I’m in Florida for the week visiting my 93-year-old mother. I played golf and tennis with her into her 80’s but now we eat, take walks (pushing her in a wheelchair) and enjoy nap times!
Today I took her to the University of South Florida’s Botanical Gardens. They have a walking trail through the gardens. But the parking lot is more like beach sand. I was having trouble getting her wheelchair through the parking lot as I slowly passed by some workers on break. One man started giving me tips on how to turn around and go backwards through the soft sand. It worked. He gave me a big smile and said, “You’z home here.”
I don’t know why his words struck me so much. But he blew me away with his words of total acceptance. His smile, his tone and his words told me, “I don’t know you from Adam but I’ve got your back. I’m here for you. I’m looking after you just because you are on my property here.” His three words made my day. Total acceptance.
As I reflected more I think his words touched me so deeply because they were like a glimpse of heaven…a glimpse of God’s kingdom here on earth. In essence he was saying… “I don’t care about your past. I don’t care who you were. I just care about you now. You are safe with me. I’m on your side.”
I want to offer that same grace to everyone I meet. I want that acceptance present for everyone that visits my church. We are so good at distancing ourselves from each other. What if we got good at welcoming each other?
Who’s in your sphere of influence that needs to hear “You’z home here”?
Question:What makes you feel total acceptance? Leave you comment below.
Steven talks about watching The Voice for the first time. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a take off on American Idol but different. Four judges listen to singers with their backs turned to the singers as they audition. If the judges like the voice they turn their chair around and qualify to be their coach. But the talent actually gets to choose the coach, assuming more than one judge turns around their chair.
Steven didn’t quite understand how it works. But he cued in on the idea that the judges accept the talent before they see them and he compared that to how God accepts us regardless of who we are. And that’s how he got the title. “Cancel the audition” means that we don’t have to try out for God. We don’t have to prove ourselves. God accepts us before the music starts! He said, we don’t need to achieve God’s acceptance. We just need to receive it.
It reminded me of what I read in the New Testament today. It said…
…let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:16
In other words, God has given us everything we need to live a Spirit-filled life of joy and success. Now just live it. Quit hoping that God is happy with you. Just live knowing that he is happy and let that knowledge take you to a new level.
Do you know that you were loved by God before you were born? In attempting to describe unconditional love I often refer to the love of a parent. If you are a parent you’ll get this. When does a parent first love the child? When it’s born? When it becomes viable in the womb? When it was conceived?
Most parents tell me that they loved their child even before conception. They loved the child even when it was a hope or a dream in their mind.
I can tell you when you didn’t first love your child. It wasn’t when they performed well for you! Some parents might wait a lifetime for that! Think of the first year…lots of diapers and late night feedings. Not much performance to get excited about there. Or think as they grow…all of those household chores and lawnmowings that they never did or did well. Imagine a parent that withheld their love waiting for their child to reach a certain level of achievement.
Loved by God
If we, as humans, can offer unconditonal love for our children…how much more can God? The Bible tells us this…
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:4-6, The Message
The heart of understanding your inherent value in life lies in understanding that you are loved by God apart from what you do. Period. You are loved by God. Let that sink in and stop protesting by saying “but what about…”.
I teach through the content of my book at least six times a year at a local treatment center. I’m always amazed at the clarity that showing clips from The Lion King movie brings to the teaching. It’s a real eye opener to people. The Lion King is a movie that most people have seen but they’ve never seen the teachable moments. Let me lay out the basics.
Shame and the Lion King:
The roots of Simba’s shame: the trauma he experienced seeing his father die.
The lies of shame: “It’s my fault” and since he felt disqualified… “I’m not the king.”
The fruit of believing these lies: Isolation. He ran away from his community.
The solution: His father told him…”Remember who you are”, that is, the king.
Remember Who You Are
We live what we believe even if what we believe is wrong. How many of us have put a limit on our success and happiness because we don’t believe we deserve it? What if success and happiness wasn’t related to deserving it? What if success and happiness was a gift given by a loving God? If you were to believe THAT do you think things might change?
In the movie, Simba chose to believe he was the king and in remembering who he was he returned to take back the throne. The emotional high point of the story is when he climbs Pride Rock to claim his rightful role as king.
Do you see the contrast? When he believed the lies “It’s my fault” and “I’m not the king” he lived in isolation. When he chose to believe the truth that he was the king he BECAME the king. He fulfilled his destiny.
I wonder…what will it take to reclaim your rightful place in life? What lies are you believing that are keeping you from your God given destiny?
Question:What lies have you believed that are holding you back in life?