…reboot in progress.
I have a problem.
It’s one I’ve had since I was a young boy. A problem I’ve always known about, yet have failed to fully explore. There is really no one person or occurrence to which I can point the finger of blame. No, this problem is a by-product of my life.
I was born to a couple who had very little in common. She was 25, he was 50, and an age difference of 25 years were the least of the differences my parents had. My mom wore her heart on her sleeve. My dad was a man of little emotion, except for the times that alcohol took the proverbial wheel. My mom wanted the best for me, as most any loving mother would. My dad seemed as though he did not care about the future — he lived for the here and now. My mom taught me to cook, to clean, to care, and to always stand up for myself. My dad taught me nothing of value — at least not directly.
The relationships that I had with my parents were rather skewed. Emotions that should have been shared were squelched instead. Emotions that had no place being expressed to a child were exclaimed throughout the entire house. With my dad, actions that should never take place were common place.
I just want to be loved…to be accepted. I’m your son, you know.
Looking back, I see my dad, and I have no clear memory of him expressing fatherly love to me. On occasion, the alcohol would take over and with his eyelids half shut, clouded by cigarette smoke, he would tell me he loved me. Yet, my mind would go back to him holding a shotgun over my 5-year-old body as my mom held me tightly, screaming for help. I would remember cleaning up both my dad and his vomit, only to be told that it never happened. He would tell me he loved me, but I never saw it, never felt it … as though his “love” for me never existed. Even in 2004 (the last time I saw him) he told me I was still the same fat “kid” I was when I lived at home and expressed his severe doubt that I would ever make anything of myself. He died a year later.
Now, as I see my third decade of life on the horizon, I look back over my life and realize that I’m still trying to gain that love, that acceptance. I tried throughout elementary school. I tried throughout middle/junior-high school. I tried through my high school years.
I’m still trying.
The problem that I have is that I try, either directly or covertly, to “help” people like me, to “help” people accept me, or to “give” people some sort of reason to love me. This is a flaw. This is not how love works, not true love, at least. This would not be such a big deal normally — however, I’ve transposed it into a spiritual issue. Yet, not in the way one might initially think. I’m not trying to make God love me. I know this to be futile. God’s love for anyone is based on His grace and His grace alone.
Finally! I’ve found the love and acceptance I’ve longed for all these years!
Not quite. You see, I fully believe that God loves me. I fully believe that I am acceptable to Him. I believe all of these things based on the truth of His word — yet, I only believe them with my head. My heart, my emotions, they refuse to let me fully embrace these truths. It’s almost as though my heart is saying to my Creator, “No. You don’t love me. There’s no way,” and with that, I write-off the idea of God’s love — of my Father’s love for me.
A few years ago, my wife and I were working on growing closer, communicating better, and understanding each other more than we did at that time. Angela asked me, “Do you know, fully know, that I will love you no matter what?” I answered her with honesty, not with what I knew she wanted to hear…
No. I don’t know what it is to have that assurance. I don’t know how that feels.
Years and years of a deep, aching yearning to have acceptance and love with no conditions. Yet, when I finally am given these things, I refuse to believe that they are real. It’s not my wife’s fault. She has expressed and lived-out unconditional love on countless occasions. It’s not my dad’s fault, as it was not his role to love me unconditionally — and if it was, he was a flawed human being who failed like so many others (including myself).
No, this is my problem. It’s one I hope to, one day, see solved. My heart still needs a lot of work, and while my gut tells me that the Holy Spirit is continually tending to that — my head, my flesh, screams obscene doubts and instills fear.
The truth is this, however: even if I live a full life and die an old age, my problem may never be solved. Yet, even if it isn’t, it is my lot. God’s nature does not change, He does not falter, and the love that flows from Him is true and firm. No-matter-what.
So we made it to Franklin. Now what?
For me, it’s busy time. The very day after we moved, I got a phone call informing me that I was assigned to fly to Texas for the week. That didn’t work out as planned, but I was still gone for the entire week. The two weeks after that found me out of state as well.
By the end of the month, I had maybe five days in my new home. The rest were spent on the road or flying the friendly skies. I enjoyed it, but it made it difficult to adjust to our new home and situation. However, I’ve had a few days at home now and I am trying to get caught up on a couple of things that I am very behind on.
Life at home is great. Life for our daughter is grand. Life on the road is a huge adjustment for me, seeing as how I’ve spent the last 5 years working in education. Life in the church had us a bit concerned, but God provided a wonderful spot with wonderful people and it looks like we’re settling in there quite nicely.
So the question remains — now what? What does this new chapter of our lives hold for us? Time will tell.
For now, know that I am among the living and am trying my hardest to get back up to speed inside the series of tubes we call, the Internet. Hopefully, I will be able to share more about our new home, new friends, and a little bit about my new job.
Why is it that I always want to sing the theme song to The Jeffersons when I am talking about moving? I guess it’s a weakness I have. I didn’t even watch the show all that much as a child. Anyway, I digress…
I bring that up because me and my family are moving. For the first time since we’ve been a couple, my wife and I will be living away from our family and everything else that we have known as “home” for over 10 years. We were both born here in the Huntsville, AL area. My wife has lived here for all but 2 of her years and I have spent the majority of my life here as well. However, a few weeks ago, God began working in our lives and on our hearts to prepare us for a move. A big move. An Abram-esque move. How so? It went like this…and I paraphrase here:
Me: Okay. To Nashville?
God: Yes. Go.
Me: Okay. But, what about jobs, place to live…and, um, money?
So, we’re going. I quit my job of 5 years and, yes, I’ve got things lined up. However, nothing is concrete yet. The only thing that is for sure is the fact that we are moving. Our landlord is letting us out of lease without penalty. We’re going tomorrow to find a place to live, get new phones, and see about school and church in the area.
We’re all very excited about the new things this will bring into our lives. Yet, we’re not uneasy about much of it. We know that God is in this and as long as we depend on Him and put our trust in Him, we will not be forsaken. I told my mom tonight that, were God not all over this, it would be one of the more stupid things I’ve done in my life. Yet, with God as the one behind all of this, it makes it an amazing demonstration of His love, mercy, grace, and sovereignty.
So, tomorrow, a new adventure begins — and if you read this, please pray for the details and wrinkles to get worked out so we don’t run into road blocks and that nothing will keep us from following God throughout all of this (our flesh included). Here is what we need, specifically speaking, to happen in the next few days:
- to find and nail down a place to live
- to get the utilities, phone, etc. established
- to decide on our daughter’s school
- God to work on my employment and the lack of security in the meantime
I will try to share more details in the coming days. Thank you all.
John Piper says, “To get justification right is a matter of eternal life and death. I want Jesus Christ to get the glory for being all that he is for me and my salvation. Not part of it. Not just blood covering my sin, but righteousness providing my righteousness.”
Today, the thought occurred to me that the one and only John Piper should weigh at least 400lbs., if not more. I don’t get it, though. To look at him, the man can’t weigh more than a buck fifteen, soaking wet.
Why would I expect him to be morbidly obese? Why, I’m glad you asked.
Today, like so many other days in recent history, John Piper ate my lunch. Plus, I am almost positive that I’m not the only one he’s done this to, either. So how is it that this bad man doesn’t weigh 400lbs. by now?
Because, when it comes down to it, John Piper is not the one “eating my lunch.” It’s the Holy Spirit through John Piper. That very thing happened this morning while listening to Piper’s sermon, “Songs That Shape the Heart and Mind.” Piper makes clear God’s purpose for passing down these holy songs and stresses their importance (along with the rest of Scripture) in the lives of believers.
I encourage you to go read / listen to this sermon for yourself. It was certainly impacting to me.
In the meantime, I pray that I continue to have my lunch eaten, if you will, by the Holy Spirit — through both John Piper and John Owen.