As I lay on the table, I asked Emily, my massage therapist, if it was just my imagination, or were there less knots in my shoulders than last time I was there.
She agreed there were.
Last month, I shared how uncertain I was about participating in Lent. I was scared to listen to what God wanted to tell me, but too desperate not to.
I wasn't really sure He'd speak to me. In fact, I was pretty sure He wouldn't. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I began to hear things.
First, He told me to lower my shoulders. They were residing by my ears, and I was a hot mess of anxiety. The words "be still and rest" came to me over and over before I could accept that I was hearing correctly. Still, I squirmed with fear at the idea.
Second, He told me to lower my standards. Turns out, I'm harder on myself than God is. While I wrung my hands, wondering if I was measuring up and doing it right, He reminded me that I don't have to fear being examined. I am accepted.
Third, He told me to lower my shame. I cringed at what I imagined God would show me when I invited Him--every single day for 40 days--to "see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." While He did show me myself, God didn't open my eyes to my self-preserving behavior to give me the full picture of His condemnation. Instead, He gently and lovingly revealed my worth in spite of my sin and guided me to seek forgiveness of Him and of others. It has been freeing to see myself as I truly am.
As I've prayed the same words day after day, slowly--ever so slowly--I'm realizing that what looked like something I initiated was really a response to His relentless pursuit. God initiates relationship. With me, with you, with everyone.
Are you scared or desperate? I hope my experience will help you see that you don't have to be either. God knows your heart and wants to lead you in the way everlasting. Trust Him.
How would you describe your relationship with God?