Clearly life is not and will not always be a joy ride. Jesus even told us that.
Yet, thankfully, there are joyous moments and occasions we can share and experience, and with God, we know this joy is everlasting.
For me, I have often felt like a mangy mutt, who had been beat down, and kept locked in a cage.
In my life from early on, there was a sense of inadequacy, as if something was lacking within me. There are a lot of reasons for this I have come to realize, and as I heal, more rise to the surface, but a prevailing truth is I made agreements with lies about myself.
I agreed to believe, I was different, socially awkward, shy, insecure, awkward, hyper, introverted, and the list goes on.
Well, one can quickly see the “cage” this constructs, and how one can feel beat down and uncomfortable with oneself and others.
The other side of this coin breeds rebellion, or at least it did for me. Rebellion within to not let anyone see what I believed to be true about myself. So this creates an unhealthy desire for approval, as a measuring stick to self value.
This meant working myself into a frenzy to excel at whatever I took on, because I was convinced winners and high achievers are celebrated, and when you can appear to need no one, you can better charm all with a sense of duty and splashes of charisma. Though it may be lacking in sincerity, it’s useful in keeping everyone at a safe distance and to see what you what them to see so that they won’t see the “real” you.
All this effort to garner approvals while at the same time maintaining a “safe” distance causes you lose yourself in a false narrative. You don’t know who your true self even is. You spend so long believing lies internally, yet putting on a show externally you become hollow, and empty inside, despite any successes achieved. Nothing fills the void, or heals the sorrows, pains, wounds, and harms inflicted to self and others.
It’s so easy to cast blame for this, but that’s not well either. For we all are born into a fallen world, where even the best people fail, wound, and stumble.
The good news is Jesus came for all of us who are so lost, and weary. He knows exactly, and has exactly what we need to be healed and to discover our true selves – His truth and love.
His is a perfect love, without flaw, without condemnation, without shame, and filled with honor, goodness, and joy.
We are told in Psalm 119:68 that God is good, and does only good. The question is do we choose to believe this fully? Do we trust it? Trust Him?
I have discovered that although, I have felt like a mangy dog, beaten down and locked in a cage, the cage door has been opened. And Jesus stands in front of the open door and calls to me – and as I slowly exit the cage in response to His kind voice and words, I soon find Him bathing me clean, feeding me, and caring for me.
Before long, the mange is gone, and new fluffy fur grows in covering all my prior wounds, and I am a new pup full of life, with a wagging tail, and jumping up and down with excitement as my Father surrounds me with His love.
As a result, I can’t help but bounce around and tell others about His goodness and kindness.
Though there are still people out there holding sticks, my Father is greater than the abusers, and although there is still hardship, my Father doesn’t abandon me, and although I still get dirty, my Father, is always there to feed me and keep me clean.
As a man, I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with His endless love and goodness, and though I feel unworthy at times, He constantly reminds me of the truth.
His love seems supernatural because it is, and He offers it to all who trust Him, come to Him, and allow His love to heal us. We then get to abound in a new life, discover our true self, learn our true value, and live out our true calling in the freedom of knowing we are His dearly beloved. A true joy ride!