An Invitation to the In-Between
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ
and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
―Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show
you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and
work with me–watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything
heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me
and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
―Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
―John 8:32 (NIV)
This week, things are messy and raw, teary and unsettled. All signs indicating that change is coming.
In the lesson of self-kindness, the kind that is rooted in a deep awareness of Christ’s love and grace for me, I’m somewhere in between where I was and where I want to be. God’s whispering reminders of his love, as he’s refining, reshaping, and whittling away the excess in my life and the lies I’ve believed.
He’s asking me:
Do you draw all of your identity, strength, and solidity from the truth I speak over you, that you are my beloved child, chosen and filled in every way by me?
Will you rest in my love?
In some moments, I can say yes to each question. But in busy seasons, I can feel my sense of identity begin to shift outward once again. These are the tumultuous times. I feel the rejection and shame of a discouraging word more severely, the loss or distance of a relationship more poignantly.
The sharpness of the pain that comes with these experiences is my warning light, much like the one on my car dashboard, to come back into his heart for me. To make my home there in love again.
Weary child, rest in my love.
Brennan Manning writes, “The splendor of a human heart that trusts it is loved unconditionally gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s ‘Ninth Symphony,’ Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers,’ the sight of 10,000 butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom.”
How would your life change if you lived in awareness of this truth, that your trust gives our Creator the greatest joy?
I’m learning that it is love that motivates his work in my heart. It is the knowledge of how much he loves us—a deep, unshakable, grounding sense of that love—that he most wants to show me through his reshaping work, in the pain of exhaustion, and in my own failure and loss.
Christ’s motive is not to make us perfect, more acceptable to him, nicer to look at, more impressive, or _____ (fill in the blank).
His motive is to set us free to enjoy his love, as his dearly loved children. Our security comes flooding back when we define ourselves by that love, and from that place, offer unconditional love to others.
Let’s be honest. I often lack the grace I hope to give others because I hold myself to impossibly high standards, striving to prove I’m enough. You, too?
Underneath the judgment and lack of grace I dislike so much in myself is a heart that’s striving rather than resting. I strive to prove voices of my past wrong, to prove I’m strong, that I’m enough but not too much, despite what they’ve said.
But oh, how I know God’s heart breaks with me when I keep this hurting heart hidden from his love, attempting to tend to my own wounds. I know I’ve recorded and still replay voices of the past that tell me incomplete or entirely inaccurate stories about who I am. But the reality is, I haven’t yet uncovered where those voices come from and what I need to hear from God’s heart to replace those lies and heal those wounds.
This is part of my in-between.
Is this a place of healing and hearing you need to enter with Jesus, too? Where can you start to make space for this today?
I’ve witnessed several beautiful and brave souls this week who have shared their journeys out of fear and into love. Their stories of God’s healing and abiding joy in the midst of cancer, depression, and lost relationships have whispered something true and freeing to my heart.
Here are some of the questions these courageous women have shared. I pray these speak to you in your own in-between:
When you listen to yourself honestly, without judgment, what does your heart speak to you? What pain and voices are there? Talk to Jesus about what you hear.
When you fail, do you speak to yourself with the same grace and encouragement you would a friend?
Do you believe God loves everyone else more than you, or that others have value to add, but your own voice doesn’t count? What does the Lord say about your voice and value?
What experiences have shaped and changed your view of yourself? Invite God to reveal his true perspective.
What voices from the past have imprinted an expectation or label that shaped your identity? Do these messages agree with what God says about you?
I pray for you, sisters, that together we will step out of fear and into his love, trusting that we are already fully loved, known, and chosen by God today, in our in-between places. May you discover his truth about you and may it set you free.