We must see the soul and the person in its ruined condition, with its malformed and dysfunctional mind, feelings, body, and social relations, before we can understand that it must be delivered and reformed and how that can be done. One of the greatest obstacles to effective spiritual formation in Christ today is simple failure to understand and acknowledge the reality of the human situation as it affects Christians and non-Christians alike. We must start from where we really are.
(Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard, p. 45).
This quote opens Lynn Hoffman’s book, Steps into God’s Grace. It is typed in graceful italics and framed simply in a shaded grey box, placed perfectly in the middle of the page. There is no going around it; most of the rest of the page is white so that your eye is drawn to the most important idea of the entire step study Hoffman invites her readers to experience.
We must start from where we really are.
I have read that phrase over and over and over. Some days it frees my heart to feel all kinds of emotions in the span of a minute : fear, love, guilt, tenderness. Other days, it makes my face turn pink and my rib cage breathe an uncomfortably large inhale-exhale that can barely keep my screaming voice from erupting at whatever. Really, whatever.
But I am thankful that the Word of God is teaching me that it is safe for me to be exactly who I am with Him. It is not pretty, thin, or modern. It is not intelligent, admired, or graceful. It’s not even “godly” among people in the church body, which is still something I’m grappling with as I learn to exist in the evangelical church.
I think this study, this commitment to my being with my Creator and dealing honestly before him, is changing me. It is healing me.
And He and I have a long way to go. A lifetime.
Thank you, Healer, for holding me close.