Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.
There has (seemingly) been a lull.
I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!
Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.
It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.
All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”
I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.
Enter this book .
I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)
I don’t ever remember reading it.
Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.
How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?
Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.
To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.
The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.
In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”
My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.
Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.
The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!
If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.
It is so much easier to hide.
What is your identity made up with?
- Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
- Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
- Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
- Is your identity made up by your career?
- Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
- Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?
These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.
But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.
You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!
The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.
YOUR OWN perception of you!
And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.
Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.
They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.
In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;
- Loving others even when they treat you poorly
- Loving those who cannot love you back
- Loving those who are difficult to love
- Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.
We all fail from time to time.
But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.
If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.
His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.
What will that identity look entail?
- Radiance – Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
- Strength – 2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Wisdom – Proverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
- Compassion – Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
- Fruits of the Spirit;
- Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
I want to tell you one more thing.
The thing I tell you the most.
The most important thing.
Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Just …………………. Love.