Since feeling convicted that I need to get my mind under control, I have been overwhelmed recently with how negative most of my thought process is. The things I say to myself are far crueller than anything I would ever say to anyone else. I am not truly grasping that my identity is not in myself, my performance or my appearance but in that of Christ Jesus (Galatians 2:20).
Recently saw Sight and Sound's production of Behold the Lamb. When Jesus went walking on the water and then called Peter to come out on the water to Him, Peter starts out fine, then sees the wind, freaks out and sinks. (Matthew 14:25-32). And in the show, Jesus says to Peter when He pulls him out of the water, "You did so well until you took your eyes off of me." (And cue Lauren's tears.)
I'm realizing how much that is my issue lately. I have taken my eyes off of Jesus completely and focused them on myself. All of my inadequacies. All of my brokenness. All of my failings. Lauren. Lauren. Lauren.
But the object of my faith (Jesus) is consistent, good and loving even when my faith is constantly shaken by the whispers of the Enemy in my ears.
"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." -1 John 1:5
If lies of darkness are dominating my thoughts, that cannot be of God for God is light. In Him there is no darkness. There can be pain and suffering in Him but it is a pain and suffering that exists with Hope. And if I am walking in darkness and consistently living out of the lies that are being spoken to me, I cannot claim to truly be in fellowship with my God. I have become reliant on myself for my identity.
So tonight I reread Henri Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. What a blessing of a book. My favorite passage that shines light into the darkness:
"We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That's the truth of our lives. That's the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That's the truth spoken by the voice that says, ' You are my Beloved.'
Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: 'I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother's womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover and your spouse... yes, even your child... wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.'"
(And cue Lauren's tears... of joy.)
P.S. Photo by Leslie Talley.