Relentless Pursuit

"Relentless Pursuit"

These were the words I found coming out of my mouth during a marathon four hour coffee catch up the other week (that didn't feel anywhere near that long!).

The discussion was about aspects of both our lives, and also encompassed someone passing who was encouraged by the snippets she heard of our conversation. As she shared the way God had broken into her life, had pursued her, I was encouraged with the affirmation that what He did for her, what He has done for me, what He has done for my friend, He can and will do for our loved ones and others, whether they seek Him or not.

The theme of Father God's pursuit of us has been recurring for me more recently and it continues to cry out for further reflection. It has been presented to me in song, in sermon and in what I have been reading on a number of fronts. 

However,it can be so easy for us to think our relationship with God is all about us, about our efforts. WE must spend more time praying, more time worshipping, more time reading the Word. WE must pursue God. And despite best efforts and beliefs otherwise, so many messages we hear from pulpits and every other media can reinforce this: If you want to be closer to God, then you need to do this; you should do that; you must do the other. And it's exhausting!

How much more restful would it be if we realised that so many of our problems in our relationship with God are not about what we should do more of, but what we should stop doing?

If we stopped believing that we are unacceptable to God, or unworthy of His love, how would that look?

If we stopped believing that we are responsible for making ourselves more Christlike to be acceptable to God, and recognised that Jesus has come to dwell in us through His Spirit, that His indwelling is the only mark of acceptability we need, what would be different in us?

If we stopped holding onto all the "Christian sanctioned" false humilities of thinking less of ourselves and minimalising our importance, gifts and dreams, where could we go?

If we stopped trying to hide all our imperfections, sin and brokenness from God, and faced Him with them, what new freedoms would we find?

I am so painfully aware of my own tendency to fall back into that pattern of thinking that I must be the relentless one, that I must chase God with all my being to not miss out, to catch up to where He is at, to where I "should" be. Instead, it is time to stop; time to rest; and time to remember that it is He who pursued me from the start and that it is He who continues to pursue me today. 

Faulty Lenses

Photo: (C) Ruth Embery

As I sat to have some quiet space with God, the first thing that came to my attention was a tall gum tree in the middle distance of my view. As I asked Father God what He wanted to say to me, I felt the question come back: What do you notice about this tree, what do you see?

Unpacking the implications and message contained in what I observed, I felt that God was showing me about myself. I found myself struggling to accept some of the aspects of it. However, a past conversation with God came to mind. It was a time He gently told me that I was not how I thought others saw me, but in truth, I was how He saw me, which was quite different.

Looking at the tree with clear eyes, I can see it how it really is: growing straight, strong and true, very healthy. However, if I was to put on a pair of ‘funny’ lenses, that were distorted in certain ways, the tree could appear bent, wobbly or even upside down. Although it may look like as though this was an accurate representation, it would be false.

The point is. if we view ourselves through the lenses of the world, through the way we receive messages from those around us, we are at risk of having a deformed view of who we are. Those lenses can distort our view of ourselves. Unfortunately, we tend to believe those messages as reality, as the truth.

To see ourselves truly, from God’s perspective we have to be willing to give Him the lenses the world has given us. Then we are ready to see without the distortion. This is not always easy. We can feel as though we are “thinking more of ourselves than we ought”. But this way of thinking also keeps us trapped and small.

I physically enacted out giving God my distorted lenses, and as I did, I saw them break up in His hands, turn to dust and dissolve. I then asked Him to tell me the truth of how He saw me and He gave me a number of words that I can embrace.

This was not something just for me, though. It is an activity open to any who choose. Are you ready to give up your distorted lenses so you can see yourself clearly through the eyes of your loving Father God?