Breanna. Learning to love and be loved from the One who is Love.
Grace carried me here,
and by Grace I’ll carry on.
I needed to read this so much today.
God has all these characteristics (mighty, powerful, just, humble, meek, compassionate, strong, victorious, etc), ‘roles’ we know Him in and names we know Him by (Father, Savior, the Good Shepard, Creator, Lord, the Lamb, Alpha and Omega, etc) within His nature.
My friend and I were talking today about being true to ourselves and authentic in all situations about who were are, no matter what. It’s a value to both of us that is really important and key to how we live our lives. In different roles we have, we have to dress differently. Who we are is not how we dress. Different roles we are required to put on different clothes. But who we are in those roles are all the same person, regardless of how different we look. And when we are required to put on different clothes because of a different role, it is just demonstrating a different characteristic that is always there.
For example, as a journalist I have to get professional in heels, pencil skirt, blouse and soft waves, but if you catch me at other times I’d look completely different. Working out, I’d have a pair of Nike shoes, shorts, athletic tee shirt, ponytail, and no make-up. Catch me on a normal day I’ll have skinny jeans, vans, a Christian hardcore/metal band tee or v-neck plain shirt, and maybe a zip-up hooded jacket. Or maybe a sundress with sandals. But I’m just being me. I’m not being a different person, I’m all the same person and my personality and character hasn’t changed, just certain aspects are brought out depending on what I’m doing.
I have finally learned in a whole new way than ever before to let myself be free to just be me, and not worry about people understanding because I know who I am and am staying true and authentic to myself. For example, I used to not be very open about liking heavy music even though it was a huge passion of mine and a part of who I am for years. I have been asked by many people, how can I be so “sweet and caring” but love such heavy music (which comes off as [and in many ways is] violent and angry)? How can I be both, when they are what seems opposites or completely different characteristics? The answer is people don’t know me completely if they don’t understand.
I think we do the same thing to God at times, when we ask how He can be the Lion and Lamb, Lowly and Exalted, Just and Merciful (etc). Yet, it’s a really beautiful thing to me that God is both!
I was so encouraged looking at God, knowing who He is, and seeing how He has put on many different “clothes or forms”, has many characteristics, but they are all unchanging and one in who He is… all the time.
In learning to marry together all the unique ways God has made me and accept them as one, I also am able to be challenged to see all the characteristics of God in all His roles as a whole. I can see Him better as all of who He is -at all times- instead of separating or focusing only at one as true at different times. It is a more complete picture of who God is, and more true. My understanding is deepened.
I was thinking through some examples how differently God appears at times to us and am just amazed thinking through how the same God who was lowly and put on human flesh, bearing the scars of crucifixion is the same God who is a victorious King and Warrior with fire in His eyes and a thigh tattoo, clothed in glory and splendor.
We read in the gospels how God came as Jesus Christ and put on flesh. He came as Savior, yet He still was all that God is (“I and the Father am one” John 10:30; 14:10; 17:20). He didn’t just ‘change clothes’ but completely put on a lowly human form. I love reading Revelation 1 and 19, where we get pictures of Jesus different than the ones we imagine in the gospels (Jewish, human, meekly, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him” [Isaiah 53:2]).
In Revelation 1:13-16, Jesus is described as “clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Just, overwhelming glory, power, beauty, and holiness that John said he “fell at His feet as though I was dead.”
And Jesus Christ just sounds like a badass (can I say that? CAUSE HE IS) in Revelation 19:11-16:
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Reading those words about Christ speaks to so many of His characteristics that are still who He is; but it looks differently than other passages about Him, doesn’t it? But He is still the same, and He is still one.
In many passages of the Bible in books (like Psalms and Job), God is clothed in such mystery and wonder. God is bigger than I can wrap my mind around! “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; Nor can the number of His years be discovered” (Job 36:26). 1 Corinthians 13:12 talks about how “now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” There are so many passages that describe Creator God, and I can’t imagine the form of God who created everything formed- lighting, every creature and all creation, the stars and mountains… it is like this mystery of wonder that God is bigger than I can imagine or see with my small eyes. He is also ‘invisible’ and ‘unseen’, in one way.
God is Spirit (John 4:24). And then we have the Holy Spirit who lives and resides within us and we are His temple. Mind blown, right?
God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: and He is one.
I could use so many more examples from Scripture, but I think one thing I took away from this was a beautiful picture of God in full view (which I will never be able to completely encapsulate and will forever search out to know more fully because God is more than I can grasp) with all these many characteristics and roles becoming one into a whole Person that is still true.
For me personally as well, I gained a clearer idea what it looks like to be true to who you are while accepting how that looks in different roles and how that can be. I am a whole person with a lot of different characteristics. I am not a different person in all the roles I have or ways I look in those, they all are me. I can be all these things and still be myself. I am actually made in the image of God, and He is conforming me daily more into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)! So many of these unique characteristics I know are me (that can seem different from each other) is simply the way God made me! It brings Him glory when I am free to be who He made me to be, completely.
And taking this all one step further, as the body of Christ, we have a lot of different characteristics, roles, and ways we look. But we are all one and united in Christ. We are still the body, and just because one role wears different clothes doesn’t mean it’s not a part or isn’t remaining true. Being different is just diversity, and just because something things about one thing are different does not mean they can’t be paired together.
I think in many ways we as individuals or we as the diverse body of Christ reflect and embody different characteristics of God, which as His children we should! It is a really cool thing to see and think about. I think the more we know about God and are able to understand Him more fully and wholly, we will be able to have more unity in diversity and be able to bring together the many different things as one in Him. Above all, we are called to “put on Christ” and be clothed in Him (Romans 13:14). And in all this, He is conforming us more into His image to reflect His glory.
One of the most fascinating things about Jesus was how much time he spent with people. You would think that God in human flesh, knowing his time on earth was short, would have spent every minute expounding theological thoughts and doctrinal discourses. But Jesus took time out for people: good people, bad people, hyper-religious people, self-condemned people, sick people, even a few dead people.
Jesus made friends with disreputable sinners, people that society rejected: Zacchaeus, Matthew, the woman caught in adultery, the thief on the cross. He made friends with invisible people, those that society ignored or undervalued: Peter, James, John, and the rest of the disciples. He reached out to the blind and the lame and the lepers, and he healed them with no strings attached.
Keep in mind that Jesus came to show us the father (John 14:9). In other words, how he dealt with people was exactly how God deals with us. Jesus smiled at people because God smiled at them. He healed people because God wanted to heal them. He hugged people because God longed to hug them. He ate fish and chips with alcoholics, he played hide-and-seek with kids, he cracked corny jokes, and he forgave sins left and right because that’s what God would have done in his place.
He wasn’t faking anything. He wasn’t putting on a show so we would think more highly of him. He wasn’t trying to look relevant or win votes. He actually loved people.
We have to grasp this truth. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it. He came to save it. He wasn’t out to highlight his holiness and shame those who didn’t measure up. He came to find sinners and offer them a way out. He came to give hope to desperate, lonely, hurting people. He came to replace our quiet desperation with righteousness and peace and joy."
- Judah Smith (via hislivingpoetry)
- Jerry Bridges
- Donald Miller
God has been peeling back a lot of lies and guiding me back to His heart lately.
On my drive home today I realized something. If I really like a guy, and I want him to like me back, why am I so crushed and disappointed if he doesn’t feel the way I do about him? Why do I always begin listing 101+ reasons in my head of why he must not like me?
It takes a whole new level of humility to admit this, but many times when I’ve liked someone I think I’ve spent too much time thinking about how could I get that guy to like me (what should I do, how should I act, what should I say, etc) rather than realizing that I am loveable just how I am. It’s not that I would change for every guy I liked (which is actually a very small number) to become what I thought he would like, but I would think to myself and try to figure out if I was what he wanted or not. It’s terrible! Because if I concluded I wasn’t, then I would feel like this reason and this reason is why this guy won’t date me. “I am tall. It’s my smile- it’s not perfect. I like metal.” Stupid things that really were more in my head and assumptions rather than truth. And they were based on worldly standards more than godly ones.
The problem is, analyzing the crap out of stuff, trying to figure out what a guy is thinks about you is just freaking confusing and deterring. Creating a ruler for yourself to measure up to that may not even exists is straight up stupid. Enough.
And then on top of that, I would be hyper-sensitive to the other girls he would talk to and sometimes even look them up on Facebook and compare myself to them. If they were prettier or skinnier than me, I would be like, ‘well that is why he gives her attention and I have no chance.’ Women, if you do this, just stop. It’s really destructive. That is all I have to say about that.
Today, I was just like, “Hey, I have value and worth. If a guy does not see that value and worth in me, it does not mean it is not there, or I’m not good enough for him. I still have value and worth. Someday someone will see it and love me for who I am, and I don’t need to change to be desirable or to be better for him.” It’s not that I wouldn’t change, it’s that if you feel you need to be better for someone to like you because you are not enough, that’s not good. It’s definitely an insecurity that I’ve been working through lately. And I think I’m coming out of it and regaining my confidence.
If and when I do someday have a relationship, I want it to be with someone I am comfortable being myself with. I want to know they wouldn’t want to change me; they love me for who I am, just as I am.
Through all this, I’ve realized two major things:
First, I desperately need to find my identity and security in the love of Christ. A huge part of that is seeking after intimacy in knowing Him more and staying grounded in the truth daily. If I am not, I unravel into the mess I’ve described.
Second, I have given into the lie for far too long that I am not desirable. (Mainly, not to a man who I find to be). This is a terrible feeling, and it’s a terrible lie.
So through all this, I guess I just am letting out a huge sigh of relief. I’m returning to the heart of God to ask Him to show me once again how to see myself through His eyes, to show me how to love and be loved, and to remember that above all, I am His.
I belong to Christ, and He loves me with perfect love.
I can be secure in His love and confident in how He has made me. I have value and worth. I am loved just how I am. It may take some time to believe this wholeheartedly again, but at least I’ve addressed the lies and I’m walking away from them and toward Christ.
I’m broken. I have been for awhile.
I’m in a constant state of brokenness.
All these trials, all this pain, all the things that have created so much brokenness in my life and heart- I believe God is using it for good. I never wanted to go through this, I haven’t understood most of it; but it’s drawn me closer to Christ.
At first, I hurt so deeply I turned from God. I felt betrayed that I had surrendered my life into His hands and yet bad things happened to me. I doubted His goodness, I would not trust Him, and I refused to surrender when I felt He had failed me. If He was good, why would He let me go through so much pain? Why wouldn’t He protect me from it? Can I trust a God who doesn’t care if I suffer so deeply?
And I am thankful now I wrested through that. I think it was the farthest I had been from God’s heart in my life, because I had given up trusting in truths of His character and removed myself from depending on Him. I felt hurt by God, and guilty at the same time for blaming Him. But what other explanation was there? Why was I experiencing so much pain?
I was pretty hopeless in that state. Yet God didn’t stop working on my heart even through that hard time. I began to believe again. I began to turn back. I didn’t know how I would ever return to trusting Him again, but He brought me back. I hated how completely broken I felt, how I had completely fallen apart. But finally I am beginning to see my brokenness differently.
The battles I’ve been through have broken me down to nothing at points, but God works deeply in us in brokenness. He is gentle, patient, able, compassionate, understanding, and full of mercy and grace. He does not abandon the work of His hands. That gives me so much hope, knowing He never gives up on me. He doesn’t allow the pain or trails for nothing; He has a purpose to use all things for good and His glory.
“Though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter, You will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” - Psalm 71:20
God is rebuilding me. I have been torn down, torn apart, and the pieces scattered; but He restores and will make me whole again, in Him. I don’t see how it is all coming together right now, but I trust Him, and I want Christ to be my cornerstone.
I think sometimes as Christians we may be afraid of brokenness. Or ashamed, like something is wrong with us. It puts you in a state of neediness and vulnerability that is utterly humbling. Exposing your heart, admitting you don’t have it all together, admitting there are things you don’t understand, admitting you are hurting or falling apart- that is hard. But I see now it’s not weakness, or a bad quality; it’s strength, it’s courage. To be able to share the most broken parts of your heart and life with God, with another person, is courageous; to know you are still accepted and loved in that brokenness is a beautiful thing. Acknowledging that you are in the process of healing and being restored, that not all the pieces are there, and it may take a long time before they are mended… it takes deeper levels of humility than you’ve ever dived into before. You learn to be patient with yourself and to wait on God. Grace in imperfection. It frees you to trust in Christ’s sufficiency, not your own. It teaches you to trust God and the work He is doing in you through the trails more than your desire to rush ahead and be at the end of them.
I think acknowledging how broken I am, and going through the pain helps me extend a lot more grace to others around me, too. Because I realize I’m not the only one who’s experiencing brokenness, who is hurting, who has been torn down. I want others to know it’s okay to not be okay around me, and that if they are hurting, I want to be real about how they are doing, and I want to be with them in that and let them know I care about their heart. I understand better that there are reasons people have different struggles, and a lot of it traces back to the fact that deep down, that person is hurting, and the answer is not to try and change what they are doing out of their brokenness, but love them and hope that love brings healing to the hurt.
I’m so thankful for Christ. He emanates exactly the kind of love I want to know all my days, and the kind of love I want to extend to others. So selfless, self-denying, extravagant. He saw people where they were at and loved them. He had more love in His heart than the whole world or heavens could contain; it will take eternity to search out the fullness of it, and still there is more. The fact that God became flesh is one of the amazing parts of the gospel to me. I was reading Hebrews 4:15 last night and I felt so encouraged that Jesus is not unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but He had been “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” Jesus understands our weaknesses, even though He is perfectly holy and without sin. Think about that.
In the beginning, the more my own brokenness was exposed to me, the more I hated and loathed myself. I still struggle sometimes with thinking I am a terrible person, unworthy of love, and no one would choose to love me in this state. But Christ has shown me differently. He loved me at my worst, at my darkest. And if He can, there are others who will, too.
Now the more I realize my own brokenness, the more I am drawn to love broken people. I want to spread the hope I have in Christ that His grace is greater still, that He overcame, that all the suffering ends in good with Him, and that if someone is broken, I want to love their heart until it experiences at least some touch of healing. God will rebuild us and we won’t always feel like rubble scattered on the ground. With gentle hands, with patience, He will reconstruct every piece and place it where it should go. I know, because that is what He is doing. Maybe all those things that hurt and fell apart needed to. Maybe God wants to build me up anew, but in order to to that, everything had to be torn down. One thing I know for sure: He is rearranging my heart. He is reconstructing my life.
Brokenness is not something to be ashamed of, or afraid of. God creates so much beauty out of broken, humbled hearts.
The world is in desperate need of knowing a love like Christ’s. There is so much brokenness and hidden hurt, and I want people to know there is hope in Christ in that place. You don’t have to despair or remain there; things can change and get better. I will walk with you through it, even when things aren’t getting better. I’ll stay with you through the pain. My love with remain the same through the struggle. I won’t give up, and I won’t let you go. That has been God’s love toward me, and I think a lot more people need to know a love like that exists and they can know it.
In brokenness, you gain such a deeper understanding of His love. There is hope in Christ in that state. There is hope of healing and restoration. So hold on. God does not give up on those who are His own; He will not let go of you, no matter what you are going through. His love endures, and His love will overcome. Something good will come of it.
“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6 ESV