As I waited to cross the street to get to the restaurant in my shorter than usual dress, it happened. At that moment as I waited for the light to change, a group of men rolled down their car window and hooted and hollered at me. It was my first experience truly being catcalled.
Fear is so sneaky. It’s like a really talented, conniving salesman. It convinces us something is undeniably true. Yet once we’ve bought in, we look at what we’ve “purchased” and we can see we’ve been duped.
As a kid, I thought God wanted me to do His bidding, almost like I was His little robot of good works. As a robot, I thought I should be programmed perfectly, and perceived that any flaw in my circuitry would cause me be to cast aside and rejected. However, God is so much bigger than that. He longs to have us be with Him, to seek His wisdom, and to encounter His loving heart.
At the same time I was raiding the candy store with my friend, there were two significant life lessons my parents were emphasizing back home:
eat food that is good for you, and pray about everything. I did not enjoy either lesson at the time. You see sugar was delicious, vegetables were disgusting, and prayer was a boring waste of time, but I felt constant guilt to do it.
I grew up believing sex was bad.
No one ever actually said it that bluntly, and I doubt I would have ever verbalized it that way (because let’s be honest, I never would have said that word out loud). But as I sat through church service after church service that encouraged saving sex for marriage, that’s the conclusion I drew.
My youthful “solution” = Do not desire sex at all.
The problem with my “solution” = A fear of that which God designed for His glory.
I’ve always been good at being self-sufficient. If I had a problem, I’d find a way to fix it. If I were feeling sad, I would realize it was my responsibility to make sure I stopped feeling that way. Essentially, I’ve always had the logical sense to realize that nobody else could fix my problems; I knew I had to be responsible and take care of them myself.
In many ways, I applied that to my relationship with God. He had good works prepared for me to do, so I’d better get my act together and get them done, right?
I have two siblings, and one statement I think I can fairly confidently make is that siblings are far too often compared and contrasted to each other. “Oh, they’re the funny one,” they say, or “They’re the shy one,” the list goes on and on.
My phone background during my 10th grade year read simply, “Love Never Fails.” As a kid who grew up in the church, this reference to 1 Corinthians 13:8 seemed pretty cut and dry. However, as my friend picked up my phone, read my background, and said casually yet confidently, “That’s a lie!” my perspective shifted.
Freedom, just for the sake of freedom, will breed rebellion in our hearts. Freedom for the sake of seeking the heart of God though, breeds life; it causes us to experience the love of God in a pure way.
If I were to imagine myself there in Bethlehem all those years ago, walking toward baby Jesus in His manger, I imagine I would be met with an inner conflict. Yes, this baby is to be the Savior of the world; however, I think I would be wrestling with the thought of how dirty I felt in His presence. He was born as an act of love to save me, yet if this baby could comprehend all the struggles in my brain and all the sins I wrestle with…well, wouldn’t that be a tad inappropriate?