My Confession

my confession - man praying before cross

I have a confession to make.

I see grace growing in my life.

I see an ability growing in my life to withstand loss and suffering. I don’t love it, but I can do it, and I do not fear it.

I see growing in my life, imperfectly but perceptibly, the capacity to be criticized and respond with unforced kindness and love.

I see in my life the beginnings of a genuine love and care for the one person I have never been able to love. Me.

I also see in my life areas of deep brokenness and darkness, with perhaps more clarity than I have ever seen them before. And yet they do not depress or discourage me, as I know one day they too will be forgiven, redeemed, and brought into the light.

I know this does not come from me, because it started at the very moment I ran out of me and seemingly had nothing left at all.

You might call it “conversion.”

You might call it “enlightenment.”

You might call it “sanctification.”

You might simply call it the dawn of “wisdom,” or even just a “change of heart.”

You might call it “God,” or the “fruit of the spirit.”

I don’t care what you call it. Heck, you can even call it “delusion” if you wish. It matters not to me.

But it is real, and it is coming alive in me, this nameless thing, this thing I do not wish to name, lest I make it into something it isn’t, or choose the wrong name and fail to call it what it is.

I do not claim to have arrived, or to be superior to anyone. Whatever this thing is in me that is growing, taking over, does not allow it. Just as I start feeling groovy about myself (which always happens when we start to believe we are growing), it pulls me back in, reminding me that I have nothing I was not given. It reminds me constantly that both God and I are, in some way I can’t explain, in every other person.

As I am able to love some I could not love before, to much more easily carry burdens I could never have carried before, I marvel in it, and rejoice in it, and thank the one from whom it comes. Because it brings freedom.

With each loss, each tear shed, each throwing up of the hands in frustration and holding them out to receive, I somehow end up with all I need, though it is nothing like what I thought I needed.

This is my “testimony.”

It’s not theology.

It’s not religion or dogma.

It’s not formal or forced.

Perhaps for some it won’t even be sufficient, but for me it is real, it is what I have, and it is enough.

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  • Kimi

    Thanks Dave, Always truthful and heartfelt. I often think of the saying “God only gives you what he knows you can handle” (and then add my own words) “when he knows you can and need to handle it.” It is amazing how amazing we can be if we just let it go isn’t it… As for being able to love ourselves, we are always our hardest judge and I very much appreciate your comment about what you tell your clients “…treat themselves as they would feel/act toward their closest friend/family member if they were struggling with the same issue.” I will try to remember this the next time I am beating myself up for missing something I think I should have seen. My heart loves
    keeping in touch with your heart!

    • I love you, Kimi. Thanks for being the sister I never had. I means a lot to me that you read the blog. Please spread this as far and wide as possible!!

  • Charlie

    Dave, as always a well-written, well articulated post. I appreciate the style in which you tell us where you are (which is exceptional) and gently challenge us to join you in the quest.

    Regarding self-love, I re-read your post several times. Not only do I want my clients to read this, I (like many others) also struggle with that. Perhaps for us older folks we were “taught” that loving self was somehow unchristian.

    Thanks for sharing from the heart.

    • Thanks, Charlie. Self-love is a tough subject, as Kevin noted in his comment. When I deal with clients, I encourage them to feel toward themselves and treat themselves as they would feel/act toward their closest friend/family member if they were struggling with the same issue, whatever it may be. I think that is reasonable self-love.

  • Kevin

    I have read many of your articles Dave and this one is the best one I’ve viewed thus far. When I first read it, I became teared up and left speechless. Your testimony is so moving, I texted someone I know about your article. You spoke of freedom. It’s great to hear that you have peace in a unpeacable world. Wow! Awsome testimony! To love one’s self can be very difficult. I know this from first hand experience. To walk with love and to forgive others brings a great deal of peace to me; however, not complete peace. You are in my prayers Dave and may God bless you on all your aspirations.

    • Thanks Kevin, this means a lot. Thanks for your faithful readership and being part of this little community.

  • Becky

    Beautiful testimony Dave! “…it started at the very moment I ran out of me and seemingly had nothing left at all.” This is always the place when great things happen. Pray you continue this journey of loving self and finding grace, truth, and love through the process.

  • Amanda Hamilton

    Amen Dave you always made the sermons in youth group oh so many years ago come alive.

    • So glad to be back in touch with you, Amanda! Thanks for reading.

  • Beth

    Wow. Dave, I have always loved your being real with me. You are a very special person to me and to others. Thanks for sharing, in return it is helping me to really look inside myself and to help me feel again. Love you

    • Beth — Thanks so much for reading, and I’m so glad you are coming alive!! That’s my hope for every person, and I know this “coming alive” is what Jesus meant when he talked about his intention to bring “abundant life” to us.

  • Pat Garnsey Fredell

    David, your clarity on issues of the spirit are beyond ordinary they are extraordinary! When my heart is heavy I read something you wrote and if lifts me. When my heart is full and happy I read something you wrote and it lifts me higher! There is a saying that what ever God brings you today is preparing you for tomorrow. Some days that scares the hell out of me and others I think I’ve got this. Whatever God brings to
    us He shared the gift of you with us, which no matter what lightens all the rest of our loads. Thank you for sharing and being honest with all you connect with you!

    • This is amazing. I don’t know what to say, Pat, except I love you, and thank you. Back at you.

    • Tonya D

      Pat,
      I could not have said it better! This blog uplifts me and helps me strengthen my faith and relationship with God. Dave, you are a blessing and an inspiration because you aren’t some stuffy, formal, hypocritical evangelist. You keep it real and transparent, encouraging us to do the same and join you in this work in progress called life. Thanks for great work–it is making a difference in the lives of many.

      • Thank you so much for your kind words. It is such an encouragement and I appreciate it so much. Please share my posts as widely as possible and help me get the word out. I’ll always be indebted to my readers who help me help as many as I can.

  • Gina Lawton

    You’re someone who’s helped me not lose faith, my friend. The pleasure is all mine ..

  • Gina Lawton

    Well said … and right beside you.

    • Thanks for reading, Gina, and for commenting here on the blog. Your support and faithfulness over the years have been a huge blessing to me.