The beauty of the yellow and red leaves in our neighborhood is striking. I imagine the trees do not take precious time to compare themselves to the fir tree, or to the shrub to wonder why they must shed their fine coats for the winter. They just do, and wait for spring to build their lovely coats again with buds and blooms.
When I was a little girl, I was often parked over at my grandparent’s house. My grandmother never seemed to tire of the TV preachers of the ’70’s and their carefully coiffed hair, beige suits and glossy appearance. The overwhelming message I came away with is that Jesus loved beautiful, perfect people who got their act together, prayed perfectly every day and sent LOTS of money to help preachers get the word out.
Yeah, pretty much I despaired having any kind of intimate spiritual experience with Christ. I thought that if you measured the wattage of spirituality between me and the good church folk I was around, I measured about 15 watts, enough to light up the inside of the fridge, where they measured something closer to an outdoor flood lamp.
This feeling of inferiority continued into my adult life. I would attend bible studies, retreats, and churches of different denominations, and I still felt 2nd-class. But why? I would try and read my bible every day, do more studies, pray even harder. But this just seemed to compound my feelings of inadequacy and I finally just threw in the towel. I knew I would get into heaven, however, with a singed tush.
13The day will make what each one does clearly visible because fire will reveal it. That fire will determine what kind of work each person has done. 14If what a person has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15If his work is burned up, he will suffer [the loss]. However, he will be saved, though it will be like going through a fire.
1 COR 3:13-14
Recovery, that is, the process of sanctification has shown me that there is a way toward peace and a real relationship with Christ. I don’t have to live in constant despair, feeling as though my life must measure up to the person in the seat next to me, or some other “saint” in order to be acceptable and holy. Jesus, and His work is my covering, my holiness, my refuge. People in recovery have shown me the face of Christ. It’s loveliness takes my breath away, along with the condemnation I used to feel.
Good friends, let us leave behind the lie that we are not worthy of an intimate, holy relationship with our creator, that our lives be mired in worthless pursuits. Today is the day to start living like who you are. You are precious, loved and invaluable.