What It’s All About

A few days ago I was in a class, where the teacher talked about relationships and love. He shared on how the famous 10 commandments in the Old Testament are all about relationship – with God and with people. 

So often, we tend to look at what God/Jesus is saying as commandments to follow, rules to obey, when all along, they’re of a relational nature. God is telling us what He cares about; giving us a piece of His heart. 

We proceeded to look at what we need and also need to give others, in order to be loved/love them: 

Grace and compassion

Time and attention

Identity and value 

Etc.. 

And it really struck me how it is important for God that I listen to Him and care about what He has to say. Just like with any other friend. No, it’s not like I haven’t taken time to listen to Him before, or that I don’t treasure what He tells me, but I’ve never thought of it quite this way before. Giving God time and attention isn’t just a wise thing to do for your own sake. It’s something that really touches God Himself. 

We went on to look at Matthew 22:36-40: 

Teacher, (Jesus) which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (NIV) 

There are three things I have to say about this passage today: 

1) Clearly, it matters a lot to God that we love Him! To break it down a little bit; when we love someone, we care about them, we want to listen to and spend time with them, we think about how we affect that someone with our words and actions, we trust them, etc. 

2) When Jesus speaks of the Law and the Prophets, He’s basically talking about all the commandments found in the Old Testament. What are they all rooted in? Loving God, your neighbor (other people) and yourself. “Get” love (relationships), and you don’t have to worry about any other commandments. They all spring out of love anyway. 

3) Yes, I knew this passage commands us to love God and others. I also knew that we need to love ourselves, for our own sake, but also in order to truly love others. A fresh revelation for me this week was this: We are commanded to love ourselves! 

As the song goes: 

All we need is love. 

 

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Powerful Laughter versus Ridiculous Lies

The other night, Melissa (one of my housemates) and I, were hanging out in the kitchen, and she started reading some declarations* by Steve Backlund that were posted on one of the walls there. 

Such as: 

I live under supernatural protection!” 

I prosper in all my relationships!

In Jesus, I am 100 % loved and worthy to experience all of God’s blessings!” 

As Melissa and I read one of them out loud, she realized one of the lies she’s been believing about herself, and replaced it with the truth. 

On a whim, I asked her: 

So, have you heard any good lies lately?” 

I proceeded to tell her some good ones myself: 

 “I will never see breakthrough in my family!

I have to be perfect to be lovable!

Not long after we were on the floor laughing so hard..

Lies are so ridiculous once you say them out loud! Here are some of them: 

Since I made a mistake, I am a mistake!” 

I am only loved for what I do, not for who I am!” 

I will never get married!” 

I am not a good leader!” 

I will always be in debt!” 

I am stuck in a bad cycle and I will never get out of it!” 

Funny thing, we didn’t even have to replace these lies with words of truth…

because as we spoke them out loud, we couldn’t help but laugh at them. 

The joy and hope in our laughter consumed the lies. 

 

Happy Friday! 😀 

 

*Declarations. Every day we declare truths or lies over ourselves, knowingly or unknowingly. 

Negative: 

“I’m such a klutz”

“I will never learn this.. !”

“No one wants to hang out with me..” 

or positive: 

“I can do this!” 

“I am a talented writer.” 

“I look great!” 

Declarations, whether positive or negative, are powerful. What you declare over yourself, will have its effect, for good or for bad. 

How To Kill Shame

In my last post, Community 101, I talked about what I believe are some of the necessities of healthy community. One of the words I simply threw out there was ‘vulnerability‘. Just like that.

For most of us being told to be vulnerable, we might as well be told to jump out of a an airplane without any gear, and just hope for the best..

Sadly, I know so many of us have opened up and been vulnerable in the past, only to feel as if something in us died or was left seriously wounded through that encounter. 

Still, I believe that instead of retreating from vulnerability, the antidote is actually to embrace it. And yes, that might look like a simple handshake with vulnerability at first.  

Why are we so afraid of being vulnerable? One word: SHAME

This is important to know; Shame is something we all feel, and have to deal with in life.

No one’s exempt from it! 

This is something I’ve realized more and more this past year.

I’ve discovered how I can feel ashamed about this and that; sometimes really small, meaningless issues; other times quite serious issues. Here’s a quite simple one:

I’ve felt ashamed about taking a day off once in a while to fully rest. I’ve felt ashamed about sleeping in on those days. 

Once I understood I was actually feeling shame, I decided to open up to some trusted friends about what I was feeling. You see, once I told them about it, shame couldn’t survive. Together with my friends, we laughed at the lies I had picked up somewhere along the road, and instead replaced them with truth about myself and the situation. 

In this case, the lie was that I had to do something productive and valuable all the time to be worthy of love. And getting enough sleep and rest is not productive and valuable! (..) 

The truth is that what I do or don’t do does not determine whether or not I am worthy of love. The truth is that I am lovable. And I am, like everyone else, created with a need for rest and sleep. 

To clarify, there’s a difference between guilt and shame: 

Guilt: I did something bad.

Shame: I am bad. 

So, I’m not saying I never ever did something bad. And whenever that has happened, feeling guilty about it is not a bad thing. It convicts me and I can clean up my mess, and will also try to avoid doing the same again. 

Shame, however, attacks me as a person. “If I am bad, I am not worthy of love.” 

Shame unspoken keeps us from opening up, because it will show others just how bad we are, and how we cannot be loved. Most of us would rather go on and hide with our shame than risking being found out. The price seems too high. It’s about our worthiness!

The lie is, what you’ve done has made you unworthy of love. Therefore, you can never share this with anyone. You made a mistake and it now defines who you are. You are unlovable. 

The truth is, no matter what you have done, you are worthy of love. Therefore, you don’t have to hide who you are from anyone. You made a mistake, but that doesn’t mean you are one! You are lovable! 

How to kill shame? 

Talk about it. Expose any lies. Declare the truth. 

Be vulnerable.