Feb 26, 2017

A Confession

Maybe I have been trying too hard to speak your language.

But I want you to understand something; that as your faith (or heart) is guided by your beliefs—or worldview, or whatever you wish you to name it—so is mine. My heart and mind walk hand-in-hand because only when they are together do I know wisdom: how to not only grasp and seek to understand truth, but to live consciously, proactively, and courageously by it.

My foundational and ultimate truth is that YHWH, God, the Creator of the Universe, desires an intimate relationship with me, with all Mankind. Since I was a child, I have chosen to embrace that love—to follow it. That path is mysterious, beautiful, often difficult and uncertain due to internal and external influences. But I do not walk it alone.

The Spirit of God walks with me, teaches me through God’s Word—the words of shepherds, kings, poets, prophets, and fishermen who communed with Him; with, above all, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ (savior) who was God incarnate in the land of Palestine centuries ago; with Jesus’ disciples who sought to share and understand his teaching; with the many who have followed Jesus since then. The Holy Spirit is real, powerful, inspiring, and peace-giving. God.

Such love fills the infinite well of goodness in my heart. I feel deeply, but I also think deeply. Heart and mind together, as a whole man, I thus “put myself out there” each day, seizing each opportunity as best as I can. That does not mean that I do so well, or that by being myself I am accepted by everyone I meet. Sometimes in giving myself so freely, so openly—without most reservations—I can overwhelm them. They do not know what to do with me, or what to make of me. Can I be trusted?

I am not entirely free from doubt or mistrust myself. My life is textured with many scars.

Sometimes I even feel like a shadow. In giving myself entirely to God, I wonder what is left that is truly me. But then I remember how God has equipped and is equipping me for life. I am a writer, musician, photographer—an artist. I am an athlete, outdoor adventurer, coach, and teacher. These are just a few of my points of connection with the world, presumably the most fruitful gardens of my work. I pour my life and love into them. They help shape meaning and purpose. I want to know as many people as I can, share as much of life as we can together—to affirm that love and community are real.

But even if it is not me that someone wants, I am confident in the love and intimacy I share with God. He is both within my heart and without: present everywhere. I am never alone, nor need to be afraid. I know that I am loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe, manifested in glimpses and caresses by His creation: people, nature, everything. I long for everyone to know such tender, inspiring love, such beauty. It is the foundational rock of my faith. My soul stands upon that kind of vigor. I pray that what I build upon it is a light to others.

One of the main lessons from Jesus is to love one another as he loved us. While we need not necessarily do so exactly as he did—i.e. suffer and die, for there can only be one ultimate savior—the principle truth is that of serving each other. Jesus symbolized this by washing his disciples’ feet, which was a humble service in his culture.

As I follow Jesus; to “put myself out there”, therefore, means to begin loving in the framework of service. This is apparently countercultural. Putting the needs of others before myself, seeking first to understand before being understood, is enigmatic to some and suspicious to others. Do I have an ulterior motive, they might ask? Too often, I likely do. Nevertheless, God’s grace gives me the capacity to forgive myself. Thus I have an infinite well of love to draw from as I seek to share that gift with others. For the nature of a gift is that it must be shared.

Many do not take it. They do not understand what I am offering. They still distrust it. Who serves others unconditionally, after all? Well, Jesus did, and he is my inspiration and guide. But most people rejected and reject Jesus, so should I be surprised if I meet the same withdrawal? The challenges are usually subtle, at times confused by my own selfishness (longing and expectations) and pride (ego). But that does not mean that I should give up.

My heart may ache, nay grieve; I may become weary with doubts, but I find resolve in the hope that I can ultimately overcome because Jesus overcame everything, including death. Death no longer has any mastery over my life. My body will die, but my spirit will live until reunited with a resurrected body. Life will be plagued with sorrow for a while, but that is not the end of the story. In Jesus, there is true triumph, peace, and love. It has already begun to permeate the world. It will be fulfilled completely, unendingly, when Jesus returns to reclaim this world from the Enemy who takes advantage of our human frailty. In the meantime, my identity is fundamentally in Jesus Christ, in faith in his promises. In God. I nurture hope and courage—confidence—in that trust, in that present relationship.

God is here with me now. Sometimes he speaks in words; more often He whispers in more mysterious languages: sight, sounds, touch, taste, the spirit. Most of these messages come through people, His people—any person, whether they realize it or not. He has certainly done so through you. I praise Him for that. I praise Him for you.

I pray for you, for all that you dream to give to people, to be, and to do. That it is good. Know that you are loved; ultimately not because of what you do, but because of who you are. I love you, and I am sure that many feel the same. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing.

I do not expect you to understand all of this. I do not expect you to respond. I just want to “be my true self” once more, offering limited words when action and presence are not available. I want you to begin to grasp that I do not live in fear or desperate need; that I am at peace, aware of both my strengths and weaknesses—seeing beauty and potential in both. As I see in you. As I see in everyone.

Therefore, may God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace. Now and forevermore.