A few years ago, while we were in church praying, I had an amazing experience where I just felt the presence of God so keenly and close to me I couldn't stop crying. I know this might sound ridiculous or crazy (or both) so just trust me when I say you had to be there okay?? So the whole congregation was singing and praying and a friend's mum told me later that she had had a "vision" of me at the foot of Jesus reaching out to him and trying to touch the edge of his cloak but not quite being able to reach him and I was trying so hard and weeping but just couldn't touch him.
Now it always freaks me out when people say they have "visions" of me or that they felt like God was saying something to me (a previous boyfriend told me God told him we shouldn't be together and that's why he broke up with me) but with this I actually felt like it made sense.
Growing up I've always sought to please and impress my parents and therefore anyone in authority over me or anyone I sought approval from. In church you're taught to see God as God, obvs, but also as a parent. So since I felt like I needed to prove my worth to make my parents proud I guess I treated God that same way, hence the need to checklist everything to ensure I was making the cut. Well let me tell you people, it has been friggin exhausting. I started to live a life where I was constantly worrying I'd done or said something wrong. Every conversation was over-analysed and my inner voice was hugely criticising and pretty mean if I'm honest. Why did you say that? What kind of answer is that? That's pathetic! Now they'll just think you're stupid! Etc etc
So one of the things I've been trying to do recently is to let go of the control that says there is anything I could possibly do to make God love or approve of me. Have any of you ever experienced that? I naturally feel "good" when I've been to church or read the Bible in the morning or given money to someone in need or managed not to purposefully trip up the person who shoved past me on the train. But what if God doesn't need me to do any of those things to love me and what if He still calls me His daughter?
When I was on Sabbatical in France one of our guests was explaining that just because he has more than one child, it doesn't mean he loves any of them more than another. He loves them differently, yes, he said; but he still loves them all. Sometimes I feel anxious when someone does something better than I can. It makes me feel inadequate and stupid and...unloved, simply because they're "better" than me. I'm learning not to feel that way. Although I don't understand it, I know in my head that somehow, God has enough love for all of us. It's not a competition. I just need that to filter down to my heart and hopefully one day it will.