness and love you. So stop trying to die to the particular real love you have received. Be grateful for it and see it as what enabled you to open yourself to God's first love."

I need the first love. I need to find the source of the "secondary" love I have received. The "secondary" loves in my life weren't wrong, or fake, I only let them replace the gap for the first love. They are fragments of the whole. I don't have to be wary of them, or wary of human love in my life being too big, too grand...or too deep...I only have to make sure my love with God is primary...nourishing the bigger, grander, deeper. It sounds basic, and the concept is - but the action is not. This is where I found the sermon from Francis Chan connecting to my desire to have a different relationship with God than the one I've had....pray. Pray incessantly. Prayer is the most intimate personal connection with the God who makes my world live and breathe. How did I miss the importance of prayer? Prayer isn't just a stagnant conversation, it is a means of change - it is action.

Really, it's just about falling in love. Francis Chan - "We all know lots of people who know lots about God, but how many who are in love with God?"

As I begin to let God change me He is revealing to me more of who I am. For so long I have struggled with knowing I have insecurity issues, but not knowing where they come from. So many times I have wracked my brain to think of an event that happened when I was a child, or when a lie I believed began...and every time I've come up with nothing. Or something that could work, but just doesn't seem to fit. It's impossibly frustrating because I so long to get to the root of it all because I want to be free.

In Beth Moore's book on insecurity I came across this stunning paragraph - and I found it. "You might know someone who has experienced the best life has to offer, yet is insecure...Sometimes it boils down to our most basic personal components: disposition and temperament. Although insecurity and sensitivity are not synonymous, people who are especially tenderhearted are significantly predisposed to insecurity. In other words, the more tenderhearted we are, the more vulnerable to insecurity we'll likely be. Some people take things harder and deeper to heart than others. It's not a matter of weakness. It's a matter of personal sensitivity. I don't know how it hits you, but identifying disposition as a possible contributor brought me significant relief and understanding. Even though my childhood abuse and unstable home offered ample ammunition for insecurity, I have come to the conclusion that, with my hypersensitive disposition, I probably would have battled it to some extent anyway. I feel everything. My joys are huge, and so are my sorrows. If I'm mad, I'm really mad, and if I'm despondent, I wonder how on earth I'l go on. Then I get up, pour some coffee, and move on to the next emotion and forget how depressed I was an hour ago. Most of the time my emotional nerve endings are exposed like live wires. I can't even see a smashed toad on the pavement without feeling sorry for it...

...God gave me this tender heart, and though I want to give up my chronic insecurity, I really do want to hang on to my heart, I like to feel. When I don't feel something, it's like being dead."

Wow. There it is. I am so anxious to continue reading and see how Beth tackles this balance of tenderheartedness and insecurity...I've never read anything that spoke for me so well on this issue. If you disagree with me say so, but I think that was hitting the nail on the head.


I went running in the rain today. Running is hard, but so rewarding. As I ran, I prayed and I felt God's tremendous joy like the sheets of rain soaking me to the skin. As I circled back and entered the Carey Park driveway I was sweaty and exhausted, but I felt so strong. It's like each day I grow a little stronger inside. I let Jesus speak and I begin to believe that I am worth wanting, I am worth loving, liking, pursuing, fighting for, and - even keeping. Yeah, I really am.

This is a time for me to embrace the silence, to embrace the loneliness, to embrace heart ache - for out of the deepest pain comes the sweetest fruit.


Mike said...

My most favorite part about you, Grace is your tender heart that was woven together by the very hands of our Creator. Watching him continue to perfect his beautiful creation in you, is more then a blessing. It's proof that God is worth everything. It's proof that even when I'm scratching at the bottom of the pan for something of substance from God, he gives me more then the crusty, over cooked, burnt scrapings stuck to the bottom of the pan. He gives us a five star dish.

I know you understand what I mean with all of this. I just want you to know that by you obeying Him (loving Him with all your heart, mind and soul) it is blessing all of us who get to watch.

Susan said...

oh that was me by the way, i didn't realize i was signed in with my brothers account.

oops :)

Elle said...

I think this is my favorite thing you have ever written. Which says a lot.
You made me cry. I think that we share tender hearts. Thank you for sharing that quote by Beth Moore, I think I want to read that book...

Elle said...

PS-You are absolutely worth it.

Anonymous said...

Grace, that was perfect. I am always overjoyed when I see a long blog by you, because I always learn so much about you, God, life and myself when I read them.

GLB said...

I think those are some of the best compliments I could ever receive as a writer, and as a person. Thank you.

You all keep me writing.

hbradford said...

The running paragraph was beautiful. I teared up. I'm glad Jesus is wooing you. Keep being drawn...