Value More Than Love

If I’m not leading with a joke about my half-brain, quirky limp or down right weird spastic right arm, something is seriously wrong with me. 

Not kidding… If my circumstantial frustration isn’t followed up with a quip, I must be dead.

This week was different, though. This week, I fought with a vengeance to hide my shortcomings. This week, when my loved ones joked about my half-brain, instead of joining in on the fun, I silently begged God to remind me what it meant to be loving. I knew my fun-loving attitude would come back eventually, but for some (unknown and short-lived) reason this week, with every joke, my heart whispered only one thing:

What is my value, then?

My heart’s poorly timed dilemma this week took me on a totally different view of God’s love and His creation.

In Genesis, when God created both man and woman, He pronounced them “Good.” He didn’t pronounce “I love you.”

He saw in them value — whether Adam and Eve exuded perfection or not was not the issue, He spoke value over them, anyway. He looked them in the eye and said one word, “Good.”

I wonder, did Adam and Eve learn to love their Maker because He did not spare a moment in speaking of their value? Did they fall in love with Him, learn how to trust Him, because they knew their value in His eyes? 

Is it possible His love for them wasn’t questioned simply because they saw love in the value He placed on them?

I wonder how many times we say “I love you” simply because it’s culturally relevant and expected. Though it’s an excellent aspect to share (I really love love, I promise), how many of us ask to hear “I love you” and really what we’re asking is affirmation of our value?

How many of us assume that everyone knows their value when in reality, God is asking us to be His voice for them because the world has deluded their ability to hear their value and believe it’s actually theirs?

Sometimes, proclamations of value speak louder than reminders of love. 

Too Much Fleece

Gideon of the Bible (Judges 6) was a coward whom God chose to use as a hero. Seriously, the man had no backbone. None. I picture the pre-battle Gideon on the same caliber as a 16-year-old nerd trying to work up enough of his own value to convince himself he’s good enough to strike up a mere “hi” to a cheerleader. Gideon had no heart, no personal understanding of his value… nothin’. Nada. Zilch.

But God wanted him. And Gideon tested God’s voice. Gideon didn’t test it once, (a wee bit of backbone) but twice (the man was an idiot). I read that passage and I often times freak out at my Biblical pencil-necked moron who randomly had the guts to throw out a fleece twice and test God’s will for his immediate future. And then, just as quickly, a smile creeps onto my synical lips.

I’m not only just as bad as Gideon… I make him look like a born-leader and pious saint.

God calls me to step up to a blessing, challenge and title He’s ordained and I do the stupid, “‘Kay, great! I’ll believe you if you…” And God answers.

Three days go by and I turn very female and start wondering if I dreamed up the wet fleece moment, so I reinact the whole thing. “Great, God! I love what you’re up to here. Really, I do. But I just don’t know if I heard you right the first 2 times. So, sorry, Lord, but I’ll believe you if you…” And God answers.

I’ve done so many “For your glory, Lord, prove yourself” prayers in the last 6 months I’m quite certain the next fleece-wetting prayer I throw up will be met with a neon sign from Heaven that says: 

Heavenly Fleece Storehouse Out of Stock    Must Act on Faith Until Further Notice 

(No. God does not work like that.)

Here’s the thing: There came a point where I stopped “throwing out a fleece” to ask for a more intimate look at God’s heart and reality for my life. After the 30th “give me a sign” prayer, I was only praying those “Test God Prayers” to push off the opportunity to trust Him within the orderly chaos of change. 

I enjoyed the fact that I could scream at the heaven’s that the ball was in God’s court, not mine. He needed to  answer my prayer before I took  a leap of faith. If I’m always waiting on God, I don’t have to admit that I have no courage. If I’m always waiting on affirmation, I never have to move away from my comfort zone.

Gideon stepped up to God’s call on his life and saved his people in the most unusual circumstances (Read the story, it’s awesome). But what would have happened if Gideon stayed in his home, crouched in fear and with no courage or ability to trust Yahweh?

At some point, we have to stop asking God to speak and go off of what He has said before. He does, after all, promise us He’ll never change.

What Is It?

Every time I feel the chains of bondage wrap around my struggling heart, I fight equally as hard against the urge to sadistically chuckle and mutter in Heaven’s direction, “This sin isn’t my fault. Fix it yourself, Jehovah. If you can… I dare you.”

We live in a fallen world. Because of that, there are multiple sins that are results of something done to us. One phrase heartbreakingly comes to mind: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have encountered multiple loved ones with PTSD who hopelessly reminisce about actions which go against the Word of God, but they feel like they “have to” do them. They can’t remember what survival without the action in question looks like.

Men and women alike who have been sexually assaulted or abused cringe when well-intentioned people speak boldly against sexual acts as sins when the victim has a brain programmed to think those acts are needed for physical survival. 

So, the question gets posed: Is it sin? When a person’s outburst of anger is because of a flashback they could not control… Is it sin? 

There are 2 types of people reading this: 

1) Someone who has no idea what I’m talking about… sin has almost always been circumstancial rather than positional. Praise God for that. I can only imagine the rest of this post won’t make sense.  

2) Someone who knows all too well what I mean and you’ve made a game out of hiding your struggle because good sane Christians don’t have problems or dilemmas like this. 

If you come from that second group hear me say first and foremost I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve suffered. I’m so sorry you’ve been told openly fighting against yourself for the glory of God should be easy… or atleast get easier over time. I’m so sorry if you’ve been told you’re just weak and should give up trying to reach sanctification. All of those things are well-veiled half truths.

Hear this warning come from someone who has lost almost everything by coming from the position of thinking my actions aren’t my fault. “Not my circus, not my monkey” has entered my “forgive me, Lord” prayers on more than one occasion. I can look back on my past and see the exact moment when my brain changed from human being to threatened victim… so blame shifting is d**** easy.

You may be able to blame-shift. You may be able to call yourself a survivor only when you do certain things that make other Christians cringe. When that happens, you are in danger of secretly breeding a level of pride that shuts the door of your heart off from anyone else getting in to possibly help you heal. That pride can get so thick you stop hearing God simply because you’re wallowing in your own self-pity and self-righteousness. 

The “prayer” I mentioned earlier? When I’m honest with myself, my heart is actually saying this: “You may be the Creator of the Universe, but I’m the one person you can’t touch and who can’t be affected by your love, redemption and mercy. I only need you for the attributes I can comprehend. You’re too weak to love me into changing.”

Be careful of hiding your pride behind the pain of your past. You may not see the root of your sin simply because it’s easiest to focus on your pain. My friend, that is the Enemy’s greatest ploy. 

Let God fight your battles, even if it’s not the battle you expected.