enough I remember praying the words of Switchfoot from the very sincere depths of his heart,

"Let me know that you hear me. Let me know your touch Let me know that you love me. Let that be enough."*

I listened to the song and prayed it sincerely almost 5 times on repeat from my home to the church.  I sat in the parking lot, BEFORE church already preparing my heart in honesty with a basic cry, "God, please let me know that you hear me.  I don't ask you to solve my problems, my anxieties or my fears.  I merely pray that you let me know that you hear me."

There are times we thirst for and grow parch for lack of God's presence.

I remember worshiping and singing to a God I knew loved me, but whom I had needed to just BE with. I remember standing to worship again and choosing to only mouth the words and let them really speak and scream from my heart,

"You're all I want... You're all I need..."

* Let That Be Enough by Switchfoot

Allow for struggle

Some of the best thoughts come through struggle. God honors our struggle and despises our tepid, lukewarm droning.  We are not preschoolers who walk straight lines attached to a rope.  God honors the honest struggler.  There are too many Christians trying to find life through soothing their soul, but true passion is brought forth in honest struggle.  Our wrestling match with God is pregnant with passion and confidence. Because God will ENFOLD AN HONEST STRUGGLER IN LOVING ARMS.  The good news is that hatred of God and others decreases as Christ takes the heart inch by inch, but it comes only through honest and passionate struggle with God.  We may be a new creation, but we are not a perfect creation.  The war over hatred and sin may be won ultimately, but the battle to replace hatred with love will be over only when we see Jesus in flesh.  We can and will be angry with God, but have to be honest without reserve.  We must understand the Holy Spirit will not allow a bottomless cup of anger to exist, and most often the heart will be engulfed in love when we are honest with God.

Breaking the cycle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It was so easy to be angry at the legalistic Christians who have no idea what it means to love others as we are called to. I pretty much quit being angry and bitter when I made a guess at WHY they had been so poor at loving. God had called us to love others as we love ourselves.

It appeared to me perhaps we as Christians struggle to love others because we do not actually know how to love ourselves. For so many of us, or I know for me at least, I would not wish on anyone the kind of love I dish out on myself much of the time. So I see Christians in a different light. We suck so much at loving others because we do not know how to love ourselves as Christ sees and loves us.[Tweet That] So the cycle begins.

Now I have been noticing another point in that cycle. That point answers the question, "Why do we struggle to love ourselves?" "Why do Christians have such a horrible time loving themselves and thus loving and accepting others?" Essentially, why ARE we legalistic?

The answer comes from within the question. We are legalistic because we have been hurt by legalism.

I have a hard time loving and accepting others because I have a hard time loving myself, and I have a hard time loving and accepting myself because I do not feel loved and accepted by Christians, and Christians have a hard time loving and accepting me because they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves, and they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves because I, a Christian, have a hard time loving and accepting them. And the cycle of legalism thickens, and I am more a part of it than I ever realized.

Can the cycle be broken? Yes! How?

By loving and accepting myself AND others! By not withholding love and acceptance! The easiest cycle breaker (and hardest personal choice) is to break the cycle at the point of reality and brokeness. I take away the pretense of perfection...of myself. Then I allow the Christians to realize I have no perfection pretense of myself and I am able to have no perfection pretense of them. This will happen when I become more concerned with being honest and acquiring healing instead of appearing fine, okay, good, or dare I say, perfect. It is in my brokenness that legalism cycles are broken. Because then I am able to love others as I love myself, which is loving acceptance of myself despite my failures and mistakes. So when I love and accept others as I do myself, they can love and accept themselves as they are, and then love me and others as they love themselves.

But right now, we DO love others as we love ourselves...legalistically.

Peculiar Trust

Trust is a peculiar thing to understand and even more difficult to live out.  Trust is difficult because it requires honesty most of us are not used to.  In order for me to trust, I must be willing to be honest fully.  I must be willing to present the reality of myself.  This honesty involves everything and not just honesty about the things that are easy and pleasant. This means my emotions are included.  It means when I am angry, hurt or sad, I have to be as honest as I am when I am thrilled.  If I am willing and able to be honest with these things, I am able to really trust.  If am not able or willing to be honest with Tonya when I am angry or saddened, I do not trust my wife.  If I am only fully honest with Tonya when everything is great and thrilling while hiding away my frustration or pain, I do not trust my wife.

How then do we trust an invisible God?  How then do I learn to trust a Heavenly Father?  I suppose the question to answer that question is, "How honest am I with God?"

When I am frustrated and angry with the circumstances of life, why am I praying without the cursing and fury in order to remain reverent even in my anger?  When I am terrified and stressed  about a big life decision I need to make, why am I praying pretty "if it be thy will" prayers?  When all the world feels against me, and I am down and out, why are my prayers absent?  Why are my prayers only passionate and heart-felt when I am thanking God for something?

Why? Because I do not really trust God?

I do not trust God enough to be angry with him or my circumstances.  I do not trust God enough to bring myself bedraggled and broken and absent of piety.  I do not trust God enough to simply be honest with my worry and stress.

If I am unwilling to just be honest with my pain, anger, worry, and hurt, I do not trust God enough to be thrilled and thankful.