If you’re a ‘good’ Christian, you will know the answer to this one. But, do you really know?
Knowing we should do something in a moment, but not doing it. Getting all the ‘feels’ as a prompt, yet not acting…
It was years ago. I felt tired, bone weary.
I had a happy, healthy, heavy toddler in a pram and had driven 1/2 an hour to a shopping centre to purchase ballet essentials. I hoped to get in and out. FAST. Bag ‘it’ and run.
Making my way through the centre, I walked past a young man with a perfume bottle in one hand, a sample in another. With a thick accent and a big smile, he invaded my space. Backpacker or international student, I surmised.
He waved the perfume at me, and I shook my head, smiling.
I felt the nudge.
‘Stop for him.’
‘No,’ I responded.
‘I’m tired. I want to get in, out and go home. If he approaches me again on my way out I will stop.’
With that, I walked on, hoping I could avoid the man on my way out.
Ballet items in hand, I headed back, hoping the young man would not approach me again.
I hoped I had ‘heard’ wrong.
Pushing the heavy, but happy, healthy one in the pram, with a weariness threatening to overwhelm, I noted the smiling, enthusiastic, perfume wielding, accent laden young man ahead.
Girding myself, while pushing the stroller more resolutely, I put my head down and charged.
Out of the corner of my averted eyes, I saw him head my way.
I veered left and kept veering until there was no more ‘left’ to go.
‘Cornered,’ I thought
I pleaded with God, ‘Ok, ok, he has approached me. I know I did a deal, but I just can’t…’
I was close to tears. Weary. I had stopped for so many, and I felt tired.
Although I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that God wanted to reach out to Him, through me, I did not stop.
The young man reached out his hand, speaking to me as he cornered me against the shop window. Yep, God had done a doozy.
A rush of emotions flooded me. God’s heart for him was intense. There was such a compulsion to speak to Him. Such a overwhelm of love.
Did I stop?
No, I veered away
And, as I veered, I felt God’s heart break for the man I would not stop for. A love so intense, a heart so for the one before me. Love intense…
Yet, instantly, simultaneously, there was a flood of love for me. A warmth, a kindness and a goodness reverberated through my being. The complete love and acceptance and adoration I felt from Him for ME was extreme.
I felt God’s heartbreak for the young man; as I felt and heard HIs word of love for me:
‘I love you; I’m proud of you; you are weary and tired…’ he said.
‘Yes, I want you to stop for this one; yet I love you regardless.’
His words of love and acceptance flooding my being…
And as the love poured over my weary heart and body, the reality that I did not have to perform for His love sank deep. I knew this; but I did not KNOW this.
Love silenced the voice of condemnation as I leaned into what He said to me, what He said IN me.
I will never forget.
To hold the ‘both/and,’ rather than the ‘either/or,’ is challenging. There is a duplicity we must hold in the tension of both being real.
To carry the extreme love He has for the ones we walk past every day; but to know that you know He adores you regardless, is a tough lesson to grasp in this time of Facebook, Instagram, Tweets, performance, likes, acceptance through behaviour.
It rattled the perfectionistic, performance driven girl to her core; but, in understanding and receiving it, I knew I was where He wanted me.
I was home in His arms of understanding. I am foremost His girl, His beloved daughter, in whom He is well pleased (Mark 1:11). There is nothing more I can do to earn His love; His acceptance… His approval is mine.
He loves, regardless.
Yet, there is a call. It is a privilege to hear and respond.
To partner with Heaven is sheer joy.
When He moves on our heart for the one on the streets, at the workplace, in our clubs and/or in our schools etc, there is responsibility.
Can you see the ‘both/and’?
He delights as we co labour with Him – loving the world to Himself. We be His arms, so to speak…
Ambassadors in a foreign land we re-present Him. His love is our armour, His acceptance, our embrace.
He invites us to co-labour, in His labour of love.
There is an ease in the dance.
‘Take my hand, Little One, let Me lead…’
Whispers released in the wind.
This story of ‘failure’, of acceptance, is powerful. This story of Truth must be told. I seek to tell the good; bad; and ugly – how else are we encouraged to fall forward into the arms of One who is Love.
I affirm there is no excuse for lack of obedience. I could have stopped, and refreshing would flow. It is not told to encourage a lack of forward movement. Rather, it shows that His love and acceptance will not shake loose. Who and What He will always be is in this three-word phrase…
God is Good!