In the swirl of your new life with the Father, the next awakening may feel more like a step backward than a step forward. God is offering you something you want and need—a welcome home. But something inside you may want to resist. Being welcomed home by your heavenly Father and received into the family—no questions asked—may seem totally unrealistic for someone who has wandered so far and so long.
We call this stage of your journey your awakening to love. At this point, we start by saying, “I don’t deserve this.” God’s acceptance is just too unbelievable. But what God says and does is so entirely opposite of what we think we deserve that we are moved to the most amazing realization: “God loves me deeply after all.”
You can see why we say that a spiritual tug of war accompanies our homecoming. We have one set of convictions about ourselves, and God has another. We look at our past filled with failure and shame, and he looks at who we are with love and compassion.
That’s why this awakening is a huge breakthrough. We are realizing, perhaps for the first time, that none of us deserve a second chance, none of us deserve to be forgiven, and we certainly don’t deserve to be loved unconditionally. But we are! You are! You don’t deserve it, but God gives it to you anyway.
If you’re like most of us, you know all about the soundtrack of shame. Shame whispers, “You don’t really matter” and “You are not lovable.” Shame shouts, “No more chances for you!” Shame brings self-condemnation, and when we first encounter grace, we find ourselves repeating, “I don’t deserve this.”
Do not let your past mistakes and failures define you. That is the voice of shame. You aren’t what you’ve done or not done. You are not what’s been done to you. You are who God says you are. His child.
Do you feel a spiritual tug of war going on inside you? If so, how would you describe it?
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
– Jeremiah 31:3 KJV