Recently I’ve gotten into watching the TV series Once Upon a Time. The series takes place in a small town called Storybrooke, Maine. The Evil Queen from Snow White has cursed all of the fairy tale creatures to live in our land, and no one can remember their real identity. When Emma Swan comes into town (daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming), she is the only one who can break the curse, as she is the product of true love.
The program bounces between present time and backstory of all the characters as they begin to remember who they really are. Snow White and Prince Charming claim most of the focus, and though their love story doesn’t happen nearly as easily as the Disney movie told us, there’s a line they say to each other that got to me: “I will find you. I will always find you.”
Jesus does the same thing for us. He always finds us, always pulls us out of our muck and mess, and sets us back on a firm place.
That’s a good reminder, because I haven’t quite felt like myself these last few weeks. I’ve been hiding behind walls and trying too hard to prove myself. I didn’t realize that at first. My endless circle of thoughts was driving me crazy and I couldn’t get a grip on them. Once again, I felt like I was failing, I wasn’t measuring up, and I needed to get control. I needed to prove myself as being worthy.
I’d locked myself in the tightrope mindset again–the one that says I need to do this right because if I slip and fall (or fail), I won’t be in the Lord’s will anymore.
That’s a hard place to be because I’ve been questioning almost everything in the way of how I spend my time and how I handle these thoughts. Jesus has been urging me to rest, to just let go. Sometimes there are things where He is very clear about what I should or shouldn’t do. But most of the time, things are a little gray. It’s my choice.
I struggle with this whole free will thing. I want to do things right and I want God to tell me what that right thing is no matter what choice I’m facing. (On my worst days I’ve even stood in front of the refrigerator asking the Lord, “Which one is the right choice for dinner: the pizza or the pasta?” Seriously…it’s bad…) I’m so afraid of screwing up, that I’ve shoved myself in this box and have abandoned the freedom He’s given me.
But last night Jesus gave me the key.
The beginning of Psalm 121 was running through my head, so I decided to look up the rest of the passage:
I lift my eyes to the hills,
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber no sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day;
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
You know what I saw in those words? The Lord is on my side. He fights for me. He always does and always will.
My view of Jesus got tweaked somewhere along the way. I saw Him as a taskmaster I had to please or suffer the consequences of his displeasure. And because of that, my view of myself has gotten pretty screwed up too.
Jesus is the great giver of grace and love, and I will never lose those things because they are gifts freely given. I have been baptized in them; I don’t have to earn them, nor could I ever if I was required to. He knows my heart. He knows all of this back and forth, and beating myself up, and living in fear is just me trying to please Him. He also knows what just what to say to remind me of the truth of how he really sees me.
You are worth it.
Jesus calls me worth it!
He says I am worth every sacrifice He’s made. I am worth all the time and effort He has put into shaping me. I am worth the pain and agony He’s endured. I’m worth all the chasing He’s been doing with me lately.
I am worth it. All of it! Every bit of effort and love on His part.
Jesus, I am once again so in awe of your love. You let me walk through all of this spinning, and you go with me, reminding me who you are and who I am . You see me the way I truly am, beneath all the trying and fear, you see the good and you see the true heart you created. And you keep pursuing. You always pursue.
You are my help.
You are forever on my side.
And you continue to work in mysterious ways.
I’m never too far gone, never out of your reach.
You’ll always find me.
You’ll always pull me up and remind me that I am your child–covered, chosen, cared for beyond measure.