Confession: There is fear in writing something like this because I am no theologian but I am learning to say things that not everyone will like or agree with and that's a good thing.
I was talking to my dear friend, Brooke, and we were talking about our weekends and I told her that I'd had a revelation over the weekend and it was this: When I look back at the past 10 years of following Jesus, I see that even despite my failings and my disobedience and despite choosing comfort and selfishness much too often, I hear Jesus more clearly and know him better today than 10 years ago. Brooke agreed and felt the same way.
This amazes me because ten years ago, I "performed" so much better than today. I was a leader in our college ministry and I did my little daily quiet times a certain way and I went to college events and outreaches. I was really going for it. Today, I am often elbow-deep in poop and, because Adam is working 3/4ths of Sundays, we are not even in a small group right now (gasp!). Between then and now, I've had seasons of apathy & laziness, not taking time to seek His face. I've had seasons of idolatry, thinking that comfort or losing weight or whatever would be really satisfying. But despite it all, despite me, the Lord has pulled me closer and closer to his heart. He is speaking more clearly and I am seeing Him more and more.
This leads me to the following conclusion: Scripture is true. His mercies are new every day. He is faithful even when I am faithless. Any good thing in me is because of Him. Jesus did not come to condemn me but to bring me freedom and nearness to the Father!
In fact, about 3 weeks ago, I had a "gray area" decision to make (a decision that was not wrong in and of itself) and I heard clearly from the Lord that this was not for me. In fact, every time I'd ask him, the first thought that'd pop in my head was a gentle "No, babe. This is not for you."
But I ignored it in a fit of optimism and I went down the gray area path for 2 weeks before I turned back and said "no" to it. I felt so dumb. Why didn't I just listen in the first place and save myself the time and stress of saying "yes"? I was kind of beating myself up about it and something in me felt like I had to build up my rapport with the Lord again before He would speak again or trust me again or even bless me. Then, this weekend, I heard the Lord really clearly and was able to encourage someone who was struggling. I felt so humbled. After all, I hadn't been "performing" well. And once again, it's clear:
His mercies are new every day. It's his grace and kindness that lead me and not my performance that earns His grace.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10) and that voice that tells you that you have to build up your rapport with God before you draw near to Him is a lie. Behold, He stands at the door and knocks now (yes, even with all your junk!). Life and freedom are in his hands and joy and peace are found in his presence.