I always try to balance my speck-posts (critique of systems) with log-posts (critique of me), lest I forget that we are all in process and all part of untrue systems, me just as much as anyone else. And what I have recently recognized in myself is this: I always confess with my mouth that God loves me know matter what but I rarely live that way. If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ then why do I often catch myself trying to prove myself to God, why does shame, guilt, and feelings of “not good enough” still have a resting place in my heart?
In good 12-step fashion, I find the first step to liberation is admittance. What would happen if we actually admitted that we still operate with God the way we do in all our other relationships, that approval is conditional, and love based on the “if.” One of the most damaging things in my relationship with God is when I am unwilling to admit that deep down I still believe that he is pleased with me more when I obey the rules and loves me less when I don’t.
But what happens when I dig even further is more disturbing. If I dig even deeper, past admitting that I don’t believe I am unconditionally accepted, what I find is that I actually like feeling that I am not unconditionally accepted. What?
It’s true. If I am nakedly honest with myself, I often feel like I need conditioned love to motivate me to live a better life. After all, what better incentive to live a selfless life than the pleasure or displeasure of the Creator? But this is not love. This is fear. And perfect love casts out fear. There is no place in the Kingdom of God to be motivated by punishment, it is the love of Christ that compels us to life change, not fear of retribution.
I say it so well but believe it so little . . .