Purely Personal Pieces

Keep Calm. You Are Loved.


What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

Yesterday, I was asked to do something that made me so restless. In my head, I knew there was no reason to feel that way, but my soul – my emotions – say otherwise.

This morning, while waiting for my turn to do what I was tasked to do, I felt like there was a lump in my throat, my whole was body shaking, my thoughts were afloat. Man, was I anxious and panicky and afraid! And the thought of me having to do the task twice made breathing extra hard.

And then the lyrics that silenced my soul’s unrest was sung:

Even when I fail you
I know you love me.

I thought I was anxious because I feared I would fail. I realized later that I feared because I had forgotten how loved I am.

Before the song ended, I knew why He wanted me to do what I feared to do. He wanted me to know that He loves me – even before I do anything, even if I fail.

I was anxious and fearful because while my head knows that my Father loves me, my soul needed some more assurance and reassurance. While I was singing along with those lines, I heard Him whisper:

Do you really know how much I love you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that I love you despite of, in spite of, regardless?

What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

1 John 4:18 says “…perfect love drives out fear.”

Do you know how much He loves you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that Jesus’ love for you is perfect despite of, in spite of, regardless? Would you allow His love to calm all your fears?

zeph

 

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God's Love, Love

To the Eager, the Scared, and the Apathetic (Part 1 of 3)


At the mention of love, I have come to observe the response of three. This is a note for each one.

TO THE APATHETIC

The neglect of something does not nullify its existence.

You probably have come to dread the beginning of February and are mostly thankful that it is the shortest month of the year and you can’t wait for the appearance of hearts and flowers and cheesy posts to significantly decrease by the first week of March.

There are a myriad of reasons to say that the world’s celebration of love for an entire month year after year is pointless, that it is a waste of time, that it is but a huge marketing ploy: There is so much hate around. Countries are at war. Friendships fail. Relationships don’t work out.

But if we come to think of it, the inverse of what makes us lose our faith in love spells the difference. There is so much hate around, countries are at war, friendships fail, relationships don’t work out because people fail to love.

To genuinely, sacrificially, selflessly love – that is our weakness. And then, Love came. Jesus came to demonstrate in flesh how His power is strongest where we are weakest.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8, NIV

Someone treasured you at your messiest, fixed His gaze on you with utmost affection at your darkest, died for you despite of, in spite of.

The neglect of something does not nullify its existence.

Your neglect of Christ’s love does not nullify His love for you.

Believe that you are genuinely, sacrificially, and selflessly loved and you will begin to believe in love again.

 

 

Purely Personal Pieces

When Your #SquadGoals Aren’t Met


You’ve finally found your squad in church and they get you perfectly! They’re like brothers and sisters from another mother and you’re sure nothing can ever come between you. Your wavelengths are like clones of each other. Sure, they’d have quirks that irritate you a bit, but you can live with that. Until that fateful day –

  • Someone promised to go with you and then cancelled.
  • You see a photo of them together on social media and no one invited you.
  • You’re trying to prove a point, but they seem to be ganging up to prove you wrong.
  • You’re going through a tough time and no one seemed to care.
  • Someone had to correct you and you think they didn’t do it right.

Looks like it’s #SquadGoals no more.

Your quest to finding the perfect squad in church must end the soonest. 

I love how the church provides us with a community we can share lives with and I love how our movement puts so much premium on relationships. Thus, “Discipleship is relationship.” and “We are better together.” have easily become a household battlecry. But I realized there are things we need to know and understand as we walk through the Christian journey with our newfound family.

1. Our most important relationship is our relationship with Jesus.

If glitches in our relationships cause us to grow cold in our relationship with God, we should be concerned. When we begin to find it hard to worship, listen, and obey God whenever we are offended, it is time to ask: Is Jesus still the anchor of my faith or have I made people the basis of my ability to stay faithful?

2. Our relationship with Jesus should fuel our earthly relationships, not the other way around.

It is the love of Jesus that saved us. Our ability to love others unwaveringly, unconditionally, comes from an understanding that we can love much because we are known fully, forgiven entirely, and loved deeply by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. “We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).”

This excerpt from a book I read a few months back perfectly encapsulates this point:

“The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation. No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace.

– Timothy S. Lane, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

We would think that relationship challenges reveal the kind of friends we have. There is truth to that. But it is also true that a strain in our relationships reveal the condition of our hearts. 

Do we stay in relationships to get or do we stay to give? 

Do we expect others to be gracious with our imperfections and then expect them to be perfect or do we constantly acknowledge that we are all a work in progress, and that we have to constantly choose to understand and forgive every day?

Are our #SquadGoals a list of expectations we want our friends to meet or are they goals we can work towards together?