Fully Known

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

Do you ever feel completely misunderstood? Not just with something you said or specific actions, but entirely mis-taken as a person? As if people around you don’t truly know your intentions, your desires, or even your likes and dislikes; like they don’t really know your heart? If your answer is yes… you’re not alone.

I think more often than we like to admit, we feel so utterly out of touch with the people around us. It’s like ‘they know me, but they don’t fully KNOW me.’ What would people say if they could see my daily thoughts, the inner workings of my mind? What would they think if they fully knew my heart?  Maybe, just maybe, they’d love me anyways. But our human tendencies, amid Satan creeping in, tell us we should probably just keep it (whatever it may be) to ourselves.

That’s where the ridiculous awesomeness of our God comes in. And yes, it is ridiculous. He not only sees you, but He truly knows the deepest parts of who you are. He knows what you’ve thought, said and done (insert shocked face here). YET, He loves you just the same. God’s love for you is unwavering, unconditional and never ceasing. He knows each and every day you’ve had and all the days that are still to come. He knows, like with Peter, that you will in some way deny him again. Still, He loves you. Not only does He love you, but He calls you his child — His beloved. How encouraging is that?!

What if we aimed to show that sort of love to those around us (and to ourself)? I think we, as Believers, could cause a chain reaction in our communities by seeking that type of deep connection. Jesus called us to be like him, like God, and to love each other so the world will know we are His. If we start to live from a place that we are fully known and loved by our God, how much more will that trickle into our everyday lives with the people around us? And how might that intensely impact someone near you who doesn’t fully grasp the concept of God’s love? Seeking to truly know and love those around us despite their wrongdoings and flaws (much like our own) can be life changing to them, and you — and me.

I challenge you (as well as myself) to dive deeper into connection with people — especially those we call sisters and brothers in Christ. Connect on a heart level. Take on each day with the life-giving thought that God fully knows and so deeply loves you, every part of you, that He gave His only child that He might one day spend eternity with you.

Go read Romans 8 if you want an extra dose of “wow, Jesus loves me!” And imagine how revitalizing it would be if we tried to meet each other with even an ounce of that type of love.

What if I Rested?

by Rob Gibson  July 14, 2016

Post #10 in: Gleanings from a Sabbatical Journey…

I was sitting in Starbucks watching a baby boy fall gently asleep in his young mothers arms. He was so peaceful and secure, wrapped in her tender embrace. She gently stroked his forehead, his eyes closed, and his little body melted into her arms. He hadn’t a care, totally unaware of the concerns mom, dad and I discussed. He was safe, secure, deeply loved, and in that love he rested well.  I thought to myself, just give me thirty minutes of rest like that and I could run for a week. Do I know how to rest like that? 

My sabbatical was about rest, but rest is difficult for a workaholic fixer. With so much to fix and reform, how the heck can I rest?! It’s a skill we are born with, like this little boy, and then it seems the woes of the world can wrestle it from us with life consuming burdens. 

The burdens are many: paying the bills, satisfying customers, keeping the kids safe and on track, satisfying the boss, can’t loose this job, gotta make quota, terrorist strike again, need to connect with friends, save for retirement, people are protesting in Dallas, what about a vacation, fixing the car, mowing the lawn, a liar or narcissist is going to ruin the country, got to finish the basement or she’ll be angry, how will we afford college, insurance is killing us. That’s enough to keep me up at night.

The list has so filled my mind for years that I stopped dreaming long ago, or at least I rarely remember my dreams. I’m told I dream, but I remember less than a handful of dreams. A party with Taylor Swift (go figure), a hike in the mountains, a board game on white fluffy clouds. When I was younger, I dreamed, I walked in my sleep, then early in our marriage I talked about work in my sleep – to my wife’s chagrin. Then, until recently, things went blank – no dreams.

I have felt guilty resting. A subtle guilt if I sat to watch golf or took a ride on my motorcycle to nowhere in particular. Guilty because if I’m not moving, and moving with purpose, I have no purpose, no value. It’s a jacked up lie, but a workaholic that performs to earn value isn’t going to rest except when it’s physically demanded. I wanted to rest like that baby. I was certain I had to have it, and I was hopeful it was possible. After all, Jesus said: 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

That sounds fantastic, but how do I access this rest? Maybe a better question is, who snatched it from me? What lying dog told me I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and fix so much stuff?That little baby was resting in his mothers arms, unconcerned with the woes of the world or our troubles; he simply rested in the loving and trusted arms of mama. I want that! 

To rest, I have to continually reclaim a couple of truths, and kick some lies in the hind-quarters. The lie to silence is, “I’m responsible for everything and I have to fix ‘it’ and everyone.” That is way above my pay grade and human capabilities, and turns me into an agitated control freak. The truth I need is the doctrine of rest. It’s one you’ve probably never focused on, but it’s there. We see it when Jesus says:  

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

This is so freeing because, in essence, Jesus says we can do our work (scatter seed) in the daytime, then go to sleep. Further, while we sleep stuff grows and we don’t know how! In other words, it’s not our responsibility to make it all happen. I am not responsible for the outcome. I don’t have to fix everything or everyone. I am not God and I am not in control. I know this, it’s my heart and soul that need to catch on. I do my best (and even when I don’t he gives me grace) and go to bed and trust the outcome to God. God is responsible for the growth, the result – the harvest.  

This truth gives me the opportunity to lay down my work and rest. It sets me free to breathe deeply, relax, connect to my heart and begin to trust God. This truth welcomes me, at 54, to rest secure as a child in the tender loving arms of my Savior. It invites me to know I am deeply loved, safe, and able to dream again.