Not 1% Less

So I want to share with you a journey I have had in the lasts few years.  It began in a bad place.  It really didn’t have to be that bad but there was one move I made that I will not make again.

People make mistakes.  Maybe you never have.  Maybe you have never made the wrong decision or never said something hurtful to anyone or said anything negative behind someone’s back.  Maybe.

It all began when I made a series of mistakes.  I concluded something and it was the wrong conclusion, which led to the wrong behaviors.  I can’t change that and I’m okay with that now.  But that’s not my point in this article, what I did that I will never do again, is turn my back on myself.

I have become very familiar with these thoughts inside our heads that will replay mistakes, or wrong words, or wrong conclusions.  At first I believed them because I thought they were true.  For example, I was wrong, therefore I should like myself less.  This equation is not true in heaven.

I was wrong!  And it really affected people.  And I still have permission to love myself today!  I thought I was worth being thought less of.  In a way, I was punishing myself because I thought that’s what I deserved.  I questioned myself and doubted my partnership with God.  BUT did you know there are no mistakes in heaven?!?!

Did you know that maybe I was setup to experience this whole in my character so that God could build a new thing there??  Learning requires humility to not know something to begin with.  All of these things are okay and never have to involve the self-destruction of shame, guilt, condemnation, or exclusion.

Did you know God still loves you and values you?  He never thinks less of you based on this learning journey you are on??  Did you know he speaks of your value, your worth, and your ability to always brush yourself of and dive right back into life.  SO….

In conclusion, you may be having other thoughts.  Even small incremental thoughts that get you to like yourself just a little bit less, maybe even one percent.  I don’t believe these thoughts anymore.  None of them.  For any conversation, presentation, appearance or decision.  Not one percent less.  They are not from heaven, and God will rebuild in your life, wherever you tear yourself down.  I will not partner against his work any longer.

You and I walk with a breastplate of Christ’s righteousness on that doesn’t let any accusing arrows through.  Not one.  There is no hole in his righteousness, no gap, no interruption, or weakness.  His righteousness is a perfect FREE GIFT that I have experienced more now than ever before.  Do not make room for any thoughts about yourself that get you to like yourself even one percent less.  They are not from Him.




Above all and before all I must expound on this thing you can’t see but everyone believes in: love.  We know it and talk about it, whether we have it or lack it or desire it, or reject it; love.  Everyone thinks they know what love is but few remember ever being taught by someone in a conversation or a class what it is.  Lust masquerades as it and vanity pretends to earn our worthiness of it, but oh love.

Relationships of marriage or dating sometimes exist without it.  All of us at one point were prompted by our hearts to attempt it or hope for it with someone.  My speculation is that love is like a galaxy.  There are certain exchanges or experiences that emulate love and we think we’ve obtained it.  We experience it to some degree in this relationship or that and we settle inside even though we are left thirsty for something more.  But there is this epicenter of love himself that quenches every longing.

No matter how wonderful your relationship has progressed with God or another human being, my speculation is that love is even better than our brains and emotions on this side can fathom.  How many times has a quote or person done something of love and it pulls your mind and heart from somewhere else it drifted to back into that living reality that you are loved.  I love love.  I love its smell, the indestructibleness of it, the softness of its care, the maturity of its nature.


In its base form between humans, I would say love is wishing well for somebody and participating to make that happen, to whatever degree.

Love for others, however, is never self-demeaning but is entirely selfless.  These two are different and I’m sure I will probably refer to this idea specifically another day in this writing collection.  Moving on.

Let me clarify one uncompromisable attribute of love.  Love is only ever unconditional.  This is best revealed when trust is broken, expectations are not met, and failure ensues, both with others, God, or yourself.  Often times it is hard to continue forward after one of the above events.  The thing I love about love is that it gets dirty.  Love has no regard for self-preservation.  It will hold onto nothing in order to preserve the one thing important—the connection.  This is love.

A mutual deal based on expectations is also not love.  You will do X, Y, and Z so I will be for you or give you X, Y, and Z.  This is all too common.  You will wash the dishes, stay thin, pay the mortgage, put out, if I keep looking the other way, take care of the kid, keep the cash flow going, stay normal, etc, etc, etc.  Let me explain something.  Love relationships—family and friends—make these kind of shared responsibility arrangements, but they are a byproduct of a love exchange, not the agreement upon which they hinge.  Those are two different things.

The unfortunate part about living our lives on this journey of knowing love more and more often involves us experiencing the broken trust, expectations not being met, and failure.  Unfortunately, we must experience these things in order to cross beyond the line of fear one naturally walks in when we are young in love.  You try not to go outside of others norms and you work hard to meet the expectations of the ones loving you.  It is hard to find out where love is not.  Sometimes when we don’t meet expectations or walk in failure, the other person is unable to show love towards us.  In all actuality, they really do probably love you but they themselves haven’t experienced love’s unconditional nature and therefore are unable to continue to show it.

Let me discuss a little bit more about our divine failure process.  This is the hard road that I would say most humans find themselves taking, it’s called Humility.  You see, when we still believe we earn love, we find ourselves justified in receiving it.  I made myself pretty enough, I practiced this set of religious rules faithfully enough, I clean enough, cook enough, bite my tongue enough.  This will never due.

The thing about God is that we are not God.  We are one in spirit with him, incarnate in Christ in the trinity even, but none of this was accomplished by our own working.  I never reconciled myself to Christ.  He reconciled himself to me.  I could go on and on about this but my point is that part of the human process of love is learning to receive it from God without condition, not only from him and sometimes others, but also from yourself.

After learning God liked me a lot, he invited me to like others with him, family, the poor, strangers, etc.  Then he invited me to like the people who broke my expectations that I didn’t know I still had.  He invited me to love rapists, hookers, pimps, crack dealers, mentally ill, pedophiles, and murderers.  Yes look them in the eye and love them knowing full well everything they did or are still doing and serve them, help them, praise them, and give to them.  This helped teach me about the unconditionality of God.  He even lovingly offended my righteous piousness in all my saintly service one day by saying, “I love them as much as I love you.”

Oh, I still have so gloriously much to learn about this awesome God who is himself this love with which I am in love.

Love Grows Beyond Failure

The next unconditionality lesson was much closer to home and so much harder to bear.  I had expectations in my relationship with God that I didn’t realize I had.  I knew he loved me.  And my attempting-to-be-obedient self was loving myself, but not quit so unconditionally.  I had never been as good at that one, often struggling with condemnation, self-hatred, shame, rejection, etc.  But if someone asked me if I loved myself I would have most assuredly said yes, and I really did (there’s that galaxy thing again, with areas of love floating around this epicenter of goodness)!

I failed at my own expectations in my relationship with God.  Both in obedience to Holy Spirit on a repeated basis to the point of ignoring him, and giving into temptation of the heart in a very real and destructive way, and again decidedly quitting to do the very thing he sent me to do somewhere.  If I were God I would have fired me already.  I spent plenty of time blaming God, others, myself and everyone else in a wonderful display of self-justification that only revealed how scared I truly was.  I must not be guilty because in my mind that meant I was no longer worthy of love.  From myself and from God.  I think I quit loving myself first after these things happened in an attempt to beat him to the punch because I thought that’s what I deserved, that’s what should happen to me from him.

I’m happy to say that years later, he still loves me!  And I love myself again!  Whew, that was one rough and bumpy road that I could still shed tears about on command even today.  It’s not to say there wasn’t real loss that happened.  In relationships, opportunities, joy, peace, service, etc.  It’s not that everything patched itself up again, things got burned, but there are some things I’ve gained that survive fire.  Wisdom being one of them.  Self-acceptance being another.  Freedom from condemnation and self-examination.  Freedom to breathe in my relationship with God.  More of what his love is really like towards me.  An even greater appreciation and celebration that everyone in the church calls failures.  Like religious leader’s failures.  They’re for sure going to hell, right?  At least we can judge them, right?  Those hypocrites right?  Or does God still love them?  And is he filled with goodness towards them and hope for their life and celebration of all the times they have believed him and said yes to things he was inviting them into.

And it’s not that I’m justifying anyone’s sin because it makes me feel better about my own poor choices.  By no means.  It’s that God had to relentlessly pound on my door of failure that had shut him out because he wasn’t content being so distant on the other side of it anymore.  As a loving father he does not tolerate well the hell we place ourselves in.

I remember when he initiated the healing process for me.  It had been some time in hearing his voice inside me the way I once had.  He began with the words, “You are holy.”  You see, we get so wrapped up in this physical realm.  So blinded by it.  His kingdom is unseen and transcends all your human experience.  Love only ever originates from him.  And it is only ever free.  He will make sure we understand that.  Deep inside our hearts in the places it whispers and we barely hear it ourselves.

You Can’t Escape It

We are nothing less than the value he has given us.  We cannot undo this.  That is one freedom he did not grant his free children.  You do not possess within you the ability to undo God’s love for you.  If you allow yourself to believe it, he would love to show you himself that way.

Love is who God is.  It is who he is today and it is who he will be tomorrow.  He will never stop being love.  When judgment day comes do you think he will really take off his hat of love, set it down on the table next to him, and damn the world but a few who were scared enough not to break the rules?  Christ’s death bore the punishment for all your sins.  All of them, in all of punishment’s consuming entirety.  Do not expect to lose love.  Ever.  For God cannot cease to exist.  And you my friend have no ability to exist, in this realm, or the next apart from him.

Did you know that I love you?  Do you know that I care?
Did you know I love you?  Did you know that I’ll always be there?

—spontaneous song by Joel

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love


50 Conclusionary Thoughts (from life experience)


  1. Salvation is not earned, it is a gift.
  2. God loves everyone more than we can fathom, not just a small group of religious people who earn special entitlement (still taught in the church today)
  3. The practice of spiritual gifts is not more important than the practice of love.
  4. Operating in power is not necessarily more powerful than operating in faithful love.
  5. Expression (creativity in any form) can be an act of worship and is free from failure because the purpose is in the expression.
  6. God can repair anything that appears unrestorable.
  7. God can carry you through something you can’t carry yourself through.
  8. God can make beauty from ugliness.
  9. Many of the most precious things in life never draw attention to themselves.
  10. Sometimes things that revolve around lots of attention are rooted in brokenness and unhealthiness.
  11. God cares more about our inward peace than our outward performances.
  12. Relationships based on expectation aren’t based on love.
  13. Different seasons of our lives can feel like completely different lifetimes and aren’t always meant to be resurrected once they’ve passed.
  14. God has the ability to keep me better than my ability to keep myself.
  15. God only is ever acting out of love towards me.
  16. I can always trust God completely, including with absolutely everything, right now.
  17. Money has never been a good enough reason to direct the course of my life.
  18. Risk on the side of courage, fearlessness, and failure rather than on the side of safety, self-protection, and the approval of others.
  19. God has never asked us to worry and never will.
  20. God lives extravagantly.
  21. God doesn’t love the church because she’s earned it.
  22. Lack of understanding is not cruel, it is freedom and a fertile land for growing trust.
  23. Remembering our forgiveness really can make any cloudy day bright.
  24. The most selfless people on the planet have the titles “Mom” and “Dad”.
  25. Everyone is worthy of love.  No matter their religion, location, looks, or titles.  No one has earned it.
  26. God really does know the intimate details of our lives.
  27. Some christian movements that have drifted into maintenance of works or divisive theology began with the strong, simple message of God’s love.
  28. Love listens.
  29. You are meant to enjoy being alive.
  30. God can take any negative influence in our life and make it a place of liberty and strength.
  31. Belief in Jesus is coming into the realization of the truth that he loves us.
  32. Being understood feels good but is largely inconsequential in life.
  33. All things are heading towards the unveiling of God’s goodness.
  34. Eliminating the desire and the need to control other’s words, actions, or choices is your first step towards loving them.
  35. The root of control is ultimately fear, not love.
  36. Nothing can replace the experience of God’s love in our lives.
  37. Your value in God’s eyes never had its origins in your perceived productivity in his kingdom.  He has already given you his love for free, not as a reward for works.
  38. God does not love in gradients or degrees, it is who he is.
  39. Feeling bad about something does not earn your forgiveness for it.
  40. God’s gift to humanity is people.  The people in our lives are a gift to us.
  41. Love is not motivated by fear.
  42. Your relationship with your family is more telling than the accolades of strangers.
  43. God created people to fall in love.  With him and with one another.
  44. Let yourself be happy.
  45. Let yourself change.
  46. You are really forgiven, live as such.
  47. Play is one of the secret weapons of living.
  48. God is good company if we let ourselves simply enjoy him.
  49. Yesterday and tomorrow have no right to steal from today.
  50. God helps us become friends with ourselves and helps us stay that way.



Who God is Not


God is not a feeling of rejection telling you you don’t measure up and just aren’t good enough

God is not the one who continually brings up your past accompanied by feelings of bitterness, regret or shame

God is not the one telling you you deserve to be treated poorly, with persistent difficulty and grief

God is not the one who has left you, abandoned you, is very close to giving up on you, and disqualifying you

God is not the one telling you you have never been good enough and never will be

God is not the one calling you fat, ugly, stupid, and unwanted

God is not the one causing you to fear and have anxiety and worry unto dread

God is not he one telling you you need to figure it out on your own and fix yourself up already

God is not the one who says everyone else has a right to dream but you shouldn’t waste the energy

God is not the one telling you you are too far gone, hardened, unloving, and dried up

God is not telling you to expect terror, collapse, hatred and violence

Abusers, cowards, and thieves deserve to be called out for what they are and the lies they perpetuate to steal joy, peace, love, and faith.  God gives empowerment, inner-peace, and love inwardly and outwardly.  His reign is indestructible, unmovable, unshakeable and seeks the liberty, freedom, and strength of each one of his children.

You do not have to tolerate any longer negative self-talk, destructive or discouraging ways of thinking, or anything that undermines your worth, your value, and your right to exist and succeed here today.  Liberty is yours my friend and anything less is a sham.

Peace and trust are two things so much more powerful than they are given credit for; they conquer and overcome all doubt, hesitation, uncertainty and whimpering.  They break apart fear, control and manipulation, and illusions of terror.  The word terror itself is the fear of something rather than anything that has substance in and of itself.  Peace is not passive.  Live apart from any enemy tolerated within your midst and TRULY LIVE.