Over a month ago, I wrote about a powerful experience I had connecting with Jesus. I asked him how he felt about me… and then just waited and listened. You can read the post here if you want.
As I listened and he laid on my heart three specific words: SAD, CONCERNED, HOPEFUL.
SAD at all that had happened; sad for me, the people I hurt, the church.
CONCERNED about me, about my heart, my spirit, and decisions I was facing.
HOPEFUL for the future — my future, the churches future, the future of everyone involved in this mess I created.
Those three words came LOUD AND CLEAR.
And they surprised me a bit, because none of those three were what I was feeling at the time. I was feeling much more ANGER, DESPAIR & HOPELESSNESS.
ANGER mostly at myself — a deep self-loathing had set in; and anger at those who were spreading lies about me too… but mostly self-anger.
DESPAIR at my current situation and for the hopes of anything better.
HOPELESS that God could redeem any of this or that any relational reconciliation would ever take place.
So I was feeling about me pretty much the opposite of what Jesus was feeling about me.
Yesterday, while meeting with one of my mentors and spiritual directors, we were looking back at where I had been, where I am now, etc. Without realizing it, I described myself with three words: SAD, CONCERNED, HOPEFUL.
SAD at all the damage and pain I had caused, sad for the hurt to the other person, to the church, for all the collateral damage.
CONCERNED and in need of wisdom and discernment over some big decisions coming up.
HOPEFUL that God wasn’t done with me and that Romans 8:28 is true — that God works all things for good for those who love him.
It took my spiritual director to point out the obvious: in the course of about 6 weeks, MY HEART HAD BECOME MORE LIKE HIS.
That is a powerful thing to think about. I think when that happens in your life it is a sign that Jesus has really been working. As disciples, we want our hearts to become like his.
When I look at today, sometimes things still seem overwhelming and like no growth or gains are being made. But when I look back at my journal — or this blog — and consider what God is doing in my heart and life, I am humbled.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
— Romans 12:1-2