(aka Lessons from Testimony)

It feels ridiculous that after thirty years in relationship with Christ and my big take home lesson is that God loves me.  He really loves me.  One of the chief things that separates Christianity from other faiths is its conceit that you’re in a personal relationship with God.  Even for someone as poor in relationships as I am, that comes with some deeper implications.

Love is about engaging the heart of another person, really seeing them, their humanity.  Love produces healing and can be transforming when it is received in vulnerability and brokenness.  It means that I am worth something.  That I am worth knowing.  That I am worth being pursued.  There’s nothing I can do to earn it.  There’s nothing I can do to lose it.  That is the risky endeavor of allowing yourself to be loved unconditionally, by God, by the people in your life.

When we face betrayals, abandonment, disappointment, suffering, or any of the other bumps life throws at us (or that we create for ourselves), we’re quick to take cover in our shame and retreat from others, withdrawing from relationships.  We get trapped in a cycle of unforgiveness, unable to forgive and move past the hurts inflicted on us, leaving us having trouble trusting relationships or God for that matter.  Leaving us unable to offer yourself to others nor receive from them.  We despair as we slowly, inexorably lose hope.  So what’s holding us back?

We’re each a collection of stories.  Stories of tragedy.  Stories of redemption.   Stories of resurrection.  Stories of transformation.  Stories of hope.  Accepting grace, accepting and doing the difficult work of forgiveness, allows us to write a new story for ourselves (rather than being trapped in a story we’ve written for ourselves or had written for us by others).  It can allow us to return to our story with new lenses and better see the key events, the significant people in our life, our response to those situations.  God reveals himself through them.  Our story become revelation, for ourselves and for others.

The “revelation” that God loves me may seem ridiculous, but I guess after thirty plus years, the sheer profundity of it is what leaves my head spinning.  But Brennan Manning assures me that I’m not alone and that we should be staggered by God’s love for us…