I am a recovering addict. Not to liquor, cigarettes, or even coffee. My drug of choice?
I long to feel “seen” — for someone to call me out: “You. Out of all the others, I choose YOU.”
I’ve been willing to do anything for this “drug” that makes me feel so full for the briefest moment, only to leave me emptier than it found me.
All my life I’ve lived for approval: craving, needing people to say I was good enough. My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t give someone a reason to stay. That they’d discover the truth I hid so thoroughly: I wasn’t enough, and then they’d leave.
It was the same way with God. If I knit my brow together and prayed hard enough, read my Bible long enough, served in enough ministry, then maybe I could prove to God I was a worthy daughter. Maybe I could somehow earn the love He gave so freely.
One evening my pastor and his wife challenged me, “Tiffany, I think you’re wearing a mask with God.”
Stunned, I sat silent for a few moments, wondering what on earth that meant. I didn’t realize I was living a performance-based Christianity. I knew I was saved by faith, yet still felt like I had to prove myself to God. I had a hard time accepting, deep down, that my identity and worth came not from what I did, but from what He had done.
When I retreated to my bedroom that night, I began pacing, trying to “make something happen” by praying hard enough. Deep down, I sensed the Lord’s gentle call to stop, to be still, to just be with Him. I turned on the song “Oh How He Loves” and let it play on repeat as I stretched out face-down on the floor.
For 45 minutes I hardly said a word. I didn’t read or pray or sing; I just laid there. His love washed over me: healing, beautiful love. A love I could never earn. A love I didn’t deserve — but there it was anyway.
As this sweet, sweet time drew to a close I sensed His inaudible whisper:
“I just want you to be with Me.”
Don’t misunderstand; the disciplines of the Christian faith are essential. I read my Bible and pray daily, but it’s no longer an attempt to prove something to God. I’m learning that my identity comes not from what I do, but from what He has done once and for all at Calvary. I can rest in His completed work, rather than striving in a constant performance.
Slowly He has taught me that I have nothing to prove. He simply wants me to be with Him.
I am a recovering addict — recovering because I still long to be known; recovering because I’ve discovered that I already am known. I revel in quiet hiddenness, because it’s here that I know the depth of my Father’s love for me.
It’s here that I’m already seen.
Genesis 16:13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”
Tiffany Dawn teaches “Intro to Songwriting” and “Music Careers” at The Potter’s School. Author of The Insatiable Quest for Beauty, Miss Robison resides in upstate New York when she is not traveling on book and speaking tours. She has a love affair with long walks, raspberry chai, and everything CIA. (Seewww.tiffanydawn.net.)