I do not cry very often. And I know when I was younger and more immature, I used to say that braggingly, because for some stupid reason, it was "cool" to be "strong" and so-called emotionless. But I see now that that's totally stupid. But I still don't cry very often. And usually when I do, it's a weeping.
That happened tonight. Even now as I write this, the tears are pouring down.
I've been feeling so bothered in my spirit. Bothered at my sin. Bothered that I let my fears control me. Bothered at my hard-heartedness and coldness. Bothered at my selfishness. Just feeling like an overall failure.
I've had this crazy work schedule; it's been changing constantly. And the reason that bothers me so much is not because I don't like change. Anyone who knows me knows I'm always down for some change and a good challenge. But the most important time of my day for years has been my quiet time. My time with the Lord. Time spent in prayer and reflection and praise and studying the Bible. So it's bothered me because it interrupts that time.
So I've struggled for weeks to get a grip on my ever-changing schedule and keep that time, and more and more days have gone by without it. And I'm not talking legalism here. I'm talking I need that time. I need my time with the Lord. More than I need air to breathe. But the very sad, very scary part is is that when much time goes by without it, we lose that sense of urgency and need and desire to spend in His presence. And that's terrified me as I've seen it creep in and begin to take over.
We become so susceptible to sin and falsehood. I mean falsehood in the sense that I forget what's true about me, and I forget what's true about Him. And I've felt so carnal and condemned. I don't know another way to say it. I've been impatient and rude and uncaring and negative. And I hate it. I despise it in me.
Tonight was the first time in almost two weeks that I've had just me time. And it felt wonderful. I didn't have to speak to one person. I didn't have one obligation. I didn't have one single thing that needed to be done that couldn't wait till tomorrow. Or the next day. Or even the next.
I read. I cooked dinner. I got on the computer. I read some more. I turned on the TV, which I honestly quite rarely do. I'm just not a big TV watcher. (Unless Gloria and I are watching us some HGTV or What Not to Wear...do I hear an amen??) Somewhere in the middle of all that, I went to the bathroom, and there, in an undistracted moment, I just had the strongest sense of the Lord's assurance.
It was so clear and so distinct that I thought for sure I wouldn't forget the exactness of it, but I have. But it was an assurance that He is not mad at me. He does not condemn me. He doesn't want me to be so focused on just seeking Him in the morning, in my "usual" time, that I miss Him all the rest of the day. And I just started crying, and I felt such a freedom, and such a sense of desire. That's exactly what I want. I want to walk closely with Him all day. I want to be near to Him all day. And while that may be elementary, I had forgotten. I got distracted by trying too hard to get it right.
I got back on the computer and my brother-in-law, Jordan, had posted a link to a website called I Am Second, and in it you can hear the story of Brian "Head" Welch, former band member of the hardcore group, Korn. As I listened to Brian's description of the moment he accepted Christ, and the subsequent outpouring of a Father's love that completely filled him and washed over him, I literally began to weep. I was filled with an indescribable awe and thankfulness at this Love that so captivates and encapsulates. The Lord is not nice and sterile and limited. He's limitless and boundless and unashamed in His affection towards us. Brian said that he had such a sense that he was not condemned, he was loved with a Father's love. He was not condemned. He was loved.
We are loved like that. I am loved like that. It's an explosive and powerful and overarching love that tears down every defense and casts out every fear, and satisfies every single desire to belong and be loved. As we are.
Oh my Father, thank you for that revelation tonight. Thank you for going out of your way to demonstrate it to me yet again. Not only when you gave your Son to die and pay for the penalty of my sin, but now, tonight, when I needed to be reminded desperately. Thank you that you go to great lengths to rescue a people that you love. Again and again and again. Lord, change me. May what I do be out of a love of a daughter for her Father, and not because I'm trying to get it right. I love you, Lord.