Growing up, I was always trying to belong. I wanted to be loved, enjoyed, and valued. I was looking for acceptance in high school and college. I learned to get lots of approval by helping, serving, and pleasing others.
But, helping and pleasing others was only half-fulfilling. So next, I started visiting churches and looking for deeper understanding. The preachers all said the same thing. Serve others. So, I became popular at church by helping, serving, and pleasing others. The Sunday message was often saying ignore yourself and just serve others.
What I wanted was a Jesus that would bring me peace, rest, and joy deep in my soul. They kept repeating just ignore yourself and focus on Jesus. But, what was I to do with my messed up emotional-soul program?
Finally, I started to study my own emotional system. I began talking to Jesus about fears, doubts, and shame. By inviting Jesus and the Holy Spirit into secret, dark places, healing began to occur.
Yes! Serve others. But you won’t experience peace, rest, and joy until you make him Lord of the dark, messed-up, inner places. Amen
PS I want a sermon titled, How to make Jesus Lord of your tormenting, ugly, secret, inner places. Ha