"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
- Psalm 139:23-24
I was visiting a church member recently. She hadn't seen me in several months and asked me an AMAZING question,"Pastor Caleb, you look different. Did you lose weight?" Now, I was tempted to suck in my gut through the entire visit and lie through my teeth because no one has said this to me in decades. However, I decided not to take advantage of poor vision and responded truthfully - "No, but thank you so much for making my day. What kind of flowers can I bring you on my next visit?"
Jesus taught that the greatest commandments are to Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to Love our Neighbor as ourselves. Part of loving our neighbor is loving ourselves, and one of the prerequisites to lovingourselves is knowing ourselves - being honest and truthful with ourselves. It's not living in denial - it's living in truth. It's boldly and courageously acknowledging who we are and where we are so that we can invite God (humbly and genuinely) to do God's life-renewing and faith-stretching work in our lives.
The good news - God knows us. The Psalmist writes that before a word is on our tongue, God knows it already (Ps 139). In other words, there's nothing to hide from God. There's nothing we have to sweep under the rug when we pray or worship. God knows exactly what's happening in our hearts (good and bad) and God loves you more than you know.
So, here's the invitation this morning - be honest with yourself and with God. Put your guard down. Take time (15 minutes each day this week) to pray and journal - openly and freely to God, who hears you, knows you, and loves you. Then, if you need help, you can ask for it. If you're inspired to help, you can offer it. If God is inviting you to take a new(and possibly growth-inducing and faith-stretching) step of faith, you can do it.