I don't know about you, but especially in past years, I've had trouble actually getting much out of these times of year. Times like Holy Week and Advent were created for remembrance of this great thing the Father has done for us through his Son, yet many of us in America don't remember. We know the stories by heart, but they've stopped affecting our hearts. We remember times in our lives where we were so on fire for Jesus, but we can't seem to feel that anymore. He feels distant, past, not present as He should.
Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?
I imagine many of you do, for it's all part of the human cycle of remembering and forgetting.
We remember we are children of an eternal King, chosen by a limitless Father, saved by His perfect Son, Jesus, who is also our Brother. We are pumped! We are excited! Everything in our lives has purpose. Everyone we know is this beautiful creation with God's very breath within them. Every conversation we have, thing we do, and dream we have seems to center around this indescribable understanding.
And then we forget.
We let the lies of the world creep in on us.The doubts from our past whisper in our ears, telling us we aren't good enough. "You aren't worth it," they say. "Who would ever choose you? You are nothing more than the scum of the earth with no talent, wisdom, or love to offer anyone." We completely forget who we just realized we were. We forget our purpose.
To love and be loved by our Creator.
But along with forgetting our identity, we forget His.
By doubting our worth, we choose to believe what our imperfect society and peers say about us, putting our worth in their opinions rather than God's. Through this, our behavior says, "God, you were wrong in sending your Son to save me. I'm not worth it."
Now, stop for a moment and let that soak in.
While you're letting that settle and wondering if this is something new to mankind since our society has gotten so loud and opinionated, or if this is how it's always been, let me tell you a story.
There was once a man named Jesus. Jesus had a lot of people who loved Him and would follow His words to their death. But within those who followed him, He had twelve friends, and within the twelve there were three who were closest to Him. Among the three was one man. His name was Peter. Peter loved Jesus very much, and Jesus even told him that he would be the rock on which He built His church.
When betrayal entered the group, all of Jesus' friends fled, terrified of what would happen to them if they stayed with their Friend and Lord. All except for Peter, who followed Jesus at a distance, determined to stay with him even through this. But while he was watching and waiting for his Lord, someone came up to him and said, "Hey, you're one of Jesus' friends, aren't you?"
"No," he said. "I haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about. That's not me. That's some other Peter, but most definitely not me."
Okay, maybe that's not exactly how it went, but you get the idea. Peter, along with the rest of the disciples, completely forgot who he was. He forgot he was chosen. He forgot that he's so much more than this earthly body, this costume. He let fear enter his camp.
We try to justify fear, saying it keeps us safe. But it doesn't. Fear only makes us forget that we are already loved by our Father and the storm holds no threat over us.
Fear does not save. Fear only makes you forget what you already have.
But discouragement began to creep in, and I started measuring my worth based off what I could do. Again.
It was during that month of remembering who I was that I learned about this cycle and truly started to see it in my life as well as the lives of those around me. Remember, forget. Remember, forget.
Ironically enough, though, when you start to slip into that stage of forget, not only do you forget who you are, but you forget that this is a cycle!
It's so easy when you start to let the world dictate your worth to resent yourself for not feeling as free as you once did. You wonder what you did wrong to bring you to this low. You forget, then, that this is just a cycle.
Like any cycle, it will continue. You will remember again.
Whenever fear and doubt threaten to make you forget, stomp it out. Stand your ground and face that fear, saying, "Satan, you hold no power over me, for I am loved, chosen, and valued by my Father. And nothing will ever change that! Ever."
Do not allow fear to overtake you, dear ones. It holds no power over you.You are not alone. You have God on your side, and countless others, including Peter, who have all gone through this cycle of remembering and forgetting.
Keep your focus on the Lord. Even when you feel yourself forgetting, continue to dive deep into his everlasting love.
You will remember. I promise.