Monday, August 31, 2009

Are you not good enough for God?

During my first semester at Biola, I took Pierce's Old Testament survey class. There were over a hundred of us jammed into an auditorium twice a week, for 16 weeks, as we tried to grasp the entirety of 39 books of the Bible. About 8 weeks went by, and I was onto my second test. The night before the exam I opened up my bible and I attempted to read about 1/3 of the Old Testament, because of course, I was a tad behind. I panicked. My class was at 8am, and it was 8pm. I called a friend. I think all I said to this friend was, "No time to talk, I am in big trouble, and you to need to explain me the entire overview of the books of Samuel, Kings, etc." As I recall, my wonderful and brilliant friend didn't ask any questions, and began to teach me. 

I am pretty sure my friend just talked for an hour as I listened and took notes. It was pretty remarkable. As we ended the story of David, I stopped to ask some questions. I was so confused about how God could possibly call David "a man after God's heart", after everything that he had done wrong in his life. I seriously couldn't drop it. I just kept asking and asking, how could God forgive him? My friend was kind of baffled by this question, and just kept reinforcing the "grace" and "forgiveness" factor, but I still had a hard time grasping it. 

Today, 3 years later, I have realized that I have been struggling to accept this concept for a really long time. 

Through the current life transition I am experiencing, I am trying to take some time to process what has happened to me thus far, within my Christian life. And I am coming to find out that I have been telling myself lies about certain things. Some things I was told, some things I was led to believe, and some things I brought on myself. 

In talking with my spiritual director today, some of these "things" were brought to the surface. I was explaining how I felt like a failure for not reading my bible everyday. And how because I wasn't serving wholeheartedly in ministry anymore, God didn't want to hear me anymore. And because sometimes I wake up on Sunday mornings and don't want to meet with God, He doesn't want to meet with me. 

I kept trying to explain, I desire for a relationship with God... I miss having conversations with Him, and I miss reading His Word, but how since I didn't have the energy to do the things I thought I was "obligated to do", He wasn't around anymore. I explained that I felt as if I wasn't "good enough" for God right now. 

But then she told me this:

God wants to meet with you right where you are. 

God is celebrating over the fact that you desire to be close with Him. 

God is not angry at you for you not reading your Bible every day. 

When you desire God, He gives you that desire. 

When you don't desire God, He gives you that too. 

And, you will always be good enough for God, because He is the one who is good for you. 

She also told me that God prepares us for times like these in ways that we don't realize. Like when we memorize our favorite verse, or worship song, so in our dry times, we don't need the actual music on, or the physical bible in our hands, but that the Spirit inside us will send a reminder. 

It's astonishing to me that God wants to be here with me as my tearful eyes look at this computer screen, and reflect on the fact that for the past 6 months, I couldn't overcome the feeling that I was just not being good enough for God, and that He didn't want anything to do with me. 

Maybe it is true that one of the biggest lies in the Christian world, is that in order to grow closer to the Lord, and be a good Christian, is to follow the "cardinal" rules of the faith (ie. read your bible, pray, go to church every week, volunteer in a ministry etc.). Because honestly, this is what I was led to believe, and in a way, I grew further away from God because of it. I felt like there was this wall between Him and I that couldn't possibly be broken down until I was submitting myself to all the "rules". And I think if we are honest with ourselves, we will be able to point out at least 5 people who might be thinking the same things. 

I have made my life about works, instead of just faith in Him, and 
I need to receive His grace that He has given me. 

I understand now, more than ever, that God was always with David, and He loved Him. Now I understand why that is my friend's favorite Bible story. 


Anonymous said...

Just reading thru the OT (and the NT for that matter)...there are so many other stories in the same vein as the story of David....people who are messed up and far from perfect, yet God places His favor on them. I agree, this is so weird and hard to grasp at times. Why didn't He just pick someone better? Why didn't He empower that person to live more obediently? But you see, God had a purpose in choosing to use them. Look at the Apostle Paul...his story is one that always has me scratching my head. Why did God choose to use the Pharisee-arrogant-violent-hunter of Christians to bring His message to the Gentiles? What was He thinking?? But then look at what came from it, how Paul's words and actions impacted his world for the gospel and continue to impact ours. That's just how amazing His grace is. It's inconceivable! Dr. Lunde is sure on to something with his reminder to DAILY return to Christ for more grace in order to live a life of grace.

Be encouraged...spiritual disciplines (such as reading the Bible every day, always making good choices, etc.) are the fruit growing on the tree of faith. Nurture your faith in the Lord, focus on trusting Him and knowing Him, and that fruit will just spring up on it's own, sweet and pure and good. But if you focus only on the fruit itself, neglecting the tree, the fruit will grow shriveled and sickly, or not at all. God's grace will always bring you and He back together, He is always pursuing you, the love of His life, the zenith of His creation.

You, Carrie, are His greatest treasure.

Exactly how you are RIGHT NOW.

Love you girly.......
<3 Jessie

Emily said...

Amen! I love hearing "you will always be good enough for God, because He is the one who is good for you." He is our sufficiency. I'm so glad God has given you a mentor who points you towards truth!