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Interior Freedom: To Love as God Loves, Part II





I began this new series of blog posts during Lent after identifying an invitation from God to address my disproportionate reactions to certain individuals and groups who display viewpoints that I disagree with. To be more precise, viewpoints which cause me a great deal of angst and anxiety. I’ve turned to a small book entitled Interior Freedom by Jacque Philippe for help in prayer, insight, and healing, and I will include my own reflections below.  


2. “What often blocks the action of God’s grace in our lives is less our sins or failings than it is our failure to accept our own weakness....”

Pg. 33

 

This statement is curious, isn’t it? It’s contrary to the way we’ve been taught to think. It’s not our shortcomings that get in the way of God; it’s our inability to accept our shortcomings. This statement gives me pause. It goes against the grain of my personality. If I accept my weaknesses, then I’ll become apathetic to them. I’ll stop working so hard to overcome them. 

 

So, what do many of us do instead of accepting our weaknesses? We shame ourselves for being human and having faults. We shame ourselves because we think (unconsciously), “If I can just get myself to feel bad enough about this, then my feeling bad will make me want to be good.” While this might lead to momentary hyper-vigilance, it certainly doesn’t bring about real and lasting change.   

 

As I’ve pondered Jacque Philippe’s statement and considered its implications, I’ve come to realize that there are at least two reasons why accepting my weaknesses is essential to experiencing interior freedom to love as God loves:

 

  • First, because Jesus Christ meets us in our weakness.  

  • And second, because God’s love is transformational only when received in our vulnerability (weakness).  

 

The writer of Hebrews asserts that Jesus not only knows about our weaknesses, he sympathizes with them! (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus knows what it’s like to be fully human. And so he meets us in our wounds and weakness because he understands the human condition. He sympathizes with our human experience! 

 

In a chapter entitled “The Liturgy of Our Wounds” from Into the Silent Land, “ Martin Laird writes, 

 

“There is a deeply ingrained tendency, however, to recoil from our own brokenness, to judge it as others have judged it, to loathe it as we have been taught over a lifetime to loath it. In doing this we avoid what God in Christ draws close to and embraces.” 

 

We know what recoiling and loathing feel like when we see wounds and weaknesses that never seem to get better. Yet, as hard as it is to imagine, God in Christ draws close to our brokenness, our wounds, our sins and failings, and accepts them, just as God fully accepts us! That’s why we need to accept our weaknesses. 

 

The second reason is that it’s only in vulnerability that we can experience the love of God and be transformed by it. In David Benner’s classic book Surrender to Love, he asserts that we can only receive God’s love if we surrender to it in an undefended state. 

 

“The single most important thing I have learned in over thirty years of study of how love produces healing is that love is transformational only when it is received in vulnerability.” Pg 73

 

What a powerful statement! An image comes right to mind. An image of our sweet pup, Flo, who waits for me most mornings just outside our bedroom door. When I walk toward her, her tail starts wagging, and she rolls over on her back, tummy fully exposed in an undefended state so that I can rub her and give her a good morning greeting. 

 

For us to experience the love of God and have it transform our weaknesses, we need to roll onto our backs, expose the underside of our personality, and let God love us in that undefended state. We stop trying to prove to God that we’re worthy of love. We stop hiding, justifying, or shaming ourselves because we are weak and unable to change ourselves. We simply consent to be loved in our vulnerability! 

 

What’s it like for you to accept your weaknesses? I mean, really accept them? I can tell you what it’s like for me. Mortifying! I have a deeply engrained fear that if I accept them, I’ll let down my guard of hypervigilance and give into mediocrity! Yet interior freedom to love as God loves is forged through acceptance of our weaknesses. 

 

Okay? Time to roll over.  

 

Prayer: I accept my weaknesses and welcome the presence and action of God’s grace in them. 



 

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