I Am Beloved (Part 2) // 我是上帝的寵兒 (下)
Even though I knew God forgave me of my sins, I still struggled with who I was. Because I was still sinning, how could I not be called a sinner? I struggled with the New Testament writers referring to people as saints and not sinners because to me, they were all having problems! It did not make sense to me because I cannot accept being called a righteous beloved child without doing anything or having to keep up being good all the time.
As I stood before God and asked “How is this so?” I saw him removing the layers of false identity and labels the world gave me and as he was peeling them off, he said, “I see your original self, made in my image. You were made simply to be loved and enjoy me.” I heard him say, “Vanessa, you are not what you do. I am the only authority that can define you. Whatever you do or don’t do won’t change this. You can feel dirty and others can condemn you but it won’t change the truth that I call you clean. I am the perfect father, stop arguing and accept it.” He showed me that he cares more about a relationship with me than being right or wrong.
It’s one thing to read about the truth but knowing the truth set me free and I began to experience true freedom. It’s not doing whatever I feel like but simply being free to be who I am created to be. And that is how I live to the fullest. I began to see him as the perfect Father I’d never known. He is a happy God, not mad. And I even forgave those people who misrepresented the true Father’s face to me.
Coming from a Chinese shame and performance-based culture, it was hard for me to realize that my actions came from knowing who I am first, not what I strive to do or what I was told to do. When I used to try to relate to my Heavenly Father, I wasn’t able to grasp that it was never about my goodness but about how perfect He is and we are to be a reflection of that.
The world loves to condemn and tell me I am not good enough because I am not doing good enough. I used to think sin was a behaviour but actually, the original word means “missing the mark.” Sin is outside the presence of God and when I choose to be in that position, it becomes an action. Good things come when I remain in the presence of God. As sin comes from me agreeing to let the devil rob good things from me, the moment I stop agreeing and let God help me, I experience transformation.
Choose to Focus
When I focus on sin, I focused on me, me, me. My mind is on sin so I manifest sin. I become what I focus on. Only when I start to focus on Jesus – someone bigger than me, will his powerful love shun any darkness. When I confess my faith in Jesus and His goodness, the powerful result is I actually have much less desire to sin.
I love 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, (it does not say anyone who is well sorted and do this and that) he is a new creature, the old has passed, the new is here.” It’s important to know that I am a new creation. Now I try to align my thoughts with God’s. It was such a waste of time to harbour false thoughts of how God perceives us, when the Bible tells us otherwise.
Now when I screw up, the Holy Spirit convicts me and it’s not routine to beg Daddy to love me again but it’s natural to quickly say, “Sorry, thank you Jesus that you have forgiven me and I move on,” declaring I am his awesome daughter. I used to feel like I was a rubbish collector on the streets but one day I realized I was actually a princess in a palace. Realizing my real identity, I began to act like it as well.
I embrace what He wants to give me- free access to Him, friendship with Jesus, all the love, joy and peace but no fear. But it took time to learn to receive without guilt. Slowly, as I developed a deeper relationship with God, I no longer feel ashamed about my past and present messes. I’m also an open book when it comes to talking about normally taboo topics like sex, masturbation and porn. I know what the original design of the Creator is, and though the devil schemes to clothe me with shame, the Father’s heart is to restore me back to my original, naked form. We were created worthy, in God’s own image and in his likeness. He has never called us unworthy, even when sin came into us. His heart is to help us recognize our original authentic self and help us realize the fun and joy being in His presence.
This faith walk is now easy and light, I no longer need to do things to prove myself or earn recognition because I believe I am already accepted, approved and loved by God and He is pleased and delighted with me even before I was born. That is the feeling of true freedom. Three years before, every Autumn, I would wait for that annual feeling of loneliness and helplessness to come. I felt it every year before I accepted Jesus but for these last three years, I didn’t feel it anymore. It’s like after healing, I’ve allowed God to fill the space all the time, and it’s so solid I just know it will stay forever.
I think it would really suck if what you believed about yourself is not the truth but a wrong perception formed by everyone in the world other than the one who truly matters – the perfect Father God who created you. He is truly good and real and He loves you more than you can ever imagine and I hope you will one day be able to experience Him like I have.
Back to Part 1 of Vanessa’s story
Featured image credit: flickr.com/davidsurfer