Maybe because today marks post No. 100 for Monday Morning Munches, I feel insecure about posting something. I think somewhere in my brain I feel that it’s too significant a milestone to mess up with a lackluster blog that’s perhaps thrown together with human reasoning.
You see, over the last few weeks the Lord has revealed so much to me about me. Primarily that there is a disconnect between what I know in my head and what my heart believes and lives out. Major Lesson: Regardless of all my knowledge, I don’t actually know much of anything (which is why I’m fearful of posting anything on here right now). Here’s the short story:
I love theology, I love studying it and reading books about it. I love wrestling with Scriptures and listening to sermons and discussing the things of God with people smarter than me. I love learning.
The problem is that I was becoming someone with a bunch of knowledge about the Lord. Somewhere along the way I started stockpiling everything I learned in my head not my heart. And you know what Paul says, “knowledge puffs up,” that was me.
In fact, after asking my pastor about one thing two weeks ago he told me that instead of being concerned with what I was asking him about, I “needed to be more concerned with the padlock on the wall around the prison of [my] heart.”
He went on to say that I guard my heart so tightly from guys (which is mostly a good thing since I’m not married) but also from God.
Throughout the rest of the week God used strategic moments with my amazing sister and brother
in law, who asked incredibly hard questions and forced me to vocalize all the fears I had bottled up in my heart, and in our morning prayer meetings at work, to reveal one fact that produced more sorrow and sobs than I can ever remember up until that point:
I don’t believe God is good.
From my journal after last Thursday’s prayer meeting:
God shattered my heart in morning prayer with RTM staff with the reality that I don’t see Him as good. This is why I don’t trust him to pay us every week. This is why there is “a padlock on the prison that is around my heart.” I don’t believe He is good. This reality is like a pin to my balloon of a heart. I sob. Heaving sobs. I’ve never felt so much grief or sorrow, not even when I was converted. But there is the Gospel, so beautiful and freeing and glorious. God knew the depths of my heart and still set His love on me. This is amazing. I am sorrowful yet rejoicing.
For the next several days I don’t even know what to do with this newfound fact. I promise I am not being dramatic when I say that coming to grips with the fact that I didn’t trust that God, the God of the universe who does not only have goodness as an attribute but who is Himself Good, was good was one of the most painful experiences of my life.
It forced me to be vulnerable.
*sigh* I’m learning a lot about myself lately and discovering that it is incredibly hard for me to let my guard down and be vulnerable with people. I don’t want to let people in. There’s too much at risk. No joke, before two weeks ago, I actually had myself convinced that I let people in too easily… ha. Wrong again.
So this experience forced me to be vulnerable, to deal with these ridiculous insecurities I don’t just have with people but with God. So I made a list. I made a list of all the reasons I guard my heart so fiercely, reasons like being afraid of disappointment, rejection, vulnerability, pain, doing something wrong, not being worth it, etc. And then I made another list. I want to share that one with you.
REASONS TO OPEN MY HEART TO GOD:
Because He is:
- Full of mercy
- Abounding in love
- Smarter than me
- Rich in love
- In control
After doing a word study in Scripture on God’s goodness (wow, it has a lot to say about it) and reading A.W. Tozer’s chapter on God’s goodness in The Attributes of God, my heart started getting a little more energized.
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12). And worthy is the goodness of God that out of His infinite kindness, His unchanging, perfect loving kindness, He made amends for us ‘full, fair and many’ turning all our sin into endless worship. -A.W. Tozer
But now I was so fearful about anything being produced of myself and not of the Lord that I was worried that I was just trying to convince myself of His goodness.
I still didn’t fully believe it. My pastor told me I had to allow myself to be blessed by the Lord. I had to allow myself to be open to receiving His love in this way. The struggle was intense and so very real. (God says He keeps our tears in a bottle, right? Well, my bottle grew a few sizes throughout these days.)
It wouldn’t be for another week that God would again break into my heart and reveal that He will not mishandle it.
God will not mishandle my heart.
He can’t. And if He did, He wouldn’t be God.
Moreover, as we were praying as a staff this past Thursday, it was made clear that God didn’t just give us a new heart but He gave us His own heart, and if there were any lingering doubts of God’s capability in rightly presiding over my heart I could take full comfort in knowing He will not mishandle His own heart.
From my journal:
In the clearest, most sacred display of God’s intention of love and goodness to His people—the cross of Christ—I see my sin there. My sin of distrusting the very goodness that put Jesus on the cross was precisely the reason He was there.
Jesus swallowed the wrath of a holy God, the wrath I deserved because of this sin, because I doubted His goodness and love.
That same day He gave the grace to believe He was good. Not just good to other people, but that He was good to me, Sophie McDonald. And I trusted it.
This does not mean I’ve had no problems since then, not at all. I still have those same insecurities persistently seeking any opportunity to flare up, but now I can extinguish them with the arrows of truth and cling not just to my knowledge of God’s goodness but the reality of it.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
You might be wondering why I shared all this with you. I’m kind of wondering that myself. I think because a) this is all I had on my heart this morning to write about, b) I need to practice opening my heart to others and c) maybe this can encourage you in some way to see God as He really is. Don’t depend only on what you know. There was a disconnect between my head and heart in the acceptance and full belief of this fundamental truth that God is good (and a lot of other truths as well, but that’s [maybe] for another blog). Maybe there is a disconnect in you too?
Do our lives, lips and loves reflect that we believe God is good and that He alone is enough for our desperate hearts?
“God is not revolted by our wretchedness.” -A.W. Tozer
“That quote becomes even more profound when we realize He is revolted by our wretchedness but He’s not revolted by His children.” -Michael Durham