I'm having one of those days. You know, the kind where you're filled with confusion, guilt, and fear? If you don't know what I'm talking about, just stop reading now.
Today I am doubting every decision I have ever made. I am doubting whether I understand myself much less anyone else. I am doubting every opinion I've ever had about anything. Everything I've ever done feels wrong, wrong, wrong and the icing on this miserable cake is the shame I feel about feeling this way.
After all, I’m a Christian; a grace-believing one at that! I’m supposed to have this resting-in- Christ thing down pat. I’ve been teaching people about the gospel for years, for Pete’s sake!
But, today I really need to hear good news. I need to hear that God’s love for me does not depend in any way on my ability to be cheerful and optimistic. I need to be told that, instead of turning away from me in exasperation at my lack of faith or trust, God's arms are open wide and he is saying, "Come here, precious child, let me hold you."
I need to know that God sees me right now, the way I am, with all of my questions and confusion and he is not crossing his arms and tapping his foot, waiting for me to finally get it right. I need to be told that, no matter how many years go by, I will never get it all figured out, and neither will anyone else, despite what they may believe. Today I need to be reminded that, as uncomfortable as it is, and despite the fact that the humans around me might cause me to feel otherwise, it is okay to be wrong; it is okay to change my mind; and it is okay for me to be a work in progress, even after all these years.
Right now I need to be told that no matter how disastrous the repercussions of my decision-making may appear to be, there is One much wiser than I am who is ultimately in control. I need to be reassured that aversion to pain and anxiety about an uncertain future is a normal part of the human condition. I need to know that just because the ideal would be for me to be so completely trusting that I never experience a minute of fear does not mean that I will ever reach or come close to that ideal; and that this comes as no surprise or disappointment to my Father, who has promised to always be with me no matter what the future may hold, regardless of my anxiety level.
I need to be reminded that, as long as I am on this earth, I will be seeing things as if through a dark glass. I will never be able to clearly discern my own motivations for the things I say and do, and therefore I cannot be expected to understand the inner workings of the minds of others.
This day, I need to know that even when the people who were supposed to always love and forgive me don’t, can’t or won’t, God always will. And, I need to know that even when I don’t, can’t or won’t love and forgive the people I should, God will love and forgive us both, on account of his son.
I need to give myself permission to stop thinking that I should need him less.
Today I need to accept that there will continue to be days like today and that, even though God does not condemn me for them, I will undoubtedly condemn myself, at least until he reminds me of the good news again.
Today I need to hear that God's mercies are new every morning because I need them every morning, especially on days like today; and that's okay.
He loves me. I don’t have to earn it or deserve it.
And, in case you need to hear it, he loves you, too.