God has once again asked me to read through the bible. Don’t let me give you the wrong impression; I have yet to read through the entire thing. I’ve tried three separate times and every time I gave up. I get caught up in the reading plan, and if I miss a day I feel like I have to read the day I missed and the day I am supposed to be on to catch up, and then the task just becomes too much and I give up. This time I’m reading through chronologically and I’m not beating myself up for getting behind. So far it’s working! I’ve missed some days, but I’ve kept going! I don’t always get through the entire day’s readings because something pricks my interest and I just have to look into it further. I’m finding out that this practice is great for me! It means I’m actually engaging with scripture rather than just trying to get through it.
Anyways, I’ve been reading the book of Exodus and every day becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of detail that has gone into explaining the construction of the tabernacle. Is it really necessary to have everything just so? I thought God was a God of grace, and yet in these chapters he seems to be a stickler for perfection. The image I get of God is as one of those high maintenance celebrities that needs everything covered in gold and only wants to see tapestries woven of the finest linens in purple, blue, and scarlet. This image of God doesn’t fit the God I have personally come to know and love. And I, being the imperfect sinner that I am, know that I must be looking at this from the wrong perspective, but I just can’t seem to flip perspectives in my head.
I was feeling pretty bad about myself the other day because I ate two donuts. I know that’s ridiculous, but I’ve made a vow to reveal the completely imperfect and broken essence of myself to you. It’s terrifying. But God told me if I do this and let go of my fear of what others think, my pride when others tell me what I should do, and all the other crap that I bring along with me, then He will reveal Himself to me and to others. I have no idea how, but that’s not my job to know. My job is to obey. So, here I am telling you about my two donut guilt.
It’s silly really. I had worked out the calories to eat these donuts and then I felt guilty for working out the calories because I was “falling back into my old ways”. These old ways had begun to give me the body I aspired to have, but not without a price: shame and guilt over everything I ate (Yup, even salad! You know, dressing and a crouton can completely RUIN your body! *Giant eye roll at myself* Goodness gracious!)
Anyways, I was feeling bad, so I decided to start re-reading the passion translation of Song of Songs. If you haven’t read this translation of this particular book of the bible, I urge to you stop everything you are doing and buy this book. Seriously, it has changed my life in so many ways.
The man behind the passion translation, Dr. Brian Simmons, explains that the Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) has become a book merely used to express sexuality and to teach of an appropriate relationship between husband and wife. Dr. Simmons continues to say in his introduction, “I believe the Holy Spirit has hidden within the Song of Songs an amazing story – a story of how Jesus makes his bride beautiful and holy by casting out her fear with prefect love. This sent-from-heaven revelation is waiting to be received with all its intensity and power to unlock the deepest places of our heart.”
(SERIOUSLY, READ THIS TRANSLATION!!! I sobbed the first time I read through the entire thing.)
Okay sorry, this is taking me forever. So, I was feeling bad about myself and I decided to go to the book of love letters that Jesus writes to me.
Song of Songs 1:5 (The Passion Translation) (Italics added by me)
[The Shulamite] (Me)
Jerusalem maidens (friends),
In this twilight darkness,
I know I am so unworthy – so in need.
[The Shepherd-King] (Jesus)
Yet you are so lovely!
I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents
Of the wandering nomads.
Yet you are so lovely—
Like the fine linen tapestry
Hanging in the Holy Place.
These verses brought me back to all of those pages in Exodus where God gives instructions on how to create the fine linen tapestry hanging in the holy place – All of those incessant details. And I understood! All those details, all that intentionality – those tapestries were super special, sacred even! Only the best craftsmen were called to make the tapestries in the holy place and only the best threads and linens were used. And I wasn’t even sure if Jesus was talking about the holy place that he held with the Israelites on earth or the HOLY PLACE in heaven. Can you imagine the beauty if it is the heaven version? But regardless, even the holy place with the Israelites was sacred, well crafted, intentional, special, and of great beauty.
Someone on Instagram posted something the other day that stuck with me: “She was a rainbow, but he was color blind.”
But in my case I thought of it this way, “Liz is a rainbow, but Liz is color blind.”
Lord, please open my eyes to see that many colors you have given me- the threads of scarlet, blue, and purple. Open my eyes to recognize the fine linens you have used to create me- your prized threads. Jesus, I thank you for making me beautiful. Thank you for revealing your intentionality to me – your attention to detail with every aspect of my being. I am so special to you. I am so special to you! Dear Jesus, I don’t understand how but I am so deeply special to you! Thank you! Your love fills me and overflows- A spring of the cleanest, coldest, and most delicious and thirst quenching water. I love you. I love you. I love you.