Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tired of Running

In the 2nd grade, there was a girl named Lucy who really liked me. I did not share the same feelings for her. She annoyed me, or at least bothered me daily. She didn't get the message that I wanted her to leave me alone - or she ignored it. :)

One day on the playground she was chasing me around. I was determined not to let her catch me. I was pretty fast! While running from her this particular day, I tripped on something and fell to the ground. Hot on my trail was Lucy, and the next thing I know she jumped on me. Then, to make matters worse, she kissed me! It was a quick peck but she still kissed me.

I had to admit at the time that I wasn't too bothered by it. I may have even liked it. Strangely, if I remember correctly, I stopped being irritated by her, and we became friends - in a 2nd grade sort of way. All she wanted to do was to show me how much she liked me. It worked.

Interestingly, Lucy represents what became a pattern in my life of "running." I carried shame around like a bad habit; like a disease that wouldn't go away. Even as a small child. I had trouble letting others love me and tended to "run" from them. I kept myself emotionally distant and only offered bits and pieces of myself.

When I got to college, Amy pursued me as Lucy did. How did I respond? I "ran" in many ways, at least for a while. The same year I met Amy was the year I gave my life to Christ. On November 17, 1993 I asked God to change my life, and I surrendered to Him. Stan Feener led me to the Lord that night after Bible study. It was a very powerful experience that set me free in many ways.

Even with Amy showing me so much love and affection, and feeling God's love like never before, I still held on to deep shame, particularly regarding sexual purity and self-hatred. I had many great traits and was well liked by many, but I also had an "edge" about me that could rub people the wrong way. I felt powerless to change that about myself.

I still wonder why I held on to shame for so long. Why didn't I let the love of Christ and Amy free me and help me let go? Why did it take such a tragedy to finally lay down my chains of shame and let their love capture me? I wish I could answer those questions. I suppose shame is that powerful.

When I chose to betray God and Amy, which I never wish would happened, it tripped me up in a major way. Instead of being trampled and crushed like I deserved, God's love "jumped" on top of me and embraced me. Then, Amy demonstrated "Jesus in the flesh" and loved me even still.

It is this kind of love that has set me free. I am tired of running. Shame has to go. I no longer want to surrender to it. Instead, I want to surrender to God's love. It is a daily choice I must make. My wife and three amazing kids deserve my best. With God's help, that's what I want to give them.

Thank you, my beloved bride, for choosing to love me when I was at my worst. You are amazing....

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