John Brennan, in his book Abba’s Child, writes this,
“But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not….No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him…His love, which called us into existence, calls us to come out of self-hatred and step into His truth. ‘Come to me now,’ Jesus says. ‘Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you: a Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs. Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself. At this moment your life is a bruised reed, and I will not crush it; a smoldering wick, and I will not quench it. You are in a safe place.'”
Can you feel the healing and freedom in receiving that kind of unrestrained, audacious love? This beautiful Jesus longs for you. The true you. Every broken, wounded part of you. You are in a safe place! When we put on the coat of false self to hide who we truly are, we rob the world of the most precious part of who we are – our brokenness. In keeping our wounds at arms length from ourselves, we are robbed from experiencing the intimate touch of the Healer. It is only in acknowledging our wounds and brokenness that we can offer healing to others. It is only through the wounds and brokenness of Jesus that he can offer healing to us! Without the Man-of-Sorrows, our grief would remain uncomforted. Without our own sorrows, there would be no hope for others.
When I was a child growing up amid the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota, I remember playing softball with 4-H in the summer. I enjoyed the time with friends and the satisfaction of physical activity. A self-conscious child, I had already begun to wear my own coat of false self. The approval of others was my drug, and good behavior was my coat to cover the person I thought was unacceptable. As I got older, the coat grew, with my reputation to others dictating everything I did. Good behavior and reputation (what people said about me) became my idol. One day, during a game of softball, the ball connected with my bat in a satisfying thwack! and I watched the ball in a perfect line drive to left field. I had never had one feel so good, and after rounding the bases to home plate, I walked behind the catch-fence to where some of our dads were standing. Flush with good feelings, I stood unnoticed behind the coach and a friend’s dad. The coach, who had not praised me before, was telling him what a great job I had done. “That was quite a hit!”, he glowed. I felt giddy with happiness. Suddenly, he became aware of me standing close. “What are you doing here?”, he asked, clearly nonplussed and displeased I had possibly overheard. I was embarrassed, obviously having heard something I shouldn’t have and from that day on I added another layer of protection to my coat. A careless attitude for praise. Don’t misunderstand, recognition was still as important to me as ever and I would do all I could to get it, but now I would hide that fact and bury it deep where it could not hurt me. I learned that direct praise is shameful, and should only be casually acknowledged and ignored if overheard. Naturally, this form of self-hatred was projected onto how I related to Jesus, and infected my view of him for most of my life. He didn’t want me to experience his pleasure for me – if he had any for me at all. I didn’t think there was anything in me he would ever take pleasure in, and so my behavior became the way to find it.
It is only recently and through much brokenness that I have allowed my heart of hearts to receive the pleasure of Jesus for me. He glows with pleasure and love for me. I have met the Truth, and discovered his longing for me exactly as I am today. Right now. But it required me to open every deep, hidden place to Jesus. Remember, He is a safe place. He will not crush the bruised reed or put out the smoldering wick. I have experienced that for myself.
So shed your protective coat and let yourself see everything you are, and allow His life to fill yours. God does not love you in spite of your sins, he loves you with your sins! This is not about saving your soul. This is about setting you free. Trust the reckless, wild, crazy, audacious love of God! There is no greater love than His love for you! You truly are the Beloved of the Father!
Let Jesus take you deeper and further on his great adventure, and allow Him to enfold you in the loving arms of intimate relationship with him, the Lover of Your Soul.