Hello, beloved 🙂 I hope you’ve been soaking in the reality of God’s fierce tenderness for the last week.
Have you been referring to yourself as the disciple whom Jesus loved? If you try, you’re bound to giggle at yourself. But I seriously recommend it. In fact, why don’t you add the following while you’re at it (expounding on the meaning of the word “beloved”):
I am esteemed by God and very dear to Him.
In fact, I am His favorite!
He has declared me worth knowing, worth loving and worth creating.
Try it. I’m serious. OK, don’t roll your eyes at me. I saw that!
I know a few of you think I’m absolutely crazy. But I dare you to speak these truths to yourself. Just try it.
You may wonder why I’m talking about this. And why on earth am I pressuring you all to speak these strange (but true!) things to yourself?
This is why.
I’m going to share with you an excerpt from when I first gave this talk to the campus ministry I directed back in 2004.
A little background:
First of all, I couldn’t believe God wanted me to talk about this. I had just started to discover these truths myself and had barely seen the tip of the iceberg, but I felt strongly God wanted me to talk about it.
Second, God didn’t want me just to share facts. He wanted me to share my experiences. Intimately, and transparently.
This was my first year as a campus missionary. It was my first year working with Alive in Christ.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I was still struggling deeply with depression, doubt, fear & insecurity.
In my talk, I posed the question: how does this knowledge [of being God’s favorite] change us? And how has it changed me?
This is, content unedited, what I said.
I’ve always struggled with feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and stupidity. It has been worse in the past year. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve begun to do something that doesn’t have a rule book, a step-by-step guide dictating “this is how you do it”. I don’t know if it’s because I’m putting myself out there, making myself more vulnerable. But I do know how it manifests itself – in negative self-talk and paralyzing feelings of inadequacy. I used to walk around thinking “Jesus loves even me.” Now instead, I tell myself “Jesus loves especially me.” The knowledge that I am Beloved changes how I treat myself, and in turn, changes the way I view others.
I believe when Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself”, He not only meant “don’t put others below yourself” but He also meant was “we can only love others as much as we love ourselves”.
I don’t have to all figured out. I continually need to allow the knowledge that I am Beloved to be a filter for my thoughts and my actions. Instead of letting my emotions and experiences dictate my worth, I allowed God’s acceptance of me and His love to dictate my worth.
Wow. I’ve come a long way since then.
When I wrote the above, that I was learning to allow “God’s acceptance of me and His love to dictate my worth”, I was probably only successful 10% of the time.
Now, I can honestly say that 98% of the time, being God’s favorite truly defines me and dictates how I feel about myself. I say 98% because I still have moments when it feels as if life is ganging up on me and I begin to question my worth. I had a moment yesterday and a few weeks ago, which reminded me that those moments are now few & far between.
This is why it’s important. If you begin to view yourself and others through the lens of being God’s beloved, you will be radically changed.
“The truth,” Henri Nouwen wrote in “The Life of the Beloved”, “even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace . . . We must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings, or passions to seduce us into self-rejection.”
If you truly believed that you are “beloved”, God’s favorite, and you lived out of that tender affection, how would that change you?
It’s time to find out. It’s time to start telling ourselves the truth about who we are in Christ.
How do you do this? Try some of these posts. Speak these truths to yourself. Speak them to others. Commit to telling yourself the truth about who you are and not believing the lies any longer.
Do you truly know the love of Christ? His acceptance? His favor?
Do you want to?
Does it affect every part of the way you live your life?
Rest in Him. Let Him transform you. Surrender to Him, and to His love.
Let this knowledge change you. Let Him change you.