There are things to do. I’m sitting on my bed in the middle of a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, with a stack of dishes waiting for me in the kitchen (as well as a mouse that is yet to be caught). But there are times that the life you’re living is put on hold for the bits of life that need to be lived – thoughts that need to be processed, a soul that needs to be tended to, and the need to sit in the love of Christ.. the mouse and my laundry can just wait 🙂
In the wonderful book of Hosea, the Lord says: “But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled and their heart was lifted up, therefore they forgot me” (Hosea 13:6). Instead of forgetting the Lord when we have full hearts, may his gifts to us lead us to marvel at His freely-given love and His intimate knowledge of us, and may moments of heartache keep us at His side. The gifts of God have blown me away recently – gift upon lavish gift! – but it’s still a struggle to remember those gifts, to know how to accept them, to acknowledge him as the giver, and to trust him for more good in the future. My heart is no different than yours – because of this broken world they have all been used and bruised, and we shabbily piece them back together day after day. These hearts are too overwhelmed by lavish gifts. They can’t handle the greatness and love for which they have been destined and created. They have been specially crafted for abundance, for joy, for glory, and for receiving so much love they nearly burst.
Ah, but what has this world done? What has this world done to us? It has taken high-capacity hearts and convinced them that they should be low-capacity, that either we’re not worth of such joy and love, or that such a level of joy and love is too risky or simply not true. How can we regain high-capacity hearts that receive the love and gifts of Jesus? Gift upon lavish gift! How can we receive gifts and love with humility and amazement, not with prideful hearts that feel entitled nor with hearts full of shame, doubting that they deserve the gifts. I think our inability to gracefully accept a simple compliment is indicative of our inability to accept lavish gifts. Self-hate and self-protection masquerade as humility and we cannot give a simple and humble “thank you,” but instead make some excuse for the compliment and say something that is self-deprecating, that invalidates the compliment, or is insulting to the giver of the compliment.
Love, and the acceptance of these gifts from Christ, feels too risky at times. As though it’s too good to be true and is likely to be snatched away at any moment. Yes, life is fragile and nothing is guaranteed.. except for the love of Christ.
One of my favorite Elenowen songs sings: “please please please cripple me so I cannot keep running away from you.” My heart is prone to run away from Christ, and I wonder if part of that is because my heart doesn’t believe it’s made for that kind of love. “Cripple me.” That’s a hard thing to ask of the Lord – to be crippled if need be in order to keep me where my heart thrives and where my Savior is. I was processing just this morning how advantageous it is for us to put ourselves, or to be put, in a position where we are no longer in control. The advantage of risk and of being outside a comfort zone is just that: the lack of control. What is so scary and uncomfortable is exactly what is advantageous and what allows for so much growth. When I am no longer in control and have risked something or chosen something that leaves me without power in some way, I am giving the control back to the Lord. The reality is that it’s always been his but suddenly I’m aware of it and suddenly my eyes are wide open to see him act, watch him work, and to be expectant of gifts that seem too good to be true. But they are true. I think high-capacity hearts were made to accept gifts without the fear (and the self-protective mechanisms that accompany fear) that they will be taken away. Because no matter what is taken away, the love of Jesus Christ remains. High-capacity hearts were meant to receive gifts well, but also find ultimate satisfaction in the giver.
Toward the end of Hosea, he says: I will love them freely.
I love to be in control of my life. But if someone has to be in control other than me, I’m so glad it’s someone who loves me freely and knows me so fully. The truth is, Christ knows and loves me so much more than I will ever be able to know and love myself. And He gives gifts accordingly.
Here’s to losing control and regaining a high-capacity heart. And being more willing to make choices that put us out of control and in the path of the great love and tender care of Christ.