Get your crap together!
A crude way to describe how most men feel about God and the way they view and relate to God. How many of the men you know might describe their functional view of God as: a morose and miserable monarch, a frustrated and petty parent, or a policeman on the prowl? (A description I dug out of a book by Dallas Willard). With that view of God, is it even possible to think God is delighted with us – today, right now – in my imperfection and failure?
Photo by Obed Hernández on Unsplash
If my view of God is like this, how do I appropriate a sense of joy and peace in the day to day? Again, the functional approach in my thinking was always – the delight and joy will come once I get these few things conquered or mastered so God will be pleased with me. Of course, this approach always meant I had to find a way to work harder on my failures and weaknesses. More discipline. More hard work. And if I was unsuccessful, well, it was because I just wasn’t trying hard enough, doing enough and so on.
Now this view of God has turned out to be false. I have learned there is an ego issue involved when I allow myself to believe I can manipulate God’s delight in me by my efforts at being good. My view of God was too small. And I wasn’t paying attention to what the scriptures was saying about his love for me. Thanks to some reading I have done, and to the hearts of some of the men I get to spend time with, I have come to see God in a different way.
What if the Father is already delighted in me? What if he is not holding back a portion of his love for me…waiting for me to finally get things right? That would mean I could begin to look at myself differently, wouldn’t it? If I would be willing to trust in that love I could begin to see my value and worthiness as an accomplished fact. If my worthiness is not a commodity to be negotiated (Brene Brown), but an established fact, I could stop chasing my validation and significance in everything I do. I could see myself differently.
In essence, I could make the effort to improve myself and overcome some of my weaknesses, because I want to. Because I am loved, not so that I will be loved. Because I do belong, not because I’m trying to belong. Then I would be making that effort out of desire, not out of duty. A better way.