Separation anxiety. It’s a term applied to children who fear separation from their mother. But I’ve been thinking lately about a different application.
I’ve found myself on a purposeful mission to dive and in and attempt to understand God’s grace lately. It’s turning me inside out to be honest. You see, I’ve been struggling for a while. All of my weaknesses and shortcomings take turns rising up and battering my faith and place in Christ. The struggle is real.
So I am turning to the message of grace to help me understand where I am and who I am. I ‘understand’ what grace is. It’s unmerited favor. It’s getting what you don’t deserve. It’s not getting what you do deserve. I understand that fundamentally.
I even understand that my entire Salvation rests on it. 100%. Nothing I do can add anything to that Salvation. It’s purely at the grace and pleasure of God. So what’s the hang-up?
I am beginning to see that many Christians are in the same boat as I am. We understand the concept of grace, but we live in fear or defeat. We are too proud to accept that we are powerless to save our own souls. We are too broken and dysfunctional in spirit to accept that God’s love is not conditional. Oh I know we can say that God loves unconditionally. But in our hearts and in our minds, we are still ascribing our own human conditions of love on God. We think He is angry with us because we had too much to drink the night before. Or because we didn’t pray yesterday. Or because we told another white lie. Or because we walked past the homeless man and looked the other way… again. So, like Adam when he discovered that he was naked, we shame ourselves away from Him. Our fellowship with God is strained and we withdraw into the shadows and hope He will accept us again if we do better.
Even in my prayer life I find myself hesitating to ask God for things because I’m a sinner. Why should He help me when I am disobedient?
I’m trying to learn to accept and live in His Grace. Not because I want to embrace a free pass on all of my shortcomings. It’s because there is NO other way for my relationship with Him to grow. No other way. The love of God IS unconditional. It’s also not earnable. It is His grace.
So it is never God who separates Himself from our relationship. It is us. It is me. I have to learn to live in His grace and let that love transform my heart and my life. The core of my being yearns for that transformation, but the guilt and shame in my mind tells me that I can never have it.
On my way into work this morning, I heard a scripture from the Audible book I am listening to. It’s a familiar scripture. In fact, I had written a song using it after a very hurtful breakup some years ago.
The passage is Romans 8:35:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Then a little further down in Romans 8:38:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So I’ve been thinking about this passage since then. Nothing can separate us. Nothing means even me. I can separate myself from the relationship with God, but even that won’t separate me from His love.
I’ve decided that I should compile a list here of the things that cannot separate me from the love of Christ. I want this to serve as a reminder to me when I am back in the fog of despair (which seems to be every 4 minutes or so). I encourage you to make a list as well.
These things cannot separate me from the love of Christ:
My ever present back pain, my failed relationships, my self-esteem, my overweightness, my diminishing creativity, my inferiority complexes, my debt, my fears, my unrealized dreams, my weariness, my hopelessness, my career, my standoffishness, my aging, my house, my health fears, the health of my loved ones, my church politics, my job politics, my future, my past, my procrastination, my avoidance, my desire to run away, my anxiety, my anger, my politics, my hatred for injustice, my lack of mercy, my lust, my overthinking, my taking for granted, my love of beer, my morality, my earache, my toothache, my strained eyes, my stiffness, soreness, range of motion, my safety nets, my place in Baden, my purpose, my mission, my dulled senses to the wonderment of God’s creation, my lack of compassion, my grudges, my unworthiness, my frailty, my wants, my desires, my deferred hopes, my one sided prayers, my struggle to worship God, my dark thoughts, my feelings of worthlessness, my talents, my, my, my, my, me, me, ME…
God loves me with a love that is perfect and immune to the list above. And I cannot separate myself from that love. I need to remember that… every four minutes or so…
grace and love,