So much of life is spent trying to gain acceptance from others - our parents, friends, colleagues, children, even strangers.
We all want to be seen, known, and accepted, flaws and all.
Too often, acceptance feels elusive. And so we try to achieve it. We fit ourselves into molds that will gain acceptance from one group, and then squeeze ourselves into the too-tight expectations of another group. We wear masks in the hopes that we can convince yet another group that we are not who it appears we are, especially if the true version of ourselves might be rejected.
Working to gain acceptance is one of the most exhausting aspects of human behavior.
More folk than ever, it seems, are succumbing to the despair of never achieving even a modicum of the acceptance they want.
Even the way we frame up the Christian faith feels like another hoop we have to jump through just to be accepted by the very One who created us. One more exhausting race to run in the hopes that we can finally cross the acceptance finish line and take our rest.
How is that Good News?
But what if faith is not an acceptance marathon?
What if there are no hoops to jump through, no hurdles to jump over?
What if - in a deep kind of way - faith is about being fully accepted without having to run any kind of race at all?
Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr, says it best:
"Faith at its essential core is accepting that we are accepted."
Faith is ...
accepting (really accepting, once and for all)
that we (in all our glorious humanity)
are (forever and always)
What might your faith look like if you believed this?
How would this make you feel deep down in your soul?
How might it change your pace of life?
Your attitude toward God and religion?
Your attitude toward yourself?
I dare you, a few times this week or this weekend,
take a deep breath,
close your eyes
and whisper to yourself:
"I am fully and completely accepted by God. There is nothing more I need to do."
Try that on for size.
See if your soul doesn't expand just a little bit.
See if your spirit settles just a little bit.
See if your heart feels just a little bit lighter in your chest.