“I thought that being faithful was about becoming someone other than who I was… and it was not until this project failed that I began to wonder if my human wholeness might be more useful to God than my exhausting goodness.” – Barbara Brown Taylor in Leaving Church
I’m NOT a stay-in-the-lines person. In fact, I pretty much live my whole life outside the lines. Some of my ideas send old-time religionists into apoplexy. But I love, love, Jesus. Love. Yesterday, as my pastor and I talked about the uniqueness of Christ, I was suddenly overcome with emotion at the sheer magnitude of who He is. Not in human history, which is incalculable, but in my personal life. I couldn’t speak. The depth of personal relationship He offers completely overwhelmed me. Do you ever get like that?If we grasp how deep and wide and long is his love for us, I wonder, how could we not be moved to tears?
I suspect many of you, like me, are quite tenderhearted. Especially many of the LGBTQ community who have commented or written me emails. I know you feel, and feel deeply. Perhaps you feel like me that your whole life is outside the lines! But here’s the thing. Outside-the-lines is just the type of person Jesus wraps up in his arms and kisses on the forehead. I mean, look at the people he welcomes and picks up along the way. “I love you forever and always!” He says. “Nothing you could ever do would make me love you more, and nothing you could ever do would make me love you less!”
Men and women in church clothes are out front clamoring for a real relationship with Him, and we have worked our way around the back. Instead of getting mad at us, he has invited us to climb over the back fence, walk across the yard, and take a seat with him on the back porch. The in-the-lines folks poke their heads around the house and wave for us to come around front and wipe our feet on the mat like everyone else. In due time, maybe we’ll make our way through the crowd and out back to find Jesus. But we’re already here. Trust me, we’ve already found the spot people are seeking. It’s okay to smile and wave and stay right where you are. Your intimacy with Jesus does not need anyone’s approval, does not need any protocol — it gets to be just you and him. It’s available to anyone; you just have to choose it.
Settle in, get nice and cozy, and enjoy your hot chocolate. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.