So much has been going on. I have been – or at least felt – absent from my blog in the ways that matter to me. Heart matters. Those pieces of us that groan and ache and rejoice and cry and feel every moment of life have been tender and emotive for me. I have censored myself and felt so much confusion over my call and my work. It. Has. Been. Hard.
Surrounded by anxiety and shame about writing I have only felt able to whisper it to it to a select few.
God bless those who have prayed for me.
Last Friday evening I dragged myself to the If Gathering in West Minneapolis. The If Gathering is a live-streamed conference for women based out of Texas. I did not expect anything. I figured I would not go Saturday morning. But they were talking about the last thing I expected: Jesus.
Not marriage and Jesus. Not children and Jesus. Not housework and Jesus.
Jesus who healed lepers.
Jesus who offered living water to disgraced foreign women.
Jesus who hung out with sinners and prostitutes so much that people thought that he was a drunk.
Jesus who was given all things by God.
Jesus who served.
Jesus who died.
Jesus who lived.
As the speakers spoke about Jesus, I realized, I need Jesus. I need to be with him, learning about him, hearing from him. I need to open my Bible and sit and read the gospels even when I don’t want to, because it’s Jesus.
I don’t think I know him like I think I know him.
For example, I have heard sermon after sermon of Jesus being frustrated with the disciples. Those men who are with Jesus all the time, but still don’t understand what Jesus is all about. I shift uncomfortably during sermons where Peter or James or Judas are mocked by preachers while I recognize my foolishness in their actions and words.
I assume Jesus will mock me, too.
But today, when opening to Luke 5, I read about Jesus calling Simon (aka Peter) to follow him. Before Jesus calls them to be his disciples, he tells Simon to go fishing one more time and fills their nets to bursting with their catch. Simon sees this miraculous work and falls on his knees, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8)
Jesus does not ridicule him. He does not reject him. Jesus does not tell him to get his act together and get rid of that shame that’s haunting him.
Jesus simply lifts him up and tells him, “Do not be afraid.” (v 10)
Do not live in anxiety. Do not be overcome by your shame. From now on, you will be with me and with me you are safe.
At the If Gathering Eugene Cho said that in order to serve God we need to do three things:
- Know that Jesus loves you.
- Hear the voice of Jesus
- Love People
I confess that I have not been writing or living out of a place of knowing Jesus’ love for me. I have been striving to prove my worth and expertise before God. Striving to prove myself good enough for you. The result has been a life of fear.
During this season of Lent, I pray that we all can know that Jesus loves us. This is not merely a time for repentance and ashes, but is the season when day after day we turn to our Savior. It is the time we dwell in Jesus’ love, hear his voice, and love others from the well that overflows within us.
So, I pray for us, that we can turn to Jesus and hear him. That we can receive his love and follow his call without fear. He has not come to condemn us, but to love and free us from the shame and fear and guilt that so many struggle with all the time. (see John 3:17)
If you need prayer, please don’t hesitate to ask for it. It would be my honor to pray with you.