Every now and then we stumble across a random video, inspirational quote, Facebook post, etc. that deeply resonates with us and where we are. Sometimes it’s something cheesy like the pictures of puppies wearing sweaters that I never seem to get tired of, sometimes it can be a bit more serious. Either way, from time to time God uses those everyday things as vehicles for His messages to me. This happened earlier this year when a friend recommended I watch a TED talk by an unknown (at the time) author named Brene Brown.
TED talks are short lectures by smart, inspiring people about anything and everything: Technology, brains, relationships, science, happiness, and so much more. Brene Brown’s talk was one of those vehicles God used to touch me deeply. If what I was currently learning in life was a musical chord, this video was completely in key. She spoke on the power that comes from vulnerability, sharing who you are with someone else and the desire we all have to belong and be known. And while she was not openly a follower of Jesus, she made some profound statements that I think can be supported by the Bible and can directly relate to our spiritual lives. She talked about how the greatest desire of every human heart is to be known, understood, and loved. I doubt anyone would disagree. However, I would amend that while we want that desire to be fulfilled by earthly relationships, we were given that desire by the only One who could truly fill it – our Creator who (amazingly) also offers Himself to us as Father.
The greatest desire of every human heart is to be known, understood, and loved…We were given that desire by the only One who could truly fill it – our Creator who (amazingly) also offers Himself to us as Father.
There was a moment in the video that I found myself in tears (which is a big deal for me). It was in reference to a new parent and their infant. “They [the baby] are hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect—make sure she makes the tennis team by the fifth grade and Yale by the seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to say, ‘You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.’”
Do you see the difference in the two statements? One puts value on perfection and performance. No room for struggle or honesty, just expectation and disappointment. I can feel myself putting on my mask to hide my imperfections while typing this! Do you know people like that, people who don’t allow you to struggle? Who make you feel like you have to act perfect or else disappointment will permeate the room? Maybe you feel like this with God. Like He expects perfection from you and is disappointed when you let Him down. If this is you, then listen closely.
I want you to now imagine God, your heavenly Father, looking at you at this very moment and saying those words we just read above. “This is my daughter. She struggles now and will always struggle. She is at battle with her flesh and sin and I love her. She is worthy of belonging and love because, when I see her, I see my daughter that I created and my perfect Son, who has washed her clean. I enjoy her and delight in her.” (Isaiah 43:1-7, Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 8, Luke 15, Psalm 18:16-19)
It is absolutely true that God wants and asks for our obedience, but have you ever thought about the fact that God understands our sin better than we do?
Now, don’t mishear me. It is absolutely true that God wants and asks for our obedience, but have you ever thought about the fact that God understands our sin better than we do? I get frustrated so often when I struggle with sin. But the truth is, God not only forgives my sin, but His understanding of why I am this way completely surpasses mine. He sees the “why” behind my sin issues. He sees everything that has happened in your life that has led you to your struggles today. He understands your fear of rejection or abandonment, He sees the home you grew up in, He knows the hurts you carry around with you and the defense mechanisms you’ve put around your heart like a wall of thick cement.
By knowing and believing this, we see that we can’t hide any part of us from God. He wants to heal the parts we wish we could hide. If we don’t own and expose our shameful parts to God, we are only participating in behavior modification, not true heart change. So when our heavenly Father is asking for our daily, consistent, full obedience, He isn’t doing so from a distant place of disengagement or judgment. He is demanding our obedience in knowing who we are, and because of that, He is able to provide what we really need (not what we think we need).
Are there things God has asked you to do but shame has kept you from pursuing obedience? What has God asked you to do that you are avoiding because you don’t believe you are good enough or capable enough?
Come clean with God. Bring those masks, defense mechanisms, and pitiful attempts to His feet. Watch and feel His love and compassion wash over you as He breaks your chains. He understands you more than you understand yourself and tenderly loves you more than you can even grasp. Simply knowing this can start you on the road of healing you’ve wanted to walk down for so long.
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Image Credit: JoshArdle, Creative Commons
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on Sarah’s website and has been published with permission.