For Love

Performance then, will no longer be my standard. I will now focus on practicing being loved by God, and loving toward myself, toward God and toward others! I will practice letting myself be loved first by remembering who God is, and focusing on how He has demonstrated His marvelous love toward me over all the years of my life.

July 13, 2018

Tonight I listened to some sermons which got me thinking about my performing for love. Always doing and striving. Trying to accomplish.

I have heard before that we tend to view God similarly to how we had a relationship with our earthly father. My perception of this is true, for me, it seems. This is to what I came tonight.

There are several reasons I feel that I have to perform to be accepted. One. I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for a long time, and two, I always felt I had to have something “good” going on or something to report to my dad to be accepted. I had to be dazzling or doing something – not that I ever was, really, but that is what I felt, still. That also goes for a father role model I had. It was the same thing with him. He actually told me once that his love for me was conditional. I hated that. He really drove the stake home there. I was pissed. That is clearly not love if it’s conditional.

There are people that say that once, saved, always saved. Also, that if you are saved, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  That last part is scripturally backed up in Romans 8:1.

My problem with that is that I take it to mean if we are living as Christians, then of course there is no condemnation, but what about those times when we do actually sin, when we are say, being slothful or gluttonous – when those time occur, you are not technically living “In Christ,” in my estimation. That is a problem with me because I’m always seemingly sinning – maybe not ever day, but there are a lot of times when I overeat or am gluttonous, or lazy – those are my things, or I am not obedient to holy spirit instruction. Those actions result in “deathly” behavior. The bible says if we live in the spirit it is unto life and living in the flesh is unto death. I get it and I also feel its fruit – on both occasions. I know that all I need to do is confess, and the Lord will forgive me, but I do feel condemned, as I should because oftentimes I do those things willingly, like they are not as bad of a sin as are adultery or murder, but God weighs all sins the same. Either way, sin abounds. Grace abounds much more the bible tells me than sin, and if I consciously approached every decision like that, which I have – I love when I make the right decision, then yes, grace often follows that, in those cases, instead of it proceeding it. I’ve had it both ways.

My problem is that when I go against my inner promptings, I can’t help but to feel condemned or I have lost the glory. Like today. The other day I stood up for Christ, when asked in church about renewing a commitment. When I spoke with a cousin the other day, I revealed that I’d done this – maybe to get kudos, or maybe to just to fill the conversation. At any rate, I was feeling not to, but I did anyway.

I had a feeling check this afternoon and what I realized was I felt I’d lost this power I’d gained since I stood up last week.  I had a strength and boldness that I haven’t had previously, and today it was absent, I noticed. When I inquired why to myself it might have been, that is what came to mind – that was my first “off” moment since then. Turns out it was my first interaction with people since then too. ☹

Anyway, all of this made me realize how perfect I am always feeling I have to be – make sure I do it right – am checking all the boxes, and using my time wisely, am staying in the lines. Everything. Maddening is what I feel it is, maddening! Crazy. Maybe I’m alone too much, but I think it really is my hyper-aware personality.

I have been trained to “assess” my person, my emotions and where I’m at from the time I was 16 and when I was little even, I would always be on my mom’s case for doing things wrong. So, it is part of my make-up – part of the teacher nature in me – corrective by nature. It’s maddening, still, at times.

So, my point, still. I am in search of the truth. Right believing produces right living. This is what I’ve heard.

I believe much of the bible. I haven’t read all of it, but I worry that I am under constant scrutiny and it is exhausting. I live that way every day. It is how I am. I’m no longer interested in being that way, but if I do have to be on my p’s and q’s all of the time which I try and be, I’m out. That’s how I feel. I need to know what’s real.

So, I believe God loves me. I believe his love is unconditional, but the keys to the kingdom are not. That is where I falter. So, in a sense, love is conditional because acceptance is conditional? That’s how I feel.

The laws of sowing and reaping are surely in effect with our every thought/re(action), every moment of our lives. This is what scares me, maybe, because I’m not perfect. I need a right perspective because the mind-set I have now locks out love and is purely based on performance. That is how I feel. I’m accepted and loved somedays and there are times I feel the opposite. God is not like that. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, according to the bible.

I am going to begin to focus on love. It’s time to mature and accept the responsibility that yes, you screw up, on purpose even sometimes, and you will reap what you sow, likely. Get clear on your sins. I think the only unpardonable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit – rejecting God.

This is what I felt I was doing when I was experiencing that “garden confession” on some level. I love God. I feel fallible. Christ’s strength can be made perfect in my weakness. Guess I need to humble-down and get with God more securely, practicing my faith more deliberately, and trusting that He is working in me every day, working to accomplish what He will through me, perfecting me for Himself.

Maybe I just need to let up on myself a little more. Maybe I am so cognizant of my sins because that is upon what I focus. I am going to focus on loving myself more – being more loving toward God – just that. Focusing on being perfect, as we are told to do in Matthew 5:8, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” is something I will not do by my own standards. I will work on loving myself, instead, and loving others. If I can do that, according to God’s word, God’s love will have been perfected in me.

Performance then, will no longer be my standard. I will now focus on practicing being loved by God, and loving toward myself, toward God and toward others! I will practice letting myself be loved first by remembering who God is, and focusing on how He has demonstrated His marvelous love toward me over all the years of my life.

Holly