the bridal paradigm and the mask that was lifted
Sometimes I feel as if I’m wearing a mask. Like I have two different lives. It’s crazy but often common when it comes to others as well. Nobody is confident in themselves. Being at the House of Prayer and listening to guys like Mike Bickle, Allen Hood, Dave Sliker, Daniel Lim, Dana Candler, and all of the other teachers at IHOP in Kansas City they have this wonderful paradigm (a system of belief or view) of God. He is Bridegroom, King, and Judge. His passion for us is that of a Bridegroom rejoicing over his bride. His authority is that of a King for he is king of all the ages. He is a judge for he will Judge the nations in the Last Days. He does not suspend one attribute to exercise another. He is all the time Bridegroom, King and Judge. He sees all, knows all, hears all, and does all.
I am all of a sudden faced with a new reality. I knew of the King and Judge. But the BRIDEGROOM! As a guy I am kinda made uncomfortable thinking of myself as a bride, i don’t look as myself as one but at the same time the King of the Ages wants to romance my heart. As it says in Song of Solomon 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for his love is better than wine. Most people would mock me saying that I am gay and in love with a man. But this is so much more than that. This is not a sexual relationship and our carnal mindsets don’t go much farther than sex which is sad to say. It’s a travesty. It’s a deep, intimate, personal relationship with a God who not only desires to have me, but who likes me and loves me where I’m at and WANTS TO SPEND TIME WITH ME!!! I don’t have to change who I am, alter my personality or do anything to change who I am to hang out with the King of the Ages!
Which brings me to another reality, Why do I feel I have to change myself to fit other people’s criteria of who I should be? My whole life was based on the paradigm of “If I can change this about myself maybe people will like me.” That was the most socially disastrous thing I have ever done to myself and all I recieved from it was a nagging pain every night, sleepless nights, few friends, and NO CONFIDENCE IN GOD OR MYSELF. I began to think of myself as horrible because I started to view myself as a failure, a misfit, a weirdo, an outcast, a downright can’t do anything right and knew it kind of guy. So guess what I go the other way. I extrovertedly lash out. I become tempromental, excited, subject to mood swings like a woman during PMS, and looking back on those days I look on with regret but God is good all the time Amen?
Sunday during the SMF (Sunday Morning Fellowship) at the HOP (House of Prayer) I felt the Lord place his hand on my face and lift something off my face. I all of a sudden I felt so naked and got my friend to take over the sound booth for me (it was my week in the booth) and hid behind the booth away from everybody and covered my face. I was ashamed to look at myself and more ashamed to have anybody else look at me. I never felt so ashamed of myself and my behavior. My weaknesses were on display for the world to see. My good parts, my bad parts, my sucess, my failure, my wants, needs, past, future, and present were all placed on a wall like a mural. I felt God touch me on the shoulder and smile at me and say “Tim, I like it!” I said “God, I hate it, I’ve failed so much I struggle so much with everything!” But he told me this, “Tim, I made you who you are for a reason, I love the struggle, I love the times you try and fall flat on your face. I don’t care if you strike out, but did you go down swinging giving it everything you got? Like Jacob who wrestled with me and was changed forever in name, body, mind and soul, I want to do the same to you. My question is, are you willing to struggle and fail just for the purpose of showing myself in your life? Are you willing to count the cost? Are you willing to live one life and live it out in the open?”
I have always desired to be pure in heart. It’s a goal of mine. Pure in the sight of God and man. John Stott defined it as “One who is pure is single, single of mind, single of heart with no addition, no mixture, nothing added.” He later says “What blessedness has one who lives this life, one life and lives it out in the open!” This I desire to be before God and man. Who can ascend the hill of the Lord, Who may stand in his holy place? But he that has clean hands and a pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4
So ladies and gentlemen… I present to you…. me. No mask, nothing hidden, good qualities and faults on display for all to see. Some will like it. Some will not. But God likes me not matter what.