The little church that I attend now is quiet and very non-demonstrative compared to my past church life experiences. Actually, most churches could be considered non-demonstrative in comparison. I see deep value in both styles and I am slowly falling in love with my new church family. (The "slowness" is all on me. They have welcomed me with open arms. I have just been reluctant to walk completely into those arms.) I am thankful for their patience with me, and have been on both sides of this kind of relationship.
I do not attend every Sunday. I am one of THOSE. Again, it feels weird to be that kind of person. The one who shows up sporadically to random services and church events. I never used to understand "those" people and now I am one.
But today I went to church. I got myself dressed up in nicer clothes than my work t-shirts and jeans, drove around the block from my house and walked through those church doors. I looked into the eyes of the people walking towards me and was embraced by a friend that I work with at the preschool.
I muted my phone and took a seat near some ladies from the book club that I attend once a month. The pastor came and chatted with me for a minute about the school and some changes that are coming up in the next year. Another friend came and teased me about a mutual situation we are in.
I sat down again feeling known, accepted and loved. With a deep breath I thanked God for loving me enough to push me into relationships that scare me.
And one of the first songs led by the "blueGrace Band" was the song at the top of this blog post. All about the overwhelming love of God...
"Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God."Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson , Reckless Love lyrics © Bethel Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
I closed my eyes, lifted my hands and basked in His love. Tears came and I did not want the song to end. I smile now as I realize that this revealed another difference from my past church life. This song would have been sung at least 5 or 7 more times in row! Haha! We did believe in getting everything out of a song or message that we could! :)
Some people get upset at the use of the word "reckless" in this song. (Sheesh!) I love it, but the word that always sparks my heart is the word "overwhelming".
That is not a safe and secure word. That is a word that means out-of-control, not normal, unexpected, huge! To be overwhelmed is not all comfy and sweet. It is not carefully contained or bordered. It's a "swept off my feet" kind of word, isn't it?
The overwhelmed word makes me think of standing in the ocean when an unexpected wave hits you and at the same time the wet sand beneath your feet gives way and you find yourself floating and tumbling in the water. I've known this experience and it isn't all fun and games until you manage to right yourself again and then you laugh. But being overwhelmed by a crashing wave is an amazing and exhilarating sensation!
If you let it, His love can be like that. God's love for you is not gentle, meek or mild. It is powerful and can feel relentless. He loves you with all of His being. How big is that? He loves you with all of the power of creation. How much is that?
The love of God can tumble you upside down and around until you are laughing and gasping for air. He will set you back on your feet and then blindside you again with His love from a whole different direction when you are not looking.
If I have any advice to give; it will be the same thing I am talking to myself about. Let Him love you. Say "Yes!" to His big love. Stop protecting yourself from His reckless love. Walk wholeheartedly into those arms. Go ahead and allow the embrace. Tumbles may happen, but you will come up laughing.
Overwhelmed by Him,