but God is slowly chipping away at this lie that seems to be so firmly fixed to my heart. He is kindly, slowly, patiently, working the truth of His love and affection (yes, affection!) into my vision. He is planting it in my heart and letting it take root.
but these lessons don't happen quickly. and on one hand, i'm so grateful. so glad i have a Father who doesn't expect me to have my life turned around as soon as He reveals a corner of darkness in my heart. He is so patient. so nice to me- to continue to repeat the same message in so many ways. through sermons, scripture, songs, conversations. i slowly end up hearing the same messages. kindness.
on the other hand, i want change here. now. today. this instant. as soon as my eyes are a tiny bit opened to something i need so badly, i want it right now. i don't want to wait.
it is patient and kind work He is doing, though. requiring things of me like discipline, humility and what feels like sacrifice- but ends in joy.
two (of several) tools that have been helping me focus my heart on the utter reality of His love and care for me are these:
i'm loving this book by Elise Fizpatrick. daily (brief) readings that speak to His love for me. and all that means. they focus my eyes on the cross, not on myself. on His care for me, not my lack of care for Him. i recommend these readings to anyone wanting to be reminded (or find out for the first time) what Jesus has done, what it means, and who we are now.
the other tool i've been using is incense. a sweet friend gave me some incense a couple of years ago as a Christmas gift. i started lighting it in the afternoons, during a particularly dark season of anxiety. i tried to use the smell of the incense to remind me of peace and hope in Christ.
i've been lighting incense these recent days and allowing the scent and visual smoke to bring to mind the serious reality of His loving presence. right now. in my living room. He is here. loving me.
a few days ago, i was walking from the living room into the kitchen. i had incense burning on the dining room table. and as i walked through the smoke, i found a smile on my face. my saving Jesus was there. right there. with love and acceptance. and i hadn't needed to work really hard to be sure of that.
He is kind. so good. so patient. He is love. for me. for you. if you are in Him, He sees you as He sees His Son. unreal, friends. seriously mind-blowing.