The hardness comes. Maybe you didn’t see it coming but now you’re wearing it. As if the callus on your heart is somehow visible on your face. It’s in your eyes and even in your laugh.
Maybe you’ve made mistakes. Done wrong things. Things that you don’t want anyone to know about…especially those that you love or want to make proud. Or maybe you’ve pulled away and just can’t seem to reconnect.
So you hide. Disappear so that nobody notices. You’ve hidden yourself away like a turtle pulls into his shell but live as though you were abandoned. Who even cares anymore?
If they even knew what I did they’d never want to see me anyway.
So you run further. Your mind pulls you further and further from the truth, from love. You begin to believe the lies you tell yourself.
It’s their fault. It’s his fault. Her fault. This is my life, I can do whatever I want. I’ll start over one day. I’ll get clean one day. It’ll be easier when… I have plenty of time. No one cares what I do. Screw them. They never accepted me for who I am.
You roll in this garbage for a while. Dirt gets ground in, you get burrs in your hair and they get matted in. There’s a hardness to you that you don’t even notice anymore.
The worst part are the days you trick yourself into thinking you’re happy. Or when you laugh out loud at something funny then hear the echo of loneliness that comes from the sound of your own laughter.
It’s hollow, empty, lacking joy. You see without hope, without joy — a smile is just a mask.
The heaviness of these illusions weigh on you. It feels like quicksand just drawing you in deeper. This is so real to you that you can’t imagine any other life.
You look at what you had, what you ran from…you thought you were chasing something better, more fulfilling but all it has done is steal from you.
There are days that you’re so disgusted with yourself it’s hard to imagine that anyone on the planet would want to be around you; want to help you, want to love you. Much less God.
How many times have you said, “I mean it this time. I’m giving you my life. Give me another chance. God I love you more than anything…”
No! You can’t ask again! Can you? No, no…you just can’t… He won’t want you and you’re not even sure that you want Him. Where has He been? Why did He let you go?
You’re lost and not sure you can be found or even want to be.
He’s impossible to please. Ugh…it is exhausting trying to be perfect enough just to get His attention. He’ll let me down like all those other people did. Why should I trust Him?
Listen to me. Because, He’s not people. And you’ve got Him all wrong.
He just wants to know you and be known by you. Really, He just wants to hang out with you. He’s not worried about 5 or 10 years from now. He just wants to know you.
He doesn’t need you to be perfect. He’s got perfect covered so you — you can just get over yourself. You can just breathe and be imperfect.
He is trustworthy. He is constant. He is good. He has room in His heart for who you really are, who you think you are and who He knows you are.
He doesn’t promise a perfect life or an easy one. But He does promise that He’ll be WITH you. Always.
This Jesus is not squeamish. He isn’t intimidated by anything. There is nothing under the sun that would keep Him from receiving you.
In fact He’s already received you. His arms are wide open – this is His posture toward you. Open arms. Just waiting for you to accept Him freely.
He doesn’t need or want you to “clean up” your life. Or fix your mistakes. Or get better…
He just wants to know you. Well, maybe a little more than that…He can’t wait to show you His loving-kindness.
As you lean into knowing Him and letting Him know you, as you look for Him to be WITH you and learn to trust that He won’t leave you…you’ll notice that the ugliness, the hardness is fading fast.
The burrs are combed out, the dirt is gone…did you just go through a car wash or something?
The hollowness from your laugh is gone and you’re finding that you feel real joy. Is that hope you’re breathing in? And why do you smile when no one is around?
Do you need help? He’ll help you. Do you need strength? He’s got that in spades. Is your life a mess? Actually, He’s pretty good with cleaning up messes. You want to run and hide? Be hidden in Him. He’s got that covered too.
He is trustworthy. He is constant. He is good.
Your life is not too much for Him. It’s what He’s been waiting for all along.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. // 1 Corinthians 5:17
It might seem like a silly thing…a dog makeover. But there’s beauty in it. He’ll take you right where you’re at. Calluses, burrs and all — He can handle it. If you’ll just trust yourself into His capable hands, he’ll take it from there.
And friend, you are worth it.