One major turning point in my journey occurred during a sixteen week healing care group. As we explored wounds and what we do to protect ourselves, I recognized that I used religion as an escape from the pain I experienced. Without realizing it, I believed the lie that if my behavior was good and my life was cloaked in scripture and all things religious, then I would be acceptable. I believed I could perform well enough to receive approval from God, my parents, my friends, my neighbors – anyone with whom I crossed paths.
So my mind was in constant turmoil because I was participating in the world’s way of finding fulfillment for my core longings. I didn’t depend on God’s love for me, but on my good behavior. You see, I believed that my goodness obligated God to accept and love me. But I struggled to embrace the truth that God loved me without any of my good works.
I remember the morning after I made this realization. I was journaling my discovering and exploring what it might mean if I let religious obligation fall to the side. What would happen? I decided to live on the edge and see! I laid it all down that morning as I sat on my deck in the morning sun. I let go of religious obligation and good behavior and anything else that I counted on to make me acceptable to God and others.
Oh, the joy and weightlessness I felt in that moment! The constant whirring inside my head came to a halt. Deep peace and overwhelming unconditional love flooded my heart and mind. For the first time in my memory, I didn’t think about anything. Scripture came alive in a way I hadn’t experienced prior to that moment. I understood what Paul meant when he said:
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.Philippians 3:9
The call to holy living took on whole new meaning to me. No longer did I love and forgive others to gain God’s favor. I already had that! I did it to set others free and to be free myself. I did it because God loves me, not to earn his love.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.Colossians 3:12-15
My wounds no longer reduced me. The cracks and crevices were filled with God’s healing and they became part of my beauty. As time passes, I continue to experience healing. I grow stronger in the knowledge of God’s love for me. His wisdom guides me to the next best thing. I smile more – not just on the outside but on the inside too.
Are you ready for something different? Are you ready to experience “peace that exceeds anything we can understand?” Where will your help come from?