Confession on a Saturday afternoon

I have not loved Him with my whole heart.

I have loved him more for the gifts he brings–new life, hope, growth–more than I have loved him for himself. I’ve loved him because loving him is supposed to mean more of these things, but I’ve stopped focusing on him and started focusing on these gifts.

I’ve come to love these gifts more than I love him, to crave them in unhealthy ways. They’re all good, beautiful gifts, but they are gifts that are to return our eyes to the giver’s face and not be focused on themselves. But I have put the gifts before the giver.

I’ve come to focus on “becoming me,” which is a very special thing indeed. But I am only me because that’s who he made me to be, and he made me to be that person because he had some specific things to do in and through and around her life. I’ve narrowed my sights on becoming myself, without much thought for his creation of his plans.

I’ve assumed that the person I want to be is the person he intends me to be.

I have not loved him with my whole heart.

I’ve come to expect certain things from him–that he will easily make sense to me, that he needs to be intelligible to mankind and therefore should speak in words and phrases and pictures that we understand. I’ve abandoned striving after him, struggling for understanding when my mind feels lost, and being willing to sit in the dark if that’s where he is meeting me.

I’ve been arrogant, assuming that my human mind should be able to comprehend the things of God. I’ve felt entitled to understanding and knowledge of the big picture and have forgotten that those things would blow my mind if he truly revealed them to me.

I’ve come to assume that I know his will, and that it is for me to understand all of his works and his words. I’ve forgotten that there is dignity in striving for understanding with the head and the heart when you are striving with Almighty God. I’ve been hurt and angry when understanding hasn’t dawned lightly and easily and I’ve abandoned my search for him early because he was not easily found.

I have not loved him with my whole heart.

I have not wanted him to be God. I have not wanted to know him in his power and glory because they threaten my own, and I have not admitted that his will is greater when our wills are at odds. I have not wanted him to lead; I have not been willing to follow.

I have been a sheep in his flock but I have resented that. I’ve wanted to be bigger and bolder and better than the other sheep, able to walk out on my own and without any need of rescuing.

I have not submitted myself to him. I haven’t often asked for his opinion or even wanted it, and have not waited for it when I have asked, but have assumed that my thoughts and feelings reflected his. I have never depended on him alone.

I have not loved him with my whole heart.

I have looked to others, to my family and friends, to tell me how I should be through their praise and their blame. I’ve chosen their joy above his and the things they approve of over the things he approves of. I’ve looked independent when I’ve truly been tied so tightly to others’ needs and opinions. I’ve crafted my self based on their opinions and not on his.

I have used my deep love of people to garner praise and honor for myself. Sometimes, I have looked like I loved them more than I really did. I have tried to love them well so as to secure their love in return, not because they are magnificent creatures created in His image.

I have kept myself to myself when he has asked me to share and have shared when I wasn’t sure I should speak.

I have expended so much energy anticipating and planning for others’ responses to me and have just assumed that he approves of me and what I do. Even now, as I write this, I wonder how people will react while I assume that he likes it.

I have not loved him with my whole heart.

My heart has been backwards, pursuing the things I want and trying to give others the things they want without thinking of what he wants. I have forgotten that, even though I’ve known him long, he is not part of the furniture, a known quantity to be consulted when I deem it proper and ignored the rest of the time. He is not my butler, my servant, or my slave, but my God.

I have not loved him with my whole heart.

“Rise, daughter. Have no fear, and sin no more.”

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17 Comments

Filed under Becoming

17 responses to “Confession on a Saturday afternoon

  1. oh, dear sarah girl, i love that you wrote this. thank you for being vulnerable with all of us while you are in this place, discovering these things, confessing them before our big and present and all-encompassing God.

    you shared a glimmer of this with me in your e-mail this last week, and i realize now how much more there was to that sharing. wow. there is so, so much here.

    most of all, i am struck by your honesty and your desire (even in the midst of human un-desire) to be stripped down and holy before him (as well as wholly before him).

    again, thank you for sharing this. it touched some places i know he is getting to in me, and the compassion of God that i experienced in beholding you in this place gives me a glimpse of the kind of compassion he could also extend to me.

    i love you in this place. missing you so much today. wishing we were near one another. love to you . . .

  2. jennyjack

    Sarah…I love this. You’ve spoken my heart as well. Thank you for writing it. I miss you. jj

  3. Christianne–in response to your wish that we were nearer…good God, yes! I’ve been thinking lately that, even if all my writing ever does is connect me closer to you guys, it’s totally worth everything I’ve put into it.

    Your words about desire amidst human un-desire was amazing…I hesitated to post this because I feel like my heart doesn’t entirely assent yet, like I know all of this as truth but I haven’t even gotten beyond the surface of the feeling. Desire and un-desire, indeed.

    JJ–hey, I didn’t even know you read this πŸ˜‰ I’m so glad you’re here. And I miss you, too.

  4. totally with you there, girl, on both counts. πŸ™‚

  5. That’s a big one about praise and blame. Isn’t it interesting to think that loving Him could mean closing our ears to these voices?

    I loved the tone of this. Keep on digging deep.

  6. Christianne–sometimes, the joy is just in being together on the path…(this being one of those times)

    Laura–thanks for your lovely words. And I will do my best, though it doesn’t seem to have much to do with me…seems to be where he’s got me.

  7. sarah – this is so moving & powerful. i wish there were different words i could apply, because those seem to me to be unable to reach at the true depth of what you wrote.

    it’s a powerful confession in a confession, a putting this out there with a little glimmer of maybe this will garner a little admiration & praise. i know this well.

    your post holds up a mirror to me. i think He hears & loves your heart.

    as do i, friend. as do i.

    love to you,
    kirsten

  8. Thanks, Kirsten! I think he hears, too. I know it sounds strange, but I don’t think I could confess it if he didn’t hear it.

    Love to you, too.

  9. Tammy

    Sarah this blog made me cry. And it made me sit here in awe of it all. I am still trying to digest the power of what you have said here. I am so convicted in my heart at this moment, i can feel the fear of God breathing upon me.

    You said: “I have been arrogant assuming that my human mind should be able to comprehend the things of God.”

    This statement stuck out to me because i am all too familiar with that arrogance.

    You said: “I have abandoned my search for him early because he was not easily found.”
    I just want to cry reading this. That is all can say God knows the rest of my comment concerning this. I can’t judge myself by my own good intentions.

    This is one of the times i feel like Peter, after Jesus said three times….”Peter do you love me?” He said “Lord you know all things, You know that i love you.”

    We could interpret that this way……that Peter was proclaiming his love for Christ. Perhaps that is the proper interpretation, but something inside of me wonders if Peter was doubting his love for Christ. i believe that for two reasons………one, that was after his denial of Christ, two the bible says that when Jesus asked him the third time, if he loved Him that Peter became grieved.
    So Sarah, i will say to the things you have written, Lord only You know if i love you and i pray you will help my lack of love for you. For i have not loved you with my whole heart.

  10. Tammy, this was absolutely beautiful and heartfelt and almost made ME cry! Oh, sweet girl, you are the beloved of our Christ. He is holding you in his arms. He is loving on you, and it is his work to bring you ever closer to him. He knows what he is doing with you. You can depend on it. I love you.

  11. Tammy–I love your heart…I truly do. And that story about Peter? Always one of my favorites. I think I connect with Peter the way you’ve talked about connecting with Moses. I feel like I “get” the man.

    And Christianne is right–he is loving you, so very much. And your words show that you love him, too.

  12. Tammy

    My friend you are fast weaving a place in my heart. I told Nate that i was going to keep a lid on this blogging and not expand too far. But i cannot resist talking with you. I truly see how you, Christianne and Kirsten connect to one another you are very similar in your hearts toward God.

    I am still keeping a cap on this blogging otherwise i don’t think i can do justice to everyone. There is so much to take in of a persons heart. I am so very glad that i read this post it really touched my heart in so many ways. After i read this post i learned so many things from it that i can’t deprive myself of the gift of your heart, even Jesus had an inner circle that were close to His heart, i mean Jesus chose all of the disciples but we see Peter, James and John had a special place in the heart of Jesus. They were His intimate friends.

    All this talk about ministry and preaching……hmm, what can i say to that? well i can’t deny that God put that thing in my heart at about 10 years old. He did. Also i can’t seem to bring a rebel part of me into subjection to the cross. Not my sarcastic silliness, i would have to be dead for that to leave, i mean a part of me that is not crucified with Christ.

    I plan on sending you my cell #. I have talked with Terri, Kirsten and Christianne on the phone. Nate and i both have.

  13. Di

    deeply humbling and wholly centering
    thanks sarah grace

  14. Dean

    Sarah, that was just an unbelievable piece of writing and honesty. Like Tammy I feel somewhat winded by your words as they strike so close to home. I’ll need to sit with that and work through it with my God and really ask Him to deal with the many areas that you’ve so beautifully highlighted.

    Thanks so much.

  15. you know, one of the really beautiful things about confession is that it illuminates the darkness in all of us. it always reminds me of the child in the story of the emperor’s new clothes saying out loud that the king is naked, and then suddenly the truth is so plain. we are all naked, sarah. and now that you have said it out loud, i can see the places in me that seemed so well-covered only moments before. thank you for this gift. it’s a little embarrassing, but it will remind me that pride is a poor tailor.

  16. Tammy, you have a place in my heart, too. i don’t think I know anyone who puts her soul out there with such ease and grace. I got an email with your phone number…let me know when you’d like a call.

    I know what you mean about a part of you that’s not subject to the cross. I have one of those, too. I wonder if we all do. “The Doubter,” I call mine. it’s the part of me that thinks that all this God-stuff is just too crazy to actually be true. But it’s a hurting part, so I try to hold it even as I try to give it truth and love. I don’t always do so well, but that is my goal πŸ˜‰

    Di, I love your few words. you’re welcome, friend.

    Dean, I know the winded feeling. I sat down to do another devotional one night and that was what came out instead. And I’m still dealing with it, still trying to grasp the whole and the heart of it. I’m beginning to wonder if learning to love him well is what life is all about (or as close as I can do to “well”). You’re so welcome.

  17. Terry–hey, you posted while I was replying…no fair πŸ˜‰ Seriously, though, I love the analogy to the emperor’s new clothes story. Yeah, there’s darkness in all of us and it’s crazy easy for us to forget about it. And then it pops out and we wonder how we could ever have missed it. And then it’s there, and out of us, somehow (if we let it), and we are free.

    Free…what a smallish, cheesy word for all that it encompasses.

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