The 3 “R”s Of Receiving From God

388012741_9d01040e4d_b

God has prepared an unique process to mold you in His love. Here’s 3 “R”s to receive more from Him, as you walk upon this path.

Last week, I shared a little from my journey into facing my issues and learning to receive love from God. (Click here to read it.) My behaviors were extreme, but I’m not alone. Many of us live as prisoners to our emotional wounds. We’ve become “functional” in our prison. Much like a “functional alcoholic”, we sort of get by, but we’re not free. And the reason we stay bound? Well, facing the pain is just that… PAINFUL! It requires courage to face the proverbial man-in-the-mirror. But as Christians, God has called to spiritual growth and freedom.

Here’s the reality: God will test our hearts. It’s what He does. If you walk with God long enough, He’s gonna to get there. Proverbs 17:3 says it like this, “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

So we might as well go ahead and be like David, and say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). As we make this our prayer, I believe God sets us on a path into wholeness and love.

Last week, I mentioned at one point God led me to see a clinical psychologist and how she confirmed somethings for me. I don’t think everybody has to go to therapy, but I do believe if you set your heart after God, pray like David prayed, and obey His leading, He’ll direct your steps—ordering appointed seasons and “divine set-ups” to craft you and mold you in His love. Before you were born, He designed a “you-specific” process to build you on His love, victory, and freedom.

Along my thirteen-year journey with God, here are three things He has shown me about learning to receive from Him:

  1. Realize Everybody is messed up

When we start to face the proverbial man-in-the-mirror, it’s tempting to be overwhelmed. Shame whispers in our ear, “Oh man, there’s something so wrong with you!”. But shame is twisting the truth. Yes, there’s something wrong with you, but there’s something wrong with everybody: it’s called sin! You see, the enemy wants us to think there’s something ESPECIALLY wrong with us. In other words, he wants us to believe we’re beyond God’s love. But true faith says, “I’m no better than anybody… but I’m also not worse than anybody either. I am what I am. My value and worth come from God.”

2. Remove the Mask

We wear masks because we don’t practice Number 1. For some strange reason, we secretly think other people don’t struggle like us, or have problems. It’s the “grass-is-greener” syndrome. In our modern times, one main reason we fall into this “stinking thinking” is that compare our messy lives with other people’s Instagram and Facebook posts. So we put up a front. We pretend and hide. But God has called us to let down the mask. Especially with Him! We need to get real and allow Him to look upon the real us. That’s the only way we can receive His love.

3. Receive Revelation from the Word

We need to go to His Word. This is where decision and willpower come into play. No one can study the Bible for me, I must dig into the Word for myself. I must find out what He says about me. I must confess what He says about me. I must begin to speak the right words—His Word—over my life. And as I pray, and seek, and confess, and meditate on what He has said, I start to receive revelation from the Word. The Bible goes from information to revelation, and gets down into my heart.

Learning To Be Loved

nyc-1623542_1920It’s been said, “painful emotions buried alive, never die”. But God can rebuild any soul on His love.

A few months into my marriage, my new bride asked me,

“Why do you tense up whenever I touch you?”

I was floored by this realization! She was right. Anytime she touched me, I would recoil. In fact, any expression of intimacy in marriage seemed to elicit some knee-jerk reaction in me—I’d start clenching up and become overwhelmed by anxiety.

The truth is I had an inability to receive love— and it worked itself out in a thousand little weird ways in my relationships, including my relationship with God.

I tried to comb over the issue. Just ignore it, and hope it went away. Because you know, I had things to do! I was on a mission for God. He had interrupted my life in the bar scene of Gainesville, Florida and had spoken to me about my great calling to preach His Gospel. I had a mission to accomplish. And I thought I could just go out and make it happen— I’ll never forget telling the cocktail waitresses of Jewels Bar that I couldn’t DJ anymore because I was supposed to be a pastor. You should of seen the look on the girls’ faces. “WHAT?? You want to be a priest?!”.

I was zealous for God, but the problem was: painful emotions buried alive, never die.

After pushing on past the pain for years, God—and my wife, who I call “Holy Spirit Jr”— finally got me to see I needed to deal with my junk. I started to really seek God about it. Also, I took advantage of some free therapy sessions offered through my wife’s work. I prayed to the Great Counselor to send me to the right person in hopes of gaining wisdom for the health of my soul.

I thank God He answered my prayer and used a clinical Psychologist to give me insight into my brokenness. She diagnosed me with severe Attachment Trauma, also known as “insecure attachment”. Many mental health professionals consider it a form of PTSD that occurs when developing infants suffer extreme abuse and/or neglect from their primary caregiver. At a foundational level, the child does not learn to trust others, that their needs will be met, they feel as if in constant danger, and fail to form attachments with any future caregivers. This deeply-embedded fear creates all type of problems for the child’s development.

The late Christian Psychologist Dr. Karyn Purvis did great work in the study of Attachment Trauma in efforts to help adoptive parents understand how to care for their children—many adopted children, whom Dr. Purvis called “children from hard places”,  exhibit the same tendencies.

So what did God show me? I had a wound at the deepest level of my soul.

But God has also shown me that His love can rebuild any soul. No matter how deep a wound. No matter how painful the past. Whatever you’ve lost, whatever you’ve suffered, you can become “deeply rooted and grounded in love” from Him.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” – Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Here’s three practical things I’ve learned to personally receive love from God. I’ve been sharing these at our Sub30 class on Wednesday nights.

  1. Realize Everybody is Messed Up. (You’re not beyond God’s love)
  2. Remove the Mask. (Stop pretending)
  3. Receive Revelation from God. (The Word must go from information to revelation in you)

We’ll take a look at these three in more detail for Part 2.