A Throwback and a Response

I have received affirmation time and again of God’s acceptance of me. This hasn’t come in some loud, thunderous way, but in subtle, gentle ways, deep in my soul.

Today, I was reminded of a past blog post of mine. So, I thought I might post an edited copy of it here and then respond to it. You can read the original post here, but I have included it below:

Over the duration of my life, I have dealt with a silent belief about myself that I have only recently decided to share with others. Part of the purpose of this blog is to come clean about it. My silent belief is this: I often feel that I am exempt of redemption and grace.

This is interesting, as I have thrived to convey the message of Christ’s Gospel. But I admit that I don’t think I have completely believed that the story of Christ’s love applies to me. This isn’t to say that I reject the Gospel, let me be clear. I guess it’s more like I haven’t felt as if I have been included in this promise despite being a proponent of the Christian faith.

It burdens me to know that there is a barrier in the way somewhere deep in my soul that prevents me from growing in the faith as I would like to. Of course this barrier comes in the form of the belief that I am unredeemable. It cripples me from advancing in my discipleship in the LORD and it can keep me in sins I wish to conquer, like sexual lust, pride and criticalness. So, with this insecurity comes the recurring failures to crawl out of the pit of mire (see Psalm 40).

Having thought about what has influenced this notion, I can’t help but recollect the experiences I had growing up. It seemed as though my personality never seemed acceptable by my peers. I could make friends from the start, but they never lasted and by the time I finished Gr. 8, I really had no friends at all. In fact, when new kids joined, they were influenced by those in the student body not to “like” me or befriend me because I suppose it was the collective belief that it was “uncool” to do so.  One’s reputation depended on deliberately not being my friend or appreciating me. Unfortunately, due to this experience, I still deal with these echoes of unacceptance.

In the context of my primary and middle school years, not many bothered to understand me or to find out what mattered to me; this included some of the teachers. To me it seems as if they merely judged me and wrote me off as annoying, even if they didn’t know that that’s what they were doing at the time. Now, let me be clear that I hold no disdain or resentment toward any of my middle school peers. In fact, after our years schooling together and having entered adulthood, I have seen some of those relationships strengthen and I really look to the lot of them fondly. None of those peers were tyrants in anyway. They just didn’t know what they were doing and didn’t understand the ramifications of their actions.

Nonetheless, I live and breathe today with the feeling that I am not quite accepted. This feeling followed me into highschool, where it manifested itself in the way I related to those peers. The same feeling followed me and manifested its way into my experiences in college as well. It seems as though few tried to dig beneath the skin of who I am, but merely acknowledged my social quirks as displeasant and moved on as if that was all there was about me. Sadly, this was all within the Christian context. If Christians couldn’t accept me, how could I be sure Christ would? I now feel as if this was an undergirding issue for me all along, and now it’s come to light.

My first impression of these words is that I must have been in a negative headspace during their composition. A second impression is I can still relate to the struggle of feeling accepted by God, but I have grown in my experience of God’s love for me as I have exercised communion with Him. I have received affirmation time and again of God’s acceptance of me. This hasn’t come in some loud, thunderous way, but in subtle, gentle ways, deep in my soul.

That last part being said, I have to say, though the exercise of communing with God is a discipline of the believer, my resultant growth is a product of God’s fellow communing with me. I cannot take the credit for ongoing change in me. I cannot say that I have truly done anything to influence this change, if I look back.

All I can do is reflect on where I was and where I am and give God the credit for the difference.

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