A proud father
How would it change things if you not only knew but actually felt that God is truly proud of who you are? Would you even believe it if you stood before Jesus and he said with a gentle smile that he is proud of you, right now, in this moment? If you knew you were completely and unconditionally loved because of WHO you are and not based on anything you have done, how would life be different? Would you stop striving? Would you stop feeling like you weren’t measuring up or cease to feel guilty about not accomplishing enough or being good enough? Would you be less fearful and more free and at ease knowing that your Good Father, the one who made you with all your intricacies, sees you as HIS beautiful creation, HIS masterpiece?
I have been reflecting on these questions quite a bit over the past few months. I know the “right answer” to the questions. Yet I am still so often not really believing it even though I know in my head that I’m loved unconditionally. I still catch myself falling into striving or thinking that God is disappointed in me when I don’t feel like I measure up, which creates a cycle of frustration that I still am not where I ought to be. I know it’s a lie, but it’s an easy one for me to believe.
At our last Windrush Day Away, Annika gave the picture of God seeing us like a mountain. A mountain is beautiful and can make us awestruck just by its majestic splendor—it doesn’t have to do anything. If you look closely, the mountain is not perfect but far from it. There are cracks, it’s not symmetrical, parts of it are crooked or jagged, and if you look closely there are plenty of weeds and mud in spots. Yet in spite of all of those things, we continue to gaze in wonder at the beautiful mountain, because we see the whole mountain.
The more I think about it, the more I relate to this as a picture of how God sees us. We are his beloved children, ones He knit together in our mother’s womb. I know He sees our faults, our imperfections, our striving and failings—He sees it all. And yet somehow, beyond comprehension, He sees us as his prized creation with a proud smile on his face. Somehow, some way I feel that when we see ourselves as the sum of our faults and see the worst in ourselves, God just sees the True Self, the beautiful son or daughter He created. It’s the same way a parent lovingly looks at a newborn child. Nothing the child could do could change the love, admiration, pride and genuine joy a parent feels toward this child. The simplicity yet profoundness of this concept is just amazing to me!
When God created the universe in Genesis, he repeatedly looks at his creation at the end of each day and sees it as “good.”That means everything, including you and me.I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful it doesn’t say “perfect.”I think perfection is the enemy of good as being perfect feels unattainable and leads to guilt over never getting there.The voice of the deceiver that tells you that you aren’t good or never will be and that God is disappointed in you is much easier to believe.It’s much harder to believe that God is proud of who you are and couldn’t love you more than he does right now.I truly hope we can believe this simple truth a little more today than yesterday—especially in the midst of all of our flaws, nuances, cracks and imperfections.And even when we forget, I hope we are reminded of God’s gentle, unconditional love and pride he has for his children, ones he sees as good.