I still get surprised by God’s loving grace and mercy. I work hard to get things “right” and when I take time to actually slow down and think I’m reminded of how simple experiencing life really is. I know you’re thinking, “Simple! I’m drowning every day and can’t seem to catch up!” Simple is not typically a word used to describe our daily lives and trust me when I say that I do not always believe in the simplicity either. More times than not I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off and have a to-do list a mile long!
I was recently reflecting on a sermon I heard from John Lynch (at Open Door Fellowship in Phoenix) and read from Proverbs 3 & Ecclesiastes 10. I was again reminded and surprised by God’s simple love & instruction. It all comes back to identity: knowing who I am because of God’s love and believing in that even when it doesn’t feel right. When this is happening daily life looks different. I can rest in the simple parts of my daily life. Typically, I am doing the opposite and end up trying to force myself to just make it through another day.
Proverbs 3: 1-6 (ESV) says “My (child), do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
God has been reminding me that living out of who we really are (who He has already made us to be) is what leads us to experiencing life. First and foremost, we have to know who we are. We have to let Him teach us and trust what He says about us. That may come in the form of affirmation from others, difficult conversations with others, scripture, or many other ways. We are loved. We are faithful. Why? Because He is love and He is faithful and we were made in His image. There’s nothing we have to do as His children to become loving and faithful. Accepting the relationship He wants with me and being His child makes me that way.
When I forget or forsake those things then I begin to lean on my own understanding. Then I begin believing that my identity and worth is only based on what I can do. I think I am nothing but a sinful person that has to try harder to keep things together, love and be good. Let the striving to attain the perfect life begin. And do you know what comes next? Frustration, anger, bitterness, broken relationships, more striving, feelings of failure, overindulgence in things as I look for what will make me feel better. These are some of my top outcomes but the list can go on and on. The cycle repeats and repeats. All of that boils down to the fact that I have forgotten who I am.
Sometimes I think I forget it because I just simply cannot believe that it is true. I do not think I am worthy enough to be made in His image or to be loved by God and others. I do not think it can really be as simple as trusting God. There has to be a catch, right? I keep looking for the string attached. There is no string. I am loved. He made me that way.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” Verse 15 says, “The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city.”
Both of these verses affirmed for me what I was describing earlier. The iron was designed to be sharp. When I try to use it differently than it’s intended purpose then I have to work a lot harder. I have to use more and more strength and completely wear myself out. Letting the iron be sharp like it was made to be allows the job to just happen without so much effort. I am being foolish when I try to be something else and when I refuse to believe who I really am. I am not only hurting myself but those around me. I am wandering around lost and afraid. I grab any remedy and rules I think will help make me better. I am unable to experience life because I am too busy trying to find it. I already have life. Embracing who I am because of Christ allows me to experience it.
God’s grace and mercy is sufficient to cover all the times we forget who we are and His love is plentiful enough to continue to remind us of the truth. . . . Even when I trust who He made me to be just a tiny, tiny amount there is such freedom and life experienced that it automatically flows from me. I’m then able to experience daily life from a different perspective.
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