The year was 2005. I'd been asking God to awaken me to my true identity. I wanted so desperately to know who He saw me to be. I knew the things I believed about myself. I truly hoped that He didn't see me that way too. I frequently asked Him for pictures that would reveal His heart to me. On this particular day I asked again. Suddenly a vision flashed into my mind.
I saw a woman dressed in a beautiful free flowing skirt. She was in the parking lot outside the church we were attending. I couldn't see her face. I didn't know who she was. With arms raised she twirled around in dance. There was freedom and beauty in the way she moved. She didn't care who saw her. She only cared about the One who watched. As the vision left I began to ask God what it all meant. Who is that? "It's you!" What is that? "It's the dance of freedom." How do I get there, God? "I will take you there." "It is for freedom that I came."
I remember a piece of furniture my mother restored. Layers of paint hid it's raw beauty. It wasn't a quick or easy process. One coat of paint was stripped away at a time. I remember the steel wool, the sharp tools, the strong smelling solvent. Underneath the years of history the beautiful, original wood found it's way out. Sandpaper was used to smooth off any remaining rough edges. Afterwards stain was rubbed in bringing the piece to life. The grand finale was the top coat applied protecting the work that had just been completed.
I am like that piece of furniture.
For God so loved me He sent Jesus to restore me back to my true identity. Layers of lies brought on by my own sins and the sins done against me are being stripped away. Their coatings of shame cover me no more. Religious mandates are falling by the wayside, no longer holding me captive. He is peeling away the layers allowing me to receive what's been there all along. Love... just love.
The finished work of Christ now sets me free. The beauty of the original is making it's way out. I am free to live as one who is loved because I am.
No longer is there need to dance the exhausting dance to be acceptable. I no longer have to strive to be holy. I can believe that I am. He will never use the words, "after all I've done for you, what will you do for Me?" The lists are over, the plates can stop spinning. It's not about getting everything right or being enough. It is no longer imperative that I keep watch on my behavior for it does not prove my godliness. I now see His arm wrapped around me as we look at my sin together. It's not about the sin. It's about living in who I am.
He's known me for a lifetime. All that was has been removed. He sees me free from the layers, dancing in liberation. He invites me to see that too. Embracing love freely given brings me to an abandon unlike I've ever known. I am free to be just as I am knowing He will show me who He knows me to be. To the extent I trust I am loved, I will be loved.
The vision makes sense to me these days. It's breathtaking. I find myself dancing in the beautiful freedom of the free flowing life of Christ in me.
What's love got to do with it? Everything.
©copyrighted 2011: Julie L. Todd