Don’t do what I do
But I’ll bet you already do.
I obsess over mistakes and failures and my dumb personality, then I compare myself to others, then I judge myself, then I get depressed. Then I think God feels the same way about me as I do.
All the while, God is obsessed with something much more important: my self-rule and self-sufficiency. He wants me to stop being my own boss and to stop trusting myself.
But, I just want to be liked and not make a fool of myself. I just want to know when to shut up. I just want to finally clean out the garage, cure my procrastination, and not drop the ball at work. I just want to stop dreaming more than doing; Oh God don’t let me be exposed like Molesley on Downton Abbey who could only talk a good game of cricket.
I would rather be a better person by my own definition than by God’s definition. When I obsess over shortcomings as if they were sin, I become my own God, inventing my own definition of sin. I make my shortcomings bigger deals than my self-rule and self-sufficiency.
I wish I’d get it all straight and get rid of my junk.
Yes I have junkie stuff. But I’m not junk.
Why does God love you?
Does he love you because you’re awesome and do great things?
Does he love you because he’s God and the Bible says ‘God is love’ so he has to do what the Bible says but it’s not really personal? And he sort of wishes he didn’t have to love you?
My friend Tony asks people who follow Jesus but feel unloved because they still mess up,
When God punished Jesus for your sin on the cross, did he hold back a little of his wrath and put it in his pocket so he could take it out and fling it at you the next time you messed up?
God loves things he created in his image. That’s you.
Right at the beginning of the Bible he says he created you in his image. Then he tells the very first people to be fruitful and multiply and exercise authority over their domain and to connect with others. This is part of his image and is your heritage.
You were not made to live a disconnected, non-contributing, helpless, depressed, excuse-filled, humdrum life. You were made to create, contribute, connect, and leave a mark. You have been specially wired and gifted to cover your specific assignment, your corner of the pool.
You are who you are on purpose
But you were made to do this in union with God, not on your own. When you don’t do it in union with him, then you look at other people, or you look for a list, to try to know what it looks like for you.
You want a familiar job description, like you see with others. With a familiar job description you’ll have an identity, and you’ll know who you are: an ‘author’ or ‘business owner’ or ‘singer’ or ‘pastor.’
What it your job description is unique, just between you and God, and is the kind of thing no one else will appreciate? What if your calling is for some crazy thing like a life of grace and patience that spreads in everyday situations, and maybe people notice and maybe they don’t? Does that count?
Why don’t you know anyone else exactly like you?
Do you know anyone with your exact combination of interests, experiences, fears, hopes, disappointments, passions, friends, and who also orders your exact favorite Starbucks drink?
Hot dogs and pencils are cranked out on an assembly line. Not you. You’re hand-made. One-by-one and one-of-a-kind. It’s personal. Own it.
If all the pieces of the puzzle were exactly the same, they wouldn’t fit. You have to be you to fit.
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ – Romans 9.20
Bigger than your faults
In Genesis 20 Abraham lies. He says his wife Sarah is his sister. He’s done this before. He’s afraid the king might hurt him to get to his wife. So the king thinks Sarah is Abraham’s sister, and takes Sarah into his house.
Later, God tells the king he is a dead man if he touches Sarah. This does not make the king happy.
He goes to Abraham and wants to know why he lied. Abraham tells him.
The king orders Abraham to leave, and gives him a passel of sheep and cattle and servants and money to take with him. He tells Abraham to go anywhere in the king’s kingdom that he wants — he gets to pick.
What? Abraham just got blessed big time. Even though he lied!
He wasn’t blessed because he lied, but despite it. Still, shouldn’t there be some consequences? Maybe not an angel of death swooping down or the earth opening up, but at least his pants should catch on fire. Anything but blessing.
This is mighty encouraging.
Only God knows everything going on, everything he’s doing, and everyone’s heart. He doesn’t have to turn over his sovereignty to some automatic cause-and-effect machine that he created. He can decide, case-by-case, the best way to bring about what he has in mind.
And apparently, when your heart’s right, if God has something he’s going to do and he’s decided to use you, he doesn’t have to let your faults stop him.
Which chunk of what you’ve read here means the most to you?
- Don’t treat your junkie shortcomings the same as real sin
- God loves you anyway
- Embrace your unique wiring and job description
- And don’t let your faults stop you if they don’t stop God
* * * *
The Everything Fits affirmation:
– my personality and DNA and wiring and gifting –
is engineered or permitted or governed by a sovereign, just, loving God who always has three good things in mind
1) to develop my personal relationship and intimacy with him
2) to accomplish his purposes in the world, and
3) to further his own awesome, unmeasurable aims that are bigger than my ability to understand.
Therefore, whether it’s past, present, or future, I can have confidence and peace that somehow, someway, Everything Fits Even When It Doesn’t, and I will trust and cooperate with God in the fitting.