Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rebel With A Cause

   I don’t read my Bible every day.  I never thought I would broadcast this news.  Admitting this after years of being drilled with the importance of daily reading, makes me sound and sometimes feel like a rebel.   Early on I had been told that if I loved God I would read His Word daily to prove it.  


     It wasn’t that long ago that I realized I was trying to earn His love.  I didn’t believe that in and of myself I was enough.   I performed, and strived hoping that somehow it would make me enough.  The problem with this theology is that life became about Me.  It was all about what I could and would do.


      It’s not His way.  He wanted me to know the true way.  He wanted me to know I was loved for who I was, not for what I could do.  Quiet times didn’t prove my love for Him, like I’d been told.  What He longed for was my response to His pursuit.   I didn’t know Him as the pursuer of my heart.  I thought it was up to me.  He wanted me to know that it was He who pursued me.  


       It all began with Him alluring me into the desert to speak tenderly to me.  In the desert His Word became the streams that watered my soul.  It was no longer about a daily reading.  A question of desperation would lead me to search through the scriptures to know His heart for me in the moment.  During that time I dissected His Word to discover truth.  I loved treasure hunting in His Word.  In moments of the barren desert, I was desperate for Him.  He not only revealed Himself to me, He stored up treasures of truth in my heart for the season to come.  


     The next season He began to take the demands of reading the Word off of me.  At first I struggled to remain there.  I felt so out of balance and guilty.   The feelings of guilt indicates that my reading had been more requirement than relationship.  Were I living out of the response of the relationship there would be no guilt.  After all guilt is not in His vocabulary.  That was what He was coming for, the lies that brought the guilt.  He wanted me to know that I could just “be” with Him, without “doing” a thing.  


     Many days I spent confessing to Him my guilt for not reading until He whispered to my heart.  “Jewel, it’s OK that you are not doing anything.  I don’t want you to have to do anything for love.  I want you to rest here with me.  Just be you, Jewel.  Just respond to me the way your heart tells you to.  Forget the assignments, forget the requirements, just be here with me.”


     Could it be that simple?  Could I let it all go and respond to His pursuit of my heart as I felt led?  Were there really no requirements?  Somehow in the midst, the guilt dissipated and I began to relax.  He knew my heart.  He knew I wanted Him more than life itself.  He knew I loved His Word.  He wanted me to respond to His invitation without a set “to do” list?


     The Word of God is vital to my life.  Both the written Word and the spoken Word.   His spoken Word erupted into my world during this time and I was undone.  I wondered how long had He been waiting to speak to me.  I had never  heard such words of love and affirmation.  All this time He had been waiting for my ear.


        Each and every day He woos my heart to “be” with Him so that He can love on me.  Sometimes it is with the written Word and sometimes it is with the spoken Word.  He amazes me with His presence as He delights in pursuing me with His relentless love.  


     An amazing transition has taken place.   I am breaking free from the rules to live in the freedom of responding to His pursuit.   Everything is by His initiation.  He invites me to come to Him so that He can love on me.  Guilt has fallen off of me.  I am free.  Maybe I am a rebel after all, a rebel with a cause, to know how deeply and intimately I am loved by the pursuer of my heart because I am made for love.


        The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:  "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3


JEWELZ

©copyrighted 2008 by Julie L. Todd

15 comments:

mer@lifeat7000feet said... Reply to comment

Julie, thank you for this post. I have often felt those things--the guilt and the freedom--but could never have expressed them as well as you just did. I, too, had to lay down the need to check the quiet time box. I feel very misunderstood in that sometimes, but I think you understand me, and I'm thankful for that. Beautiful words, friend...and what a beautiful, loving relationship you share with your Papa.

Joyful said... Reply to comment

Julie, you have shared the story of my life as well. It's such a treasure when God take us from "duty" to "delight" and we know His unconditional love for us.

That verse from Hosea has been playing around in my head all week. Beth Moore used it in the video we watched on Tuesday at our Bible study. I'm so thankful for the times He has called me away and spoken tenderly to me. Precious, precious times.

Being pursued,
Joy

Shanda said... Reply to comment

can i admit that i'm a little nervous about the desert? I "know" where he wants me, but right now I'm in the midst of the guilt. I'm so fortunate to be able to hear your experience and be reminded of what is ahead!
Thank you.
shanda

Kimberly said... Reply to comment

You are a tremendous encourager. Learning to just "be" is something I am still learning. And believing that HE would really want to pursue ME is one I'm still learning. Thanks for always sharing so openly, and for never leaving me comments that say "Hey, just get over yourself." :)
You are a blessing!
Love,
K

Becoming Me said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie...again, I don't have the words to make a decent comment...but thank you...thank you for sharing your heart and by doing so, opening mine.

Mom2Mom Ministry said... Reply to comment

I remember when God did the same for me. WE talk daily but I'm not always reading. Beginning Bible Study (Beth Moore's Patriarch's) has helped with my daily studying now. I'm enjoying it immensely.
Hope you are well.
julie
www.homeschoolblogger.com/juliestew

Cindy said... Reply to comment

What a wonderful post and one that has given me some insight to my own need to obey the rules instead of just loving Jesus.

I am really going to ponder this one!

I thank you for your honesty.
Blessings, Cindy

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

It is so awesome to know someone that has had a similar experience to mine. For years, I was bound to my "Daily Readings" and other rituals of faith. The really cool part about all of it - is that when I got totally free from all the bondage, I began being drawn to the very things that I 'used to do' out of duty. Now, in my freedom, I run to the Lord for quiet time and rest - my spirit longs to be with Him. His scriptures comfort my soul, His love envelops my heart. Being in His presence is addictive. What a different picture than before when I had my "To Do List" to accomplish for the Lord.

So happy to have a friend to share this FREEDOM with!

Thanks for another great article!

Love you,
Amy

Laura said... Reply to comment

I can so relate to this post, Jules! I too have let my devotional time become a stronghold in the past. When I look at it as an obligation, in this legalistic way, it loses the intimacy that I so crave. He took me on a journey not so long ago to reveal to me the variety of ways we can have our time together. It was incredible! But now, I cherish my morning prayer time with Him. I just don't feel guilty if something keeps me from having it.
You are truly a Jewel!
Love,
laura

Heather of the EO said... Reply to comment

Hi! Nice to "meet" you!
I loved this post. I've been struggling with the same things for a long time. Trying to overcome my list of things I think I need to cross off to be accepted. God has been trying to teach me to just REST in His LOVE and just BE. Thank you for speaking to that very thing here.

MoziEsmé said... Reply to comment

This is beautiful! I have such a guilt complex about everything - even though I know cognitively that it is wrong - and your reminder is wonderfully timed.

Genny said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful post, and a beautiful reminder of God's love. I just finished reading "The Shack" and this post reminded me of the book and the message of unconditional love in it. Thank you!

Denise said... Reply to comment

Amen, bless you.

Tiffany Stuart said... Reply to comment

Again, YES!

I hear your heart and sense His presence.

Love you.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

So very, very good, Jewel. I can't come up with anything other than that. He fed my soul through you today. You are such a reflection of His love.