Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Post Just to Justify this Cat Picture...or Something More?

Look, I really wanted to show this picture. I took it at a French shop when we went to get some ear drops a few months ago (note the French toothbrushes in the background.)
I liked this cat hanging out on the shelf for a few reasons.
1.) I like cats
2.) This was a stuffed cat
3.) This stuffed cat was really randomly on the shelf
4.) It made me laugh (I still chuckle a little inside when I look at it.)

That was me - sideways.  In the foreground is the ear stuff.  It made the gunk in my ears come out.  

A little disgusted?  That's ok.  That's a part of life sometimes (parents, ever change a poopy diaper? My point exactly.)

My ear is blocked again lately so it looks like I need to use the ear gunk dis-integrator (my word, it's not actually on the ear medicine bottle.)  

Why do my ears get blocked more often than most peoples?  The Doctor told me once that "Some people just get blocked ears more easily."  I've accepted it.

But you know what I haven't accepted?

"Proper ear hygiene?"

Close, faithful blog reader, but you're way off! (I do properly clear my ears, thank you very much!)

I have not accepted all of God's love.  

Neither have you I'm willing to bet.  Love is a very hard thing to accept for most people especially when it's coming from God.  Why you may ask?

"No, I won't ask "Why?" but I will ask "How did you go from talking about a stuffed cat to blocked ears to God's love??"

That, faithful blog reader, is not the point.

"But I just.."

Moving on, love is hard to accept!  It's hard to accept because, when it's actually love - unconditional, total, free and desiring what is best for the other - we have such little experience of it (pure love I mean) that it's like a foreign invader when it comes knocking on the door.  "Can I trust it?  Everything else which I've let into my heart has ended up either hurting me or leaving me unsatisfied."  So we - in friendships, marriages, encounters with strangers, even our relationship with God - like to keep a nice, safe distance from the one trying to show us love.  We "tolerate" love but we don't let all of it in.  We may say thank you to someone who gives us a gift but do really receive all of the love being given through that gift (a gift is, after all, only a sign of love, a mere token and a reminder of the love of the giver.)

It is very hard for us imperfect human beings (who are fairly well acquainted with our own imperfection) to really believe and accept unconditional and unmerited love from a God Who simply loves us because He loves us because He loves us because He loves us.  Every other experience we've ever had of love on this earth from any other human being has been - at least to some extent - imperfect and conditioned.

No fallen human being is born with the ability to give or receive love in a perfect manner. This is intensified through the experiences of our lives; experiences which have often been very wounding and difficult.  

Have you ever held a kitten or a puppy which had been abused by a previous owner and was, because of that previous experience, afraid of you?  The proper instinct on our part is to want to try and reassure the animal "No, I'm not going to hurt you, you're safe!"  We hold the animal and know that, in reality "It is safe! Nothing is going to harm it!" yet the animal subjectively experiences the emotion of fear and, until it has an experience (perhaps continued experiences) of reassurance that you're nothing to be afraid of then it will just continue to be afraid of you.

I think it's a lot like that with God and His love.  He holds us in being knowing the objective truth "You're safe!  I'm not going to harm you!" but we interiorly and subjectively feel fear because, after all, every other experience of "love" which we've had from other people has never quite allowed us to feel "free to be me."

Now don't get me wrong.  Many parents are awesome parents and many children grow up with a strong, healthy self-esteem and a good sense of humble, self-confidence.  But, even ONE experience of a "lack of love" is a wounding experience which the heart can't help but remember.  And if not from parents, then from who? Teachers? Siblings? Friends? Bullies? Coaches? Bosses? Co-workers? Your Pastor? God forbid any of these but we all know the reality - imperfect people don't love perfectly.

Yet, even so, I CRAVE for perfect love!  You NEED perfect love!  There are parts of our hearts which are STARVING because they have never actually experienced true, unconditional love.  

That's where God wants to meet you today.  In whatever area of your life in which you feel unloveable God wants to say to you "I love you even here."  It is a beautiful way to pray when we feel most broken, most ashamed, most afraid, most undeserving and then to say to God "Father/Jesus/Lord, I need your love here.  I need you to love me even here."


Asking God "Why do you love me?" is I'm sure bit confusing for Him.  I'm sure He responds, "How could I not??"

It's like an absolutely, drop dead beautiful woman who says to her husband "Do you think I'm pretty?"  Is the husband not just a tad bit confused?  I'm sure he responds, "How could I not??"

Oh the gift of God's infinite, unconditional, and perfect love for each of us!  Perhaps God is asking us right now, "Will you accept my love for you?"  May we respond, "How could I not??"  

He deserves our yes.  We need to say yes.  

Nothing else will do.  Anything less is unacceptable (unlike accepting a tendency to having blocked ears.  That's acceptable.)