Abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
– 1 John 2:28
It started as a child.
It haunted me through school. Sometimes it still comes in the night, when darkness covers my heart and whispers to my mind the three little words I hate:
You’re a failure.
I’ve never felt worthy of anything in my life. It wasn’t my family’s fault. I had wonderful, supportive parents who were always been there for me. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally.
The inner whispers began in grade school. We moved around a lot, and I was in and out of schools around the country. It fed a growing sense of lostness as I was shuffled from town to town and from school to school. In my nightmares I found myself sitting in class, dressed only in my underwear.
Naked and ashamed.
The sense of unworthiness became full-blown in high school as my worst fears of inadequacy were validated by the cruel daily gauntlet I ran in the halls. I was always the one who didn’t get the memo, the one left standing outside the circle of connectedness that drew in everyone else. Frantic to be accepted, I often made a fool of myself in front of others as I tried to mimic what made the Cool People so cool.
Each night I lay in bed and listened to the whispers. I made mental lists of all the mistakes I had made, all the ways I had shamed myself in my search for belonging.
I didn’t know my sense of being lost was not related to my social status but to an awakening sense of my spiritual condition.
My soul had fallen to the wolves because I had no knowledge of my Protector. The mournfulness in my heart was my subconscious cry for my Creator, for the Savior I so desperately needed. Nothing else satisfied my yearning for completeness because only God could complete me. Only He could cover me and make me worthy.
And He did. When I reached out to Him, He tore up my list of failures and welcomed me into His circle. He showed me how much He understands me, inside and out, and He loves me. Because He loves me, He commands me to stay within the circle, connected to the source of life. He says, “Abide in Me.” (John 15:7)
What does it mean to “abide?” It means to stay connected to Him, to live where He has planted me, to respect the boundaries He has placed around my life. It would be a tragedy if He returned and found me living in a place that brought shame to His name. Because I am His child, and because I wear His name, I want to be found living in integrity.
We live in desperate days.
The temptation to compromise is strong. His call to each to us, His people, in this hour, is to remain rooted in our faith.
Wherever God has placed you, abide.
Stay connected to the source of life flowing with such vitality through your veins. You never know when He will return for you. When that day arrives, may He find you bearing fruit as you eagerly watching the skies. May your heart leap with joy at the sight of His beautiful face. May you meet with confidence the one who has cleansed you and clothed you and given you everlasting life.
If you abide in Him, you will never be ashamed.