Between mid-November and mid-January a lot of life happened…holidays, launching kids into independent living situations, etc. It has been a fruitful time and yet emotionally demanding in the midst of getting the basics of life done while attending to some level of self-care.
I found myself more raw. I found little things that rolled off my back several weeks ago slowly getting under my skin. I know what feeds me. I know what keeps me centered in peace. I know I was not centered or in peace as my natural responses of anxiety or control were slowly creeping in. Simply, I wasn’t doing what I needed the most with any regularly.
I often told myself, “When this season is over and I have more band width is when I will sit down with God and unpack it all.” My good intentions where to give God “good quality time” at a point when life wasn’t pressing in as hard.
However, I got still. I was just still enough started to wake up and notice two warning signs that self-sourcing was slipping in.
First, diet laws where popping up in my mind more and more often- to the point that it was influencing my eating choices. Mind you, for months I have walked free from the law of dieting, eaten what I wanted when I was hungry and stopping when I was satisfied. In this freedom and the grace of God I encountered there, I have steadily released weight in my journey to find my natural God given body while changing from the inside out.
Second, I started lying to myself. For example, I will get a walk in the next couple of days while the weather is so nice. Knowing full well that internal promise was not said with priority and purpose needed to become be a sure reality. And, frankly, didn’t happen.
After becoming aware of this I sat with my journal, the next Thin Within exercise and a prayer to get back on track.
I know of my own volition I don’t get me back on track. My own volition causes me to get deeper into the traps of laws and self-sourcing. I knew I would need to let God show me what was true and real. This is the place where my heart can only be honest and humble. This is where God is waiting to meet me with a new measure of grace. I confessed my hesitancy to intimacy with HIm and my desire to protect myself then started a continued study on forgiveness.
One of the best things about God is that He lets you draw up your questions and concerns of the heart to answer them with a healing power that is often quick and to the point.
The exercise had me read the passages where Peter denies Christ (John 18:25-27) and the “do you love me? feed my sheep.” conversation (John 21:15-17). I saw these exchanges in a whole new light.
First, Peter’s denial of Christ was an act of self-protection. Peter trusted his understanding and methods above what he knew was right, honest and true. He didn’t want to be exposed. In doing this he cut off relationship with Christ. Christ did not cut off his relationship with Peter. It was Peter relying of his own understanding that cut him off from Christ. Christ knew what would happen and even told Peter it would happen. Christ foretold this with a heart that already had the grace to forgive Peter before it ever came to pass.
Second, on the beach Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves Him allowing Peter to forgive himself. In forgiving himself, he could access relationship with Christ again. Forgiving himself was where he humbled himself to accurately see his heart behind his actions (self-protection) and accept the forgiveness that was waiting for him as he was honest before Christ. A forgiveness and grace that can only be entered with an honest and humble heart.
I now see that in my self-sourcing and or self-protection’s how I cut myself off from the intimate relational components of life in Christ. I see that key to walking back into that relationship is forgiving myself for trusting myself more than Him. This is where Christ sets my heart (again) in His peace and truth. He is always waiting for this confession with forgiveness and grace purchased long ago which can be accessed through humility at any moment. He is always there. He always knows where I am and what is true in my heart at any moment. I am not fooling Him. I am not protecting myself but delaying the truth and possibly compounding the discomfort from which I am trying to hide.
Really the person I was playing hide and seek with is myself…