Last spring I watched a movie, it really wasn’t that great of a movie and I don’t remember the name so I couldn’t recommend it even if I wanted to, but one line stood out to me. The two main characters who had been friends through the entire movie finally realized that they liked each other and confessed their love. The girl, who was used to being taken advantage of and was expecting the guy to ask her to stay with him instead of moving like she was planning, or at least want to hook up asked, “So now what?” And the guy responded, “Nothing. I love you for free.”
That line has been dogging me for the past week. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that it would come up, but it keeps running through my mind. (That you, God?)
I love you for free.
I think God is trying to tell me something. The other night I was praying, and told God thank you for helping me become the person Christ died for me to be. And He stopped me and said, “No. You don’t quite get it yet. He didn’t die for some future or ideal version of you. He died for you NOW. Because I love you NOW. Right now. As you are. Fully and completely love you.” He loves me for free. No expectation of change or betterment or payment of any sort. We’re not His projects. His great plan of redemption was not so He could turn us into perfect people, but so He could make us His kids. Free. Without cost or payment.
The thing is, this is definitely something I need to get clear right now. I mean, in general I need to know that. But right now especially. I’ve been having a “dry spell,” so to speak. It’s easy to feel like I’m treading water right now. I’m 28, jobless, boyfriend-less, and living back at home for goodness’ sake! lol It’s like the start of a cheesy romance novel. I love my parents and always enjoy my time with them, and I am staying pretty busy between “earning my keep” and applying for grad schools, and I know there are good reasons for things to be the way they are, but a little voice in the back of my head mocks me for it. I know God hasn’t told me to change course from where I am. Believe me, I ask Him pretty much daily if this is really what I should be doing right now, and I can say with a clear conscience that, as far as I’m aware, I haven’t ignored any instructions.
But I really REALLY don’t do well when I feel unproductive. I stay busy every day, but somehow manage to go to bed many nights feeling like I haven’t actually accomplished anything. My to-do list doesn’t seem to get any shorter. I’m the kind of person who thrives under pressure. Given an overwhelming list of tasks and a short amount of time to complete them, I go into “efficiency mode” and you’d better stay out of my way ’cause I’m going to get them done come hell or high water. It’s truly terrifying. I have old roommates and coworkers who will testify. Maaaaybe not the very best way to live, but better than the alternative. Because the alternative is me being a slug. If I have plenty of time to take care of something – or worse, there’s no deadline at all – I flounder. I become the queen of procrastination and it’s highly likely it’ll get put off until it just slowly fades to the back of my memory and dies. The worst part is, I have absolutely no reason for not getting those things done. I have nothing better to do. I just waste time. I HATE THIS. I HATE WASTING TIME. It’s the only commodity we can’t earn more of. Yet I do it. Paul’s words in Romans are so real. The Message puts it relatably (I know that’s not a word, but it should be).
Romans 7: 17 – 20 (Message)
If the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and get the better of me every time.
Can I get an amen?
So here I am. Feeling unproductive and rather blah. I’m not saying I AM unproductive (mom and dad…I know you’re reading this and I know what you’re going to say), I’m saying I FEEL like I am. And the more I feel like a slug, the more I act like one. It’s a vicious cycle. Some of you may now be thinking, “Wow, this post has really spiraled…” But wait for it! I’m gonna bring it back around.
Because it is now, at my most slug-like, that I’m learning the real meaning of what it means to be loved for free. Honestly, after YWAM I was all excited for my next assignment. Ready to obey with joy whatever difficult task He had prepared for me. Long-term missions in Zimbabwe? I’m there! Trekking team in Nepal? Count me in! Back to YWAM to staff for 2 years? Sign me up! Go home and hang out with your parents and go back to school for engineering (all of which you’ve done before)? …ummm…are you sure? But this is one of the harder things God could have asked me to do. Just like Puna was hard for me. It’s just…real life. Learning to walk with God through the everyday is SO HARD for me. I always want to be off on some exciting and challenging adventure. I think I’m still very, if subtly and subconsciously, hung up on works. Still kind of feel like if I’m no doing enough then I’m not enough. But He loves me for free. I’m learning that. Slowly. Sometimes painfully.
I’m still trying to learn the balance. Because, as the Bible reminds us again and again, God’s free love (also known as grace) is NOT an excuse to do whatever we want. And I never want to take advantage of it to justify my going my way instead of God’s way or walking past an open door out of fear. It’s a fine line. I do actually WANT to do things for Him, because He loves me and I love Him. That’s a beautiful thing to want. But I can’t let the doing or lack thereof define me. I can’t start feeling like less (like a slug) simply because I haven’t done what I would consider “enough” lately. These are days of learning how to let Him love me, and learning to believe Him when He says I’m worth that love even when I’m not doing a single thing to earn it. It’s free.