Friday, August 22, 2008

Loved by God

I had a powerful experience this morning during my "quiet time." The past few days I've been feeling increasingly sorrowful but not sure why specifically. Yesterday the sorrow became focused as I was pressed against what felt like an overwhelming wall.

I intrinsically knew this wall to represent a core truth of my soul: "No one will ever love you." Not really, not for who I am; not without my manipulation or coercion. I have believed this for as long as I can remember. I know because I have never really felt loved, even when I have clearly been loved by others. I quickly rationalize away any expressions of love toward me as insignificant, or the result of a slick marketing campaign that my false self (what Brennan Manning calls "the impostor") has put forth.

As I sat with the intense pain (and occasional waves of anger) of this "wall," I felt helpless. It was far too big and strong for me to knock it down or scale it. I hoped that if I stayed with it long enough and cried out for help from God, something would happen. It felt like a wall that had grown all around me until I was completely entombed.

Slowly I felt a phrase rise up within me: "it is a lie." It repeated itself in my head and heart until it became a shout. IT IS A LIE!!

Suddenly the wall/tomb shattered with the visible arrival of Jesus. He placed a memorial in its place with the words written on it, "Loved by God."

I felt all the anger and pain ebb away as he calmed my emotions and caressed my heart. He spoke several things to me (not word for word):
- he was proud of me for standing against the lie
- he gently, tenderly warned me against feeding the lie with self-hating acts and disciplines; such as lust, overeating, etc.

I knew that the fight wasn't over forever, but a significant battle had been won by Christ, and I felt free. Freer than I have felt for a while. More free to love without regard to response.

I also knew that just as certain practices fed this lie, I need to indulge and feed the truth of my being "loved by God." Too often I allow myself to go down paths of thinking that assume the lie. Most of the time it isn't even challenged (probably because I'm so familiar with it).

I need to indulge myself in the reality of being "the disciple who Jesus loves." I'm not yet sure how to do this, but I hope it will become clearer over the coming days.

Thanks be to God.

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