Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Are you worth it?

Worth. Self worth. It's an incredible topic. It's also a sore spot. When people really take time to think about how they value themselves, if they really think they're worth it, it opens up a world of insecurities. Deep down, I think we all are struggling with if we're good enough, or if we're worth something. We each have our own way of dealing with what we find, but the question is still there.

This is something that's been on my mind for a while now. That is, since February, when I was suddenly confronted with the revelation that I didn't believe in me, didn't trust that I was worth it. Let me tell you, it was not a pleasant experience. Ever since that day, I've noticed Insecurity rearing it's ugly head all around me. Once I really stopped and looked at me, that is, alllllll of me(insecurities, failures, successes, strengths) I found ME. And it was almost like I was seeing myself for the first time.

I was afraid to accept everything about me. Afraid to embrace it all, because it's not all pretty stuff. In the moment that I found ME, I began to really understand Jesus. Me and Jesus, yeah, we're buddies and we have been for as long as I can remember. This was a profoundly different experience though. Think about it: Jesus Christ fell. GOD FELL! He fell 3 times. And each time, He got up. He got up, and kept walking towards His death.

Now tell me, how does that make sense? No. It really doesn't. Plain and simple. And that's God. He doesn't make sense. But He does. I love it!!!! "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." God is the King of Contradictions; He brings us out of our natural inclinations, and draws us up into our higher, better, spiritual nature. What He says makes sense but doesn't at the same time. Somehow, that is a beautiful wonderful, powerful, crazy awesome thing!

My main point is this: everyone struggles with feeling worthy or wanted. Guess what? You are good. I'll say it again. You are good. You don't have to earn it, you don't have to do anything at all, in fact. Simply because you are, simply because you exist, you are good.

Wanna know why Jesus was crazy enough to get up 3 times? Wanna know why He embraced His Cross? Wanna know why He kept getting up, and walking to His death?
It was for you.
You don't have to do anything, or be anything.
He thinks you're worth it. 
If God, the Creator of the universe, the Source of all that is good, thinks you're worth it, believe me, my friend, you are.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stand in the gap!

I've always loved the phrase and accompanying image of standing in the gap. Let me walk you through what I picture when I hear that phrase:
There's complete and utter darkness about to engulf a lone person. This person is completely bowed down, unable to lift their head; everything about them bespeaks weariness. They aren't alone though. There's someone standing over them. This person has his arms spread, forcibly keeping the darkness at bay, as if by the sheer power of his will. Everything about him is strong and determined. With his arms spread wide, he takes every blow delivered. He doesn't flinched or cry out. He simply stands his ground, taking the hits while the weary person rests. He shields and protects them.

So yeah. In that simple phrase, I found a fascination and power that I can only very poorly describe. Actually, this image brings tears to my eyes every time. It's so incredibly beautiful.

My clients have been through Hell; their lives are often living nightmares. Some of them have been almost beaten to death. Some have been completely abandoned, and left to barely survive on their own. And those are practically standard cases. Despite all of that, there are people fighting for them. These people exist to make horrendous visions disappear. They exist to bring light, peace, joy, healing, and strength back into life. I have come to an even deeper appreciation of God because I've seen this process. Why did my clients have to experience Hell? I don't know. What I do know is that God hasn't abandoned them; He's placed people in their lives that can make life livable and beautiful again. I've been able to witness, first hand, this incredible advocacy. There is help. There is a way out. There is a chance for healing and growth. Nothing is impossible.

Love can bring about incredible changes. Loving someone involves a certain amount of vulnerability. It means being willing to reach out, even when there's a chance of getting hurt. Love isn't easy, but it kind of is. To love is to sacrifice, but it doesn't always feel like one. Yes, life is hard. Yes, bad things happen, things that no one should ever have to experience. It's not hopeless though. There are people who can and will help. They will never stop fighting, because they have truth and justice on their side. Yes, it's an exhausting fight, but seeing someone set free makes it totally worth it!

Don't be afraid to fight on the front lines, because you'll never fight alone. Jesus Christ is there, with the angels and the saints. The darkness cannot overcome Him. Fight on! Stand strong! We will have the victory.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Open Arms

Currently, sleep is eluding me. I think I've prayed for everyone I can think of, and blessed God for practically every gift He's given me, and yet, here I am, wide awake.

I've been contemplating the idea and importance of truth lately. It's not any easy thing to receive. A lot of the time, it can almost seem like a slap in the face. When we know the truth, though, we know where we stand; we can make decisions based on our new awareness. It's freeing.

As humans, we wear masks. We struggle with wanting to stand out but wanting to blend in. We're all afraid of being rejected. We're all afraid of being alone. And so we go about our lives, only rarely revealing pieces of ourselves.

Living for God, and in a Eucharist way, means that we're being called out of ourselves and into God. He's challenging us to reach out to others, and reach up to Him. For me, this is a constant struggle. I want to live for God, I want to be holy, and I want to help others. Unfortunately, fear often holds me back: fear of rejection and of ridicule.

Being Christian means that I follow Christ. Christ wasn't afraid to be different for God. Christ embraced His cross, His suffering, His death. He lived with His arms wide open, for anyone to come. That's what being a Christian really means. At every moment, I must embrace my cross. At every moment, I must walk with Christ to Calvary. At every moment, I must remember that He lived as He died, arms stretched out to the world.

God calls us to reach out. And that's the truth. I have been set free to live in the Truth. If I want to be really and truly free, then I must live as He lived, with open arms.