Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This is one of the first blog-entries I wrote back in 2009, shortly after moving to Washington State. Just thought I'd re-post. I hope it speaks to you today:

Yesterday my family and I took a trip to Mt. Rainier. We recently moved to Washington, and I was expecting the mountain to be beautiful close up, and it was. Just take a look at the pictures! But it was more than beautiful and magnificent. Reaching the 6000 ft. elevation point and seeing the glacier-capped mountain come into view was an out-of-this-world experience. Almost unreal. Like another dimension of reality.

I'm sure for those who live or work there, it's become commonplace. It's not new like it was for me. It has become their daily reality. They are constantly surrounded by the beauty and take-your-breath-away views. They hike the trails, drive the roads, see people come and go; It's their life. And hopefully, it doesn't become so familiar that they forget how truly wonderful it all is.

Spiritually-speaking, this happened to me once upon a time. I grew up believing that I was loved by God, and it was a wonderful reality. I'm not sure when that began to change exactly, but it did. Instead of believing I was loved unconditionally, it became conditional. It was as if I was living on a beautiful mountain for many years, never knowing any different, and then someone came along and told me, 'You can't just stay here for free. You have to earn the right to live up here.' I desperately wanted to hang on to His love, so I did whatever I thought I had to do to be worthy of it: Being good; Making the right choices; Doing things to earn God's favor. It was a slow digression, but by the time I began to realize how far I had slipped from a belief in His unconditional love, I was fully immersed in duty, guilt, pride, fear, self-righteousness, and misery.

I felt worthless to God. I was constantly swimming upstream. I was never good enough. I was always falling short of what I thought I should be. But I didn't want to turn my back on Him and run away, so I kept trudging forward, trying to reach the top of the mountain again, but I never got any closer. I remained in the valley of 'He loves me if...'

To make a long story short, God woke me up to the fact I was living that way, and I knew I needed to stop. His love for me was not conditional. He didn't love me more because of all the things I was doing right, and He didn't love me less because of all the ways I was falling short. I didn't have anything to do with how He felt about me. That was all on Him, and God is love. 

He loves me. Period. Not if... not when... not because... He just does, and there's nothing I can do either way to change it. I am loved. That is my reality. And it's magnificent, like living on that beautiful mountain and getting to be there every day. Not once in awhile. Not when I reach the summit after a long climb. No. I wake up there, and I don't leave. 

It's amazing how much doesn't matter when I truly believe that. It's like living in another dimension. It moves me from the valley of fear, uncertainty, and trying to measure-up, to the high places of grace, hope, and peace where living-loved is the only rule. That's my reality, and there's plenty of room in God's Heart for you too. We are His children. We are His treasure. We are His delight.

Are you living loved today?