Over the last three weeks I have been writing about Jesus’ command to love God with all of ourselves—heart, soul, mind and strength. This is Part IV of that series.
If we are to love God with all that we are, the last step is that we have to be honest about who we are, what our attitudes are, what our guilt and shame are. We have to own who we are—all that we are. We need to lift all areas of embarrassment up to God as we become aware of them. This can take a long time. But he will heal and transform all those areas. And as we work with Christ in this way, we will see a marked changed in our fear and anxiety, in our ability to love, to be present to life, to live fully.
We no longer push away the things we don’t like about ourselves. We don’t hide all of who we are from anybody, least of all from God. I think we might laugh about our attempts to hide our shame and guilt from God if we would just realize that he knows everything, EVERYTHING, about us already. And still loves us and forgives us.
To live with integrity, with wholeness, with love is a relief. We no longer are putting all our energies into covering over the bad parts of ourselves. We no longer have to build walls between ourselves and God or between us and our pain. And all that energy expended to keep us looking good! Finally, we will join the human race, realizing that everyone else is doing the same thing we are—trying to look good when in fact we are all a mixed bag of good and evil, holy and not. Think of what a relief it is not to hide behind some façade, to claim who we are in totality.
It seems that the most human thing that we do is to give ourselves up to God and then take back control when we become afraid or angry. Or we’re always trying to do both—be surrendered to God and still have our way. Aren’t we always petitioning God to fix this or that person, to do what we want done. How many of those prayers does he answer the way we want him to?
In the first step, we are learning to love to ourselves. In the second step, we are listening to God and what he asks of us, we do. In the third step we surrender everything to God. And now we are to own all that we are., the good, the bad and the ugly. As you might guess, these steps are not neatly organized, one-step-at-a-time steps. The reality is that we are advancing in some areas even as we slide in another. Or we do a little of loving ourselves, and then own up to some of ourselves, too. Then we slip over surrendering or listening to God. It’s a two-steps- forward-one-step-backward kind of process. After all, we are human beings! The important thing is that we have made a commitment to God to love him with all of ourselves and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
It is as we persevere, as we become faithful to God that we begin to cohere in all these steps. We begin to realize that how we are with one part of ourselves is how we are in all parts. That how we love ourselves, how we love others—our capacity to do that with peace, love, joy and patience—is also how we love God. It’s a long process that takes a partnership with God to accomplish. And so there is the motivation for continuing to learn how to love ourselves, how to love God.
But the rewards of loving God with all of ourselves are enormous. It is as if a huge weight were taken off our shoulders and we are free. Free to be ourselves, just as we are, just as we were created to be. Free to be God’s people and not have to be perfect. Free to love God without the cultural biases, free to love God as we experience his presence in our lives, to love God as He is, not as we project him to be. Free to be his partner, acting out of our purpose as he designed us. And then we are living in truth as we are and as God is.
Questions to ponder over the week: Is it even important to me to love God with all of myself—heart, soul, mind and strength? What am I holding back from God? In what areas of my life is it easy to love God? Which areas are the hardest? Can I see how freeing it would be to just be myself as I am?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who seek to love him with all of ourselves. May we come to understand our purpose as we work together. May we embrace all people and see them with love, as God sees us.
*****I’m doing more research for my book. If you have had the experience of God revealing to you what your purpose is, would you write me in the Messages and tell me what that purpose is and how it came about. I would greatly appreciate your help. I’ll use it in my book, but the writer will remain anonymous.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.
At www.bythewaters.net/blog/html are archives of all my posts going back to 2011.