It has been two months now at my new job and I am excited about my work here.
When I applied for this job I figured it was a shot in the dark. We applied our son to Kindergarten and I went online to apply for financial aid. I saw the EMPLOYMENT link and a counselor position and thought, “Why not?”
Later I told Emily that I applied and assured her I would not get hired. An institution like `Iolani will certainly pursue someone with more experience and education. To my surprise, I was offered the job. Over the last two months I have been still in disbelief that I was hired here.
A couple weeks ago during Sunday worship we sang the hymn, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence”, written by Charles Gabriel. When we got to the chorus, “how marvelous, how wonderful is my Saviors love for me”, I began to reflect on just how marvelous it is. The thought was overwhelming. Then I realized through that moment of epiphany, I struggle to receive that. The reality of how undeserving I am to receive God’s love overshadows the fact that despite what is deserved, God’s grace and mercy pours out His love on me. It’s a gift from the Lord, gifts are not earned. In that revelation I felt absolutely free. I felt vulnerable, but a necessary vulnerability to allow God’s love to flow through me.
God revealed a broader understanding to me that morning. I struggle to receive love from others. I’m a skeptic. In my mind there is always an angle, there is always an agenda. This keeps me on my guard and when my guard is up, I am unable to receive love that is given. When I cannot receive, it’s difficult to freely give.
When the Bible talks about a faith like a child, I think of how my kids freely receive our love. There is no condition and no questioning the love that is given. You grow older and the people that take advantage of innocence sow seeds of mistrust in us. We can’t help but put up our guards. We narrow the input of love in our lives.
If we are able to accept love and kindness from others, not because we deserve it, but because it is truly a gift, we free ourselves up to give. In my job I see how I have been very limited because I’m trapped in my thinking that, “I don’t belong here.” In my marriage I see how I can shutdown because I can question the motives of my spouse. In my parenting I can get frustrated easily because I can look past the simple innocence of love that is given. In my friendships I can see how I can shut people out because I don’t believe they would really want to be my friend. Most critically I am unable to really be transformed and shine the light of Jesus to the world because I feel like I need to earn it from God.
When we can learn to receive from others freely and without judgment, we can give to others freely and without judgment. -jason