GUEST POST Written by Monica Ricketts
“Let me embrace you.” The words echoed through my mind as I stood at the front of the church. A guest speaker was there that day and talked about how we need to embrace Jesus. After the message, he gave a call for anyone who needed to embrace Jesus more.
To be honest I thought I was doing a pretty good job with that and didn’t feel the need to respond, yet something in my heart was pulling me to go up. So I did. Standing at the front not knowing why I was up there, I just stood there and raised my hands. That’s when I heard it. The voice I can recognize a mile away. That still small whisper in my heart.
“You try so hard to embrace me but you haven’t let me embrace you. Would you just allow me to embrace you?”
And as any strong, solid Christian would, I thought “What???” I was supposed to be up there telling God that I was committing to embrace Him more but he was telling me this? Clearly I was hearing wrong – I was just turning it around to fit what I wanted to hear. I mean shouldn’t He have been showing me what I can do to embrace him more and where I need to do better in that area?
Yet I couldn’t shake that still small voice and a wave of love and peace that touched me to the core. I went home that day still thinking about those words. “What does that even mean?” I thought to myself. “God, we’ve been through this already. I know you love me. I know you accept me. I know I’m yours.”
See I had been on a journey for years of overcoming insecurities and seeing myself the way God sees me and I thought I had pretty much dealt with all of that. But I’ve also learned to listen to His still small voice.
I knew I wasn’t just making this up.
I needed to dig deeper. What did the word embrace really mean anyway? It was one of those words I knew how to use in a sentence but if someone asked me I probably couldn’t explain it very well. So, I went to the dictionary.
Embrace: to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom, hug.
Embrace: avail oneself (I also had to look up the meaning of avail: to be of use or value to).
Embrace: to adopt.
Embrace: to take in with the eye or mind.
Embrace: to encircle; surround; enclose.
Embrace: to include or contain.
Wow! Isn’t this exactly what God wants to do? I began to look up verses in the Bible that went along with each definition. God wants to embrace my heart. He wants to embrace me. But there was another definition. One that really stuck out.
Embrace: to receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly.
It was in that moment I realized why I was always so afraid God would change his mind about me. I knew God accepted me but there was a small part of me that still believed it was because he had to. That His acceptance was more of a “she believes in me so I guess I’m stuck with her” kind of acceptance.
I realized that whenever I did something I shouldn’t do or didn’t do something I should do I put up a wall or just avoided talking to God altogether until I felt enough time had passed and I had earned my way back to his good side.
I was still trying to earn His acceptance when all I needed to do was just let Him accept me. I was still trying to earn His love when in reality all I needed to do was just let Him love me.
As I prayed about this definition, I began to see things in a new way. God is happy I’m His. He receives me gladly. He eagerly waits for me to come to Him. He’s not wondering when I will get my act together. He accepts me willingly-faults and all. He rejoices over me with gladness, not puts up with me out of obligation.
He wants to embrace me, and I’m learning to let Him.
How has God revealed His love to you? Share your story here.
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