In my last post I talked about the need for men, “to just sit there” learning to receive the love of God. It seems to me that this is a good metaphor for wildmen. Instead of thinking more about God or doing more for him, we need to learn the practice of sitting before the Lord. If this is not your practice, begin by just spending only five minutes in quiet before the Lord. Another way of saying the same thing is simply learning “to be.” To be who you are before the Lord is to accept yourself as you are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Until you come to the inner awareness that God love you “in your stink” you will have a hard time believing that God loves you. So don’t hide who you are. Let God love you for who you are. He loves you as you are not how you should be. There is absolutely no substitute for your personally hearing the loving, healing Word, giving you the affirmation that you are Abba’s child.
Allow God to address you as his beloved. At his baptism Jesus received the assurance that he was the Father beloved. “And as he was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased'” (Luke 3:21-22). There is within the heart of each of us an inner voice of love that says, in the words of Henri Houwen, “‘You are the Beloved of God!’ I want you to claim your belovedness.”
The greatest trap in our daily life is that of self-rejection, doubting who we truly are. Because we don’t know our true identity in Christ we go searching for others to tell us who we are and attempt to find our identity in the things we accomplish and the stuff that we acquire. Our heart goes on a continual search for identity. Nouwen says, “Self -rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that declares we are loved. Being the beloved expresses the core truth of our existence. We are loved as creatures with both limitations and glory.”
Remember men our true identity is in Christ, that self-in-Christ that we were destined to be from all eternity. “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” (Eph. 1:6 – The Message). Our true personhood is a gift from God, it is not our creation. As David Benner has observed, “We are tempted to create a self, rather then receive the gift of our self-in-Christ.” Your true self in Christ is not a self of your own making but a discovery, a gift give to us as God’s beloved. So again, I strongly suggest the practice of spending time alone with God, so that you can hear the Father addressing you a unique person – His beloved Son.