“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
This quote rings resoundly within this heart of mine. It echoes and sings with a confidence that is not logical or reasonable by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m learning that I need to consciously aware of his solid and steadfast love that he has for me. I sometimes forget, and when I finally remember I shake my head, and look around in kind of a stunned silence. He loves me!
But I’m not the only one who is deeply loved. There are millions of others who are walking in this outrageous love. None are worthy; all have sinned. Those who are following are those who have renounced their feeble efforts at self-righteousness. It simply doesn’t work. (But sometimes it takes a while to work this out.)
I ask myself, “What if I got what I deserve?” And when I follow this ‘line-of-thought’ too far, I get a gnawing sense of doom– sort of a panicky fear. To get what I really deserve would be the most terrible thing I could ever know. For “I am the chief of sinners.” I believe my past sin would ‘drown’ most people, I suppose. I try to avoid this ‘religious anxiety’ as best I can. You can’t be ‘good enough’, but you can be ‘bad enough.’
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
My mental health can be fairly disruptive to my spiritual health. And I suppose at times I can be quite ‘trying’ to those closest to me. It can be frustrating (I’ve used up all my ‘get out of jail free’ cards.) But now my meds are working, and I have discovered that his grace is more than enough to hold me tight.
Jesus accepts me, receives me, loves me even if others can’t or won’t. I may be ‘defective’ to some, outcast by others, but I am never, ever alone. Jesus loves me– not for what I can do or how I function. He loves me unconditionally.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him”
1 John 3:1