STARBUCKS CUP #76 – “The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.”
– Anne Morriss
This has been one of my favorite quotes for like 7 years. Our really big YES makes us free from lots of little “nos,” “maybes,” “Did you get it right?” “is it too late to turn back”? Committing is not a binding agreement that stifles you; it’s a deep, unchanging heart nod that finally sets you free.
In work, in play, in love…
My problem has been that I’m too good of a Christian.
I started to feel FREE at the start of last week. The best way I can describe what I was feeling is with the phrase, “Screw it.”
Some people can’t afford to think like this. But when I do, it means an opportunity to get free of a little more performance and religion. This “careless” mindset sets me free to stop trying to please everyone around me, to like myself, to be myself, and to trust myself as I walk with God.
Thursday night at home group brought another layer of truth that contributed to me getting free. As 100 of us crammed into a living room (and into the hallway and kitchen) worshipping and telling Jesus how much we love Him, all that kept running through my head was, “You really love us. You really really love us.”
This simple truth amazed my heart again. I looked around at every individual’s face in the room. These are God’s favorites! Christianity isn’t about acting right, it’s about the fact that a really big, powerful God just HAD to come be close to these people He made, adored, and chose as His kids. He’s a wild and passionate King, the fun, nice kind of type that is way too good, yet so true.
That night, as “You love us,” played on repeat in my head and tears came to my eyes, I realized that the normal, religious “but you could be getting a lot more things right…” voice was not anywhere to be found in my thinking. It was one single, solitary phrase – “You LOVE US”.
Forget the to-do list you were worried about before the meeting. Forget the self-improvement plan that keeps you feeling condemned more than it celebrates you. He LOVES you. LOADS.
Last week, I found freedom.
I found freedom from the voice that masquerades as “self-help” and “personal growth” that is actually self-reliance and perfectionism.
I found freedom from the over-analysis of self that I want to think happens as a result of a natural work day, but it only actually shows up after moments of severe insecurity or trying something new. It’s not feedback or evaluation; it’s fear of man and performance.
I found freedom knowing that God’s words about me are true, His heart for me is unchanging, and I didn’t earn my way into the Kingdom so I can’t fail my way out of it.
I found freedom in an unchanging God who says one day we will stand before Him holy and blameless, without a single fault. (Col. 1:22). What a crazy thought.
I found freedom to know that I can have my head space back from the worries that stole it, and the barriers I thought held me back from my destiny are only a façade.
He’s not concerned if I misspoke on the mic or forgot to work out today (or even that I intentionally haven’t worked out for months), or that I dominated a conversation a bit more than I meant to. He’s not concerned that I still worry about where I’ll be next year, wonder if I’m really living in my destiny, and get totally frustrated about the lack of dating happening around the largest hub of amazing single people I know. He’s just not worried like I am. He’s not worried about those things, and He’s not worried that I still worry.
I found freedom to know that process is okay, and if I have fears – it doesn’t mean I don’t have love. It means that some calming needs to happen (Zephaniah 3:17 ASV “With His love, He will calm all your fears”).
When I lay my head down to sleep at night, He’s not regretting moments with me or writing my to-do list for tomorrow. That has never been His voice.
He’s simply saying, “I love you. I’m with you. I’m in love with you.”
He says it in the morning when I wake up. He says it at night when I sleep. He says it ALL throughout the day. And, when my mind races with things to do, I can zoom out of life for a second and listen to His Spirit speak straight into mine saying, “I love you so much.” Then I remember – that’s all that really matters. That’s the realest of the real reality that I should be fixing my mind on and filtering life through all the time.
He loves me.
He loves me as I am, as I was, and as I will be.
And yes, he wants us to live pure and honorable lifestyles, ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21), but to relegate the level of love I will receive from Him based on my performance is an injustice to my heart and disregard of what He paid for.
The thing is, I was just trying to be a really good Christian! I was told many things that meant obedience to God and righteous living, and I’m trying to do it well! Yet, focusing only on getting it all together before I show up to fullness of life is like getting ready for a date so long, I miss the date. And there comes a time in life you’ve just got to show up as you are and fall in love.
And, that is what Jesus invited us to when He said “come to me.”
Paul nailed it in Galatians 2:19 when He said, “I’ll stop trying to meet all [the laws] requirements – so that I might live for God.” I’ll stop TRYING to serve God, so I can actually serve Him. I’ll stop TRYING to be a better lover, so I can actually just love Him.
I’ll believe the moment I was called into being a new creation, I became ready, and I’ll take the dress God gave me that was enough to save me, make me completely whole, equip me, heal me, anoint me, call me – and I’ll finally just show up to fall in love with Jesus.
And, I’ll trust… that He really, really likes us. He really loves us. He wants to be with us, and He’ll never change His mind.