One of the biggest struggles in my faith journey has been the times that I felt distant from, or separated from God. And while in my head I know we have all been there, in my heart I have struggled with the feeling that some how I have fallen short of God’s expectations of me.
Falling short of expectations is not something I take well and if you have read this blog before then you have heard me say before that guilt has been a powerful force in my life. Letting people down, or not living up to expectations can sometimes leave me feeling completely overwhelmed by guilt. I often find that my guilt is most profound in situations when I don’t feel as if I am being a “good” person.
I live with my heart on my sleeve, but sometimes that means I can’t pretend not to be angry, frustrated, hurt.
The point I am not doing very well at getting around too, is that all to often I have brought that same sense of guilt and shame into my relationship with God. I took a break from writing this blog in December just to spend some time in my own head and heart. I wanted to make sure I was focused on my relationship with God. And it was during that time, that God helped me to realize, that in those times when I am feeling down or less than perfect…in those times I feel as if I have failed Him and His purpose for my life…he hasn’t abandoned me. HE HASN’T ABANDONED ME! I put that in caps because it’s important.
So in those times when I feel as if I have failed God, when I feel guilt, I start to self-talk. I tell myself that he has withdrawn from me. He has pulled away because I am unworthy. I feel as if I have to prove that I’m good in order for him to forgive me and let me back into his graces again. I have to earn his forgiveness.
But this holiday season…this is when I had my epiphany. This time of rest and reflection, this period of “holy-days” was the quiet I needed to hear God tell me that he is always there. That his love is always there. That his forgiveness is always there and it isn’t something that has to be earned…it’s freely given. God has never abandoned me, it is I who pull away from his love…because I don’t feel worthy.
That is the message I want you to take from this today. I want you to know that when you feel far from God…it is not because God is far from you.
Trust in the Lord. He is always faithful. He will NEVER abandon you and his forgiveness is freely given.
“Do not be weighed down with problems or with unresolved issues, for I am your burden bearer. I have conquered the world for you.” Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or scared of them; for the Lord your God himself is who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6