When we are finally able to accept that we are loved, completely and utterly and wonderfully, by God, then we are finally free to be whoever we were created to be.
When we are secure in the knowledge of that perfect love, we can set self aside without worry.
Knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do to make God love me more (and that nothing I can do will ever make him love me less), I am free to be me, to make mistakes, to fail, to mess up horribly. And free to start again, and again, and again. Free to try a hundred different things, and free to fall down and make the same mistakes a hundred different ways.
And I am free to put those mistakes behind me. Free to listen, free to follow directions, free to walk upon the water and to do amazing things.
Free to find joy and contentment in doing the things I already love doing, since these are the things I was created to do. Free to find immense satisfaction in the smallest of caring tasks, free to enjoy the simplest of suppers, free to delight in the happiness of a child blossoming in the right school.
I'm not sure I was created to lose my temper with the feed pump, the paperwork, the child who has to have my total undivided attention at all times and especially when I am on the phone to someone else. But maybe that short fuse helps when I'm chasing support we aren't getting, appointments we haven't been given, equipment which doesn't work?
I'm pretty sure no one is created to actively design a house as messy as mine. But maybe my ability to sit quietly within the chaos enables me to get the rest I need in order to carry on picking up the pieces when the chaos is being created?
So I've taken a sermon all about turning away from self and towards Jesus, and I've turned it into a blog all about me. Cos I'm good that way. But I think it's important. I can't be free to love God until I can accept that he really does love me, right now, just exactly as I am, with all my mess and imperfections and chaos and clutter.
I don't need to fix anything first.
I live in a house with a door on the latch; nurses, carers, friends, family, and an occasional delivery man all let themselves in. There's no time to do anything beyond kick the dirty dishes under the settee and stuff the socks behind a cushion before company is in front of me. And it's taken a while to get used to, but I love it. This is me. This house, my home. It's not perfect (see above re: dishes and dirty socks), but it's who I am. The pressure's off. No hours of frantic tidying before anyone is allowed past the door; these days many visitors bypass me entirely and head straight for the kettle or the loo.
And I'm probably slow to get the message, but I'm living with my life on the latch too. And I'm loved not one iota more in my Sunday Best (yes, fellow members of the congregation, those are my smarter clothes) than I am in my slightly stained spotty dressing gown. And I am not loved one iota less in those times when I ignore the dishes and curl up on the settee in mismatched pyjamas than I am when I am heading out of the door in clean clothes having actually brushed my hair.
And I think maybe it's only then, only when we let that perfect love cast out all fear, that we can cast out that fear of exposure, fear of what others might think, fear of being considered a nuisance, fear of being found unworthy. And it's only when we are truly free to be ourselves, that we can truly forget ourselves in the wonder of following the paths set in front of us.
Or maybe that's just me?