Still sifting through Psalm 139:1 (here’s the first thing I wrote about this verse) and if you’ve forgotten what it says, let me bring you up to date:
You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
I didn’t want to leave this little verse behind yet, because it revealed a fault line in my thinking that I suspect is problematic for a bunch of us which is this idea that God searches us (remember the tax-auditor analogy?) and is repelled by the icky stuff and happy with the good stuff. First of all, it’s not true – as we move down the road in this Psalm (and a million other places in the Bible) we’ll find that His thoughts towards us are precious – His love for us extravagant and unconditional. And yet there is this simmering fear in me that if He searches me and doesn’t like what He sees, He won’t like me – at least not in that moment.
Here’s what I wrote in my journal:
“It is fundamentally problematic to believe that my failures and inadequacies repel Him or place me out of reach of His love. It leads to striving, working for approval…it creates an addiction to accomplishments. If God is repelled by my failures and attracted to my achievements, then what is He when I am neutral – neither winning or losing? This gamifies my relationship with Him and for some personality types, that’s a big draw – but for others, it’s an immediate defeat – a quick trip to inadequacy. This makes an enemy of rest. This keeps me always on my tiptoes and His love always just a little bit out of reach.”
This little-but-big idea is insidious – but I see it in my thinking and I want it to change. I want to understand and receive the love of a God who is able to view the whole of my life with the vision and grace only a good, good Father could possess. I don’t want to hustle for His love or hide from His attention.
I did an exercise to help me understand this truth more fully and tomorrow I’ll scrape together all my courage and share it with you. Until then, here’s your journal prompt: Are there any ways I have learned to believe my successes will earn the love of God or others and my failures will lead to abandonment and rejection?
Keep leaning into love, friends.