Grace – About Me

I’ve never been one of those talented, prodigies depicted in movies.  You know the ones… The tortured, amazing artists who naturally create inspirational art.  They struggle with their basic humanity, but are compensated by God with stunning talents.  I’m not one of those.

Well, I can identify with the ‘struggling with basic humanity‘ part…  and maybe the tortured part too. I want this ‘about me’ post to be honest.  So for the record, I am a selfish, guilt-ridden and guilt-driven, dark, mostly self-loathing person who stands back and admires grace from afar.  But I’m too afraid, too stubborn, too guilty, and sometimes too proud to embrace it.

I used to want to be a musician/songwriter.  Then I wanted to be a writer.  Still later I wanted to be a photographer.  But I’m really none of those things.  Sure I’ve tried a little of each.  You can see some of it by perusing this website.  I am still trying to figure out what I am.

I love to be inspired.  At the time of this writing, I have just finished watching “Ragamuffin” on Netflix.  It is a great movie about the late Rich Mullins.  I can relate to his struggle and his humanity. He struggled to be free from a great many things that beat him up, tortured him, or held him at arms length from his Savior.  But he yearned to be close to God.

Closeness to God is not about feelings. It’s about obedience… I don’t know how you feel close to God. And no one I know who seems to be close to God knows anything about those feelings either. I know if we obey, occasionally the feeling follows. Not always, but occasionally. I know that if we disobey, we don’t have a shot at it.” – Rich Mullins

I long to be close to God.  That’s what I want my ‘about me’ to say.  I want it to say that “He drew near to God and God drew near to him”.  I don’t want to chase after the vanities of this world.  I don’t want to climb the mountains of life only to find that they don’t bring any satisfaction at all.  And I don’t want to chase after the wind.  I want to find God and be near to Him.

I am currently reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning for the first time.  It says that it is written for the ‘bedraggled, beat up and burnt out…  for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… for the poor, weak and sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents…’  sounds about right.

I’m just a guy who struggles with accepting love and grace that I don’t deserve.  I bathe myself in unworthiness and guilt.  Then I hide from God like Adam when he realized he was naked.  So this quote from The Ragamuffin Gospel speaks to me:

“Grace calls out: you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted. Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.” (p.29)

As a weak-kneed, wobbly human, I struggle with letting myself love.  I hold back.  A lot.  If I could tell you all the reasons why, maybe I could find the cure.  I am a failure in relationships.  I don’t just mean the romantic sort (though a never-been-married, middle aged guy tells that story).  I mean relationships with friends, co-workers, church goers, family and, yes, God.  I push everyone away.  Something within me grows uncomfortable, scared and I have to shove the arms up and push away.

It’s not what I want.  I want to love and to be loved.  The most important relationship is the one that you have with Jesus Christ.  Here is a friend who knows me inside and out.  He know what I will do next week.  That means he can’t be disappointed in me…  He already knows.  But I feel completely unworthy of His presence.  So I push Him away and I hide.

Somewhere along the line, my understanding or ability to embrace love was broken.  I don’t know where or how specifically.  So I have always tried to embrace God with sound logic.  Unfortunately, logic cannot come to grips with grace.  And neither can I.  Why am I afforded this gift from God?  Why did He die for ME?  Why does He love me?

Brennan Manning said that he is convinced that Jesus is going to ask us all one question on judgment day…  “Do you believe that I love you?”

I wept when I watched that video.  Imagine Jesus loving me…  desiring me…  waiting for me…  And me…  not believing that He really does.  Then imagine Him saying “I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be.  Because you’re never gonna be as you should be.

The root of my issues is unbelief.  And I’ve allowed this unbelief to taint my image of God…  to make Him small like me…  To limit Him to my emotional and intellectual abilities.

And yet, I sit here yearning to draw near unto Him.  And I know that cannot happen until I learn how to accept His grace and His love.  I solicit your prayers.

This is who I am.

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