Today as I looked out my office window at the roaring blizzard that has settled upon Colorado Springs, the voice of my heart screamed out: “How could you build a church into the thousands and then lose it all? You are such an idiot! You are worthless!” Tears filled my eyes, loneliness crept in, darkness spread across my heart. The Holy Spirit reminded me of a passage from a little book I read a couple of years ago, Life of the Beloved, written by a catholic priest. I looked it up.
You are beloved…It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout, ‘You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless; you are despicable, you are nobody—unless you can demonstrate the opposite. These negative voices are so loud and persistent that it is easy to believe them. That’s the great trap. The trap of self-rejection. Over the years I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection…When we come to believe the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions…Being the beloved is the core truth of our existence.
Being beloved is the core identity of our existence! When I first read those words two years ago, at the lowest valley of my life, it was sparkling refreshing water to my beaten down famished heart. For one who’s very existence had been defined by outward achievements, my heart came alive with faith and expectation as I shouted out, “I am beloved! I am beloved! I am loved by Jesus Christ!” That day was the beginning of a new paradigm of success.
But today, I was overwhelmed again with that dark voice of the soul and the agony of betrayal. I could feel the gall of bitterness rising up in my heart. This time God reminded me of these words of the Apostle Paul, found in Galatians 2:20 as expressed in The Message,
I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Paul looked so unflinchingly at himself, others, and the world through the eyes of Jesus, that his ego became that of Christ. His core identity was Christ. The love of Christ buoyed every thought and was the plumbline of success in his life. Didymus of Alexandria once said, “Paul was full of Christ.” Intimacy with Christ, identity of the cross, and the intention to gaze upon the crucified Christ was the vision of Paul.
Today, I meditated on this. This weekend is Good Friday and Easter. As I contemplated my cross to bear, I chose to gaze upon His cross borne for my shame, my loneliness, my sin, and my feelings of worthlessness. I took my eyes off of me and looked at Him. Christ crucified. Christ risen. Christ exalted. And my heart was renewed with joy, hope, and a desire to trust again. I pray that for each of you.
On the Road,