I’ve been avoiding this post. I’ve worked on other writing projects and even considered cleaning the floors because I don’t want to address the fact that Junior High may not be 25 years ago, but may be 2.5 days ago and maybe I’m not as mature as I think.
In Christ we are accepted, secure, and significant. Today, and for the next couple of weeks we’ll discuss acceptance and what prevents us from embracing God’s acceptance of us: our self-perception, our sense of belonging, and our confidence.
I’ve struggled with feeling as though I’m on the outside looking in more often than on the inside looking out. Whether I was the new kid in a new school and wondering who I was going to talk to or the friends that shunned me for an entire school year or the group of smart looking women who I would love to get to know, but just can’t seem to penetrate their circle of friends.
These memories and experiences led me to believe that there was something inherently wrong with me. I perceived myself as not good enough.
It was an up-town cafe that showed me just how foolish I was to believe that lie. This little cafe was quaint and cute and oh so chic and I was not, but there I was, fidgeting in my seat, playing with my napkin, eyeing the set of silverware and wondering if I would remember the purpose of all those forks. And I wondered if I’d ever been in a place that used more than one.
I could hear soft music playing and my head kept telling me to relax and let the music wash over me, but my heart–the one where the scared little girl resides– was yelling at me, ‘You’re going to be asked to leave. It’s obvious you don’t fit here. They’re going to show you to the door. Na, na, na, na.’
Silly, isn’t it? But it was very, very true.
Our hearts boss our heads around and we’re left worn out because of the mental battle.
So there I was, listening to the fears and lies of my heart, while my head was countering back with, ‘Just relax, sit tall, and don’t cower. You were invited to be here. Heart, hush up and listen to the violin strings. Let them sing a melody to you.’ I willed myself to relax and act normal, but it made me think how my head and my heart do this with God’s word as well.
Our hearts tell us the all-encompassing acceptance of God is too good to be true and our hearts tell us we’re not good enough to be included.
We can read God’s word, which is the truth, but our hearts cannot or will not accept the truth. We have lies that we hear in our hearts that our mind believes and when we encounter the truth, it’s a struggle to embrace the truth. It can go the other way too. Sometime we know the truth in our heads, but our hearts have a hard time receiving what our heads know.
If we’ve struggled with the concept of fatherhood then John 1:12 will be a difficult verse to receive into our heart. But if we want to be set free from the battles that rage in our minds, then we must begin to learn, live, and love this truth:
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–” John 1:12
If we’ve struggled in friendships, we sometimes believe we’re not the type of person people want to be friends with. Other times we’ll protect ourselves and allow only a certain amount of access to our heart because our histories have shown us that friends cannot be trusted. The countering truth to this lie (that you’re not the friend type) is John 15:15. Jesus calls you friend. The King of the world, the king of hearts, the Lord of lords counts you as friend.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
If our histories hold choices we’re ashamed of and we’re living with long term consequences of those choices then we often believe the lie that they are unforgivable and unforgettable. This is a lie designed to keep us bound in condemnation and if we can be kept in condemnation then we will not understand the beauty of conviction and redemption. Our hearts need to know that through Jesus Christ we have a been made new.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
I walked away from that cafe with a crack in my mis-perception of myself and God in his kindness, mercy, and gentleness showed me that in him I have a seat at the table of grace. He showed me that by refusing to accept his truth about me doesn’t make it any less true. What’s true is true and God says we’re accepted.
My heart is believing what my head knows to be true, but sometimes the lies sneak in and I’m back to the outside looking in. Does this ever happen to you? It can happen in a moment and it’s times like these that I preach the truth to myself. I tell myself that I’m God’s child, I’m his friend, and I’ve been made new.
You, my friend, can know this truth in your heart as well. Would you take some time to read these scriptures and make them personal by putting your name in these verses? The next time you feel as though you’re not enough, will you remember these truths?