(7 minute read)
I think the best moments of life often come while we are sitting around a table.
John Mark McMillan once said that none of the accomplishments of life, “feel as good as sitting across the table from somebody, telling a story, laughing a little, crying a little, raising a glass and hearing it go ‘ting’…”
I would agree with him.
The Table is where life happens. It’s where family gathers.
It’s where the worries of life fall away, at least for a while, and community gathers to bring Heaven to earth.
The Table is the symbol of the greatest thing about us, relationship.
For me, the past two years have been about realizing and recognizing that I have a place at the Table. Actually, it’s not just that I have a place, but that I belong there, next to my Heavenly Dad.
I needed this discovery.
Ever since I can remember, shame has been attached to my identity. I needed to know without a doubt, shame wasn’t who I was, even if I felt it was true. I needed to know that I could belong and still not yet believe it all.
At first, it was about discovering what the Table, itself, was. It was me curiously peeking around the corner into the room where the Table was, unsure if I was allowed to enter in. Even then, I was still that much more unsure if I could trust what was there. I couldn’t hear the conversation happening, but I heard the voices. I heard the laughter and the tears, and my heart cried out for that.
This turned into a few moments of me sheepishly entering and allowing myself to be vulnerable while I sat at the Table. I would hear the conversation that was taking place and I would even offer my voice to it; excitedly, in fact! Once I realized I had been vulnerable, though, I would retreat back to the darkness, alone. But I would always remember the feeling of deep belonging and freedom that came without shame while I was there.
Eventually, I realized the Table wasn’t just a place for once-in-awhile conversation, but that it always had an open spot for me, no matter what was going on. This was a foreign concept to me because in my eyes the only time I was allowed at the Table was when I was feeling “good enough” or when my life “looked the part”. Little did I know, the Table actually existed mostly for the times that I wasn’t feeling good enough, not for the days of great “self-identified success”.
You see, I thought in order to belong at the Table I first probably needed to clean myself up. And I thought to be “clean” meant I needed to be perfect. I misconstrued the love and acceptance of God to mean that He required perfection from me in order to be “allowed” in His presence. But that’s not true at all. It isn’t a matter of perfection or not, it’s a matter of trust. We are free to continually come and go from the Table. That’s what freedom means.
To be in His presence, in whatever state I am, is to be clean, because I am with Him. That’s a wild concept. It takes trust to believe it.
So now, the Table is where I go for everything. It’s the place I know I am the safest because my Father is holding my hand, and often times, holding me when I can’t hold myself.
The Table is where life is restored. It’s where business happens; and by business I mean Kingdom Business. It’s where our Father fights for us. He goes to war against our greatest enemy–the spirit of fear and shame that haunts us. And He lets us watch Him work. In fact, when He conquers our enemies, He calls it OUR victory. He speaks over us the truth of His love toward us. He sings His melody of grace over our identity. He dances with us, and He cries with us.
The Table is the safest place we could ever be. It’s where we are presented with the offer to be fully vulnerable. With full vulnerability comes the offer to be fully loved, too.
It’s as if God really means it when He says, “Let’s prepare a great feast and celebrate. For this beloved son of mine was once dead, but now he’s alive again!”
A child who grows up in the Kingdom understands his or her identity. They understand the power that is attached to their name because of who their Heavenly Father is. It’s the power to love and the power to choose, every day, that the Table is theirs and that they belong there.
Once we realize the Table isn’t condemnation, life changes.
We start to see those moments where we are gathered not as times of judgement, but as times of deep, deep refreshment and joy, no matter the circumstances of life. This Table is the place where our identity is renewed. It’s the place where the confidence in who He says we are is restored.
It’s our Home.
It’s a daily process for me to sit at the Table with my Dad, and often times I sadly choose not to partake in my destiny. But He doesn’t forget the promises He’s attached to my seat at the Table, even if I do sometimes. The days when I remember that I belong in His presence are the most amazing days, even if my life is a mess. It’s because I know I’m coming Home to my Dad and once I’m Home, He and I are going straight to the Table.
And at the Table He’s got a feast prepared for us to partake in.
“Quick, I can see him returning Home,” He says. “Bring me the best robe, my very own robe, I want to place it on his shoulders! Even bring the ring, the seal of sonship, and I will put it on his finger! And bring out the best shoes you can find for my son, He’s Home!”
Always in love,
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