Struggling with Feeling God's Love

'woman jogging' photo (c) 2011, kevin ryder - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
This has been the week that I’ve been telling you a bit more about myself, since it’s occurred to me that many of you read my blog and don’t really know who I am.

So I thought it might be a good time to share what God’s been showing me lately, too.

I have always struggled with the idea that God accepts me just as I am. I guess I can see so many things wrong with me that to say that God loves despite that seems arrogant. Obviously He loves me, but He must look down and see all that other stuff, and be disappointed in me.

I know that’s not true; I’m just trying to tell you what I think.

One of the issues that I’ve had, along the same lines, is really hearing God speak to me. There are specific times in my life when I have heard God’s voice, and I talk about those things when I give my testimony. But to assume that God is talking to me at other times might seem presumptuous.

Again, I know this isn’t true, but it’s something I struggle with.

So this week I had a very interesting experience. I had been struggling with my speaking ministry. I really believe that a speaker should try to lead women into an encounter with God; that we should issue a challenge, and take people somewhere. I don’t think we should just entertain, or say something interesting. Not that we shouldn’t be entertaining; I try very hard to use humour, as you can see in this video. But the goal is to take people to a deeper level with God.

For various reasons I was struggling with this, because it seems that most conferences in Canada hire big-name American authors to speak, whose goals don’t seem the same as mine all the time. This week I was questioning whether my approach was right.

In the middle of this I took a jog, and I decided to listen to a podcast of a sermon by Helen Roseveare, a medical missionary to Zaire that I admire so much. In her sermon, she used three Bible references: Romans 8:29, Philippians 3:10, and Hebrews 12:1,2. Anyone who has listened to me speak very much will know that each of those verses is the main verse for my three main talks.

I had that sermon recorded to listen to for a month, but I hadn’t gotten around to it until that day, when this was what I was struggling with. And I do believe God wanted to tell me something through that. He said, “I am with you in what you do. Keep at it, and I will bring the fruit.” And I felt so much better!

I had a dream later that night. I was at a seminar and Jesus Himself was there. He was only going to give that one seminar, and my whole family, including my mother, was so excited. I wasn’t. I was crying. I was hurting. And I thought to myself, “If Jesus really is as good as He says He is, then all I want him to do is to look at me at some point this morning and tell me, ‘I know you’re lonely, but I do love you.'” I didn’t think that was so much to ask.

And He didn’t. He talked to everybody but me. But I didn’t wake up depressed. Instead, I felt so relieved, because I felt like God was trying to reveal to me the root of some of my restlessness lately.

I may know He loves me on different levels, but He wants to take me deeper. And I still have a works based view of God: that if I’m not doing all I can, God’s going to be disappointed. Instead, I think He wants to tell me that He loves me, and He has planted me here, and I don’t need to be afraid.

These aren’t things I didn’t know. But I may have known them in my head, and I may have known them in my heart, but it seems like each year God wants to open a different part of my heart and show it to me anew. And it’s really neat.

So let me ask you: what do you struggle with? Do you struggle with perfectionism? Do you struggle with knowing God’s voice? Do you struggle with feeling His pleasure? I’d love to get a discussion going!

 

Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    >OH girl! I’ve been right where you are and let me tell you, what a dark lonely place:(
    Do I struggle with perfectionism? Oh yeah! I keep thinking…if I knew my bible better, God would love me more. If I was MORE involved (that’s kinda funny for many reasons) God would love me MORE…but then I hit my knees and get reminded…God’s Love is ENDLESS how could he love me more when he loves me to the ends of the universe.
    I was given this verse this morning and its very fitting…
    Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to to his purpose..

  2. Andrea says:

    >Sheila, your post came at just the right time for me! I’ve been struggling with this very thing for a couple of weeks now, just knowing if I really am on the right track, if I really am being effective. My thing is needed affirmation – I’m too insecure for my own good! So if all of the sudden I’m not getting the affirmation I had previously received, I wonder what I’ve done wrong. God has helped me to see that I was being silly – that I don’t need to rely on people for encouragement, because He is the one who has called me, and He is the one who is equipping me and working through me. Even when I can’t see the results.

    So thank you – from one Canadian to another. ;)

  3. Growing in God's Grace says:

    >I read your blog regularly, though rarely comment. Your blog is always encouraging and entertaining, but this blog has really touched me. I have been dealing with issues very similar (more like exact) and this morning lots of things have been swirling around in my mind about it. I am a huge perfectionist, and it is wearing me down. I’m tired of feeling responsible for my whole families walk and well being (yes I know there is a balance, but I’m way out of balance). I’m tired of thinking I’m not doing things well enough for the Lord. I’m tired of feeling like I’m disappointing the Lord ALL the time, because I’m not perfect, though I try to be. And yet I don’t know how to be past it, because if I walk around like, ‘no problem, I’m forgiven’ isn’t that presumptuous? Isn’t that prideful? Isn’t that just inviting the Lord to put some hard issue in my life to prove me wrong? So I walk around bummed out because I’m constantly failing Him, and afraid to walk in His peace, because I’ll look prideful. :(
    But this post really was encouraging, because it shows me that I’m not the only one who deals with perfectionism this way. That others struggle in knowing how to walk balanced in their walks with the Lord. It has been very encouraging to read, and just what I needed this morning. Thank you for writing and sharing this with us.
    And sorry to be writing a book as a comment. ;)
    JoAnn

  4. >Wow–this really spoke to me. I have always believed in God–though as a child we never really went to church. As I got older I hungered and yearned for something that was missing and got saved eventually. I backslid for a very long time so I’m just now learning things that so many people learned when they were children or teenagers….and I often wonder–what would He want to speak to me for? I struggle with the thoughts of whether or not it really is Him speaking…but I am getting some affirmation recently. Maybe I’ve been getting it all along and haven’t known. I have struggled with worrying all my life also…my mom is the same way, as was her mother; but I think I’ve discovered the key to that too–God!! It really is hard to ‘give it all to him’ and ‘let go’, but I’m learning, and God is blessing my family for it!! (Btw, I’m talking excessive, life interfering worrying lol)…I think we all struggle with many of the same things but sometimes we just don’t hear (or want to hear) what’s being said to us…sorry for the book!!

  5. >Sheila, I read and love your blog. I really related to what you were saying about wondering if your approach was right. I have just started out in writing and speaking, and this week sought a professional speaker’s tips for how to get your foot in the door more, when you are a newbie at both writing an speaking. She gave me some GREAT tips, but also told me that right now even ‘big’ speakers are having a hard time getting engagements because of the American economy and fewer people actually showing up for events. She did not say that to discourage me, but to let me know the reality of the situation. Your post uplifted me when you said the Lord spoke to you and said, “I am with you in all that you do. Keep at it and I will bring the fruit.” See, JUST this morning, I had read the passage when Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” So your post was confirmation about what the Lord had been speaking to me, and really encouraged my heart. And just to let you know, you are a GREAT speaker and writer – your blog/site is one of my absolute FAVORITES on the web. Not only do I absolutely LOVE your blog’s design, but I love reading what you write and listening to you. The Lord uses you in great ways to minister to others….so KEEP IT UP, GIRL! :) You are a blessing! I’d love to hear you speak here in Missouri! Beth Jones

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  1. [...] I believe that if I spend more time just in prayer, I will be led more by Him. I will be able to hear His voice. I will waste less time, I will be more effective with what I do have, and I will not feel that I [...]

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