An excerpt from the new book,  One Bloody Road: The Glorious Way of Discipleship:

“Ultimately, the emotional and relational dynamics of “growing up” overtake all of our relationships, especially the one we were created to have with our spiritual Father in heaven, where faith and a certain bewilderment are prerequisites.”

Chapter 4: Sonship and Circumcision

THAT YOUR JOY WOULD BE FULL

If there is one word that has been a constant in the dialogue of my heart with the Lord, it has been intimacy. For as long as I can remember walking with Jesus—since He freed my heart from sin and guilt—any time I have ever talked with Him or sought His wisdom or intervention in my life, it seems He’s always answered by inviting me to be more intimate with His presence.

For years it was as if this was a cordial standoff. I was locked in a staring contest which I knew I was not going to win, even if I’d resorted to all sorts of pranks and stunts to get God to flinch. Or, if I couldn’t get Him to flinch, I’d at least try to turn His attention to something else and not have to surrender. The thing is, with God, these sort of contests are never battles of ego. His winning never actually means we lose. But because my approach to people, to vulnerability, and intimacy is sometimes marred by insecurity, something in me feels the need to wrestle it out with God.

But with Him, love is pure. God’s approval and mercy was laid out on the cross of Calvary where Jesus’s death declared God would go to any length to see us healed and reconciled. I feared my weakness would disqualify me from His love. But His love is what envelopes our weakness and desires us to know His approval at any cost to Him.

Sometime in the spring of 2015, while our family was living as missionaries in Tanzania, I heard the voice of the Spirit gently lay an invitation out to me. I heard Him say, “That your joy would be full,” and in hearing this I had something of a picture in my heart of myself being held by the Lord with nothing needed to be said, no pretense, and in complete freedom. It caused my heart to pause. Fifteen years of following Him had been waiting for such an experience. There were places in me that had begun to doubt I would get there this side of heaven.

I spent time in that moment responding with a “yes” to the Lord. I worshiped and thanked Him for this invitation. I knew Him well enough to trust that He always delivers. All of the other pursuits I had substituted for responding to His intimacy were drying up. It seemed no accomplishment—in ministry, family, or my personal life—could produce results that satisfied my internal frustration and need to earn His approval any longer.

If I was able to produce results or stay busy, the lack of stillness in my heart at the same time did nothing but make my internal need that much more apparent. It was time to get to the root of the issue in my heart, and my eternal Daddy knew just how to get to there.

This post is part of a series titled, A Written Redemption: The Breaking of a Writer. (Links below)

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