I find life extremely confusing. So I have the tendency to fall back on trusting the “experts” in specific areas. Tell me what to do; I’ll do it.
So many godly women who I respect write in inspiring books that I need to see myself the way God sees me. I need to gain my sense of identity from who God says I am. So I daily try.
The first thing you should know about God is that God is love. God loves me. So, step one: love myself the way God loves me.
The right thing to do is to love me. So I will, even as I am ashamed of myself and annoy myself to the ends of the earth some days. The way a sister “loves” her obnoxious brother who won’t leave her alone. Not with much “like” but with a fair share of dutiful “love.”
I know that kind of love. It’s often the way I “love” my neighbor to follow biblical commands.
And it’s the way I love myself when told to find my identity in God. Because that’s how I imagine God loving me; constantly annoyed at my sins, frustrated at my daily betrayal of him, fed up with my failures, but–since he IS love–being helpless to do anything but love me.
I know so deeply that God is love and that, in turn, he must love that I begin to see love as dutiful, not a passionate desire. I see God up in heaven “loving” me, while also finding me quite the annoying little disrespectful creature.
To be honest, this perspective does make it easier to love myself the way God loves me; to gain my sense of identity from how He defines me. I’m pretty good at just putting up with myself.
However, this perspective, this sense of identity, does very little to connect me with God, to give me confidence in my daily life, nor to approach life from a more Heavenly viewpoint. I do not become more the woman I want to be when this perspective is my ambition.
A sermon at church this summer stuck with me for months, when the speaker claimed “In your pursuit to make God like you, you lost sight of the truth that God chose to give his son for you. God does not need to love you. There was not some rule written for God that he had to save you.”
What do you mean, God does not have to love me? God is love! And then I realize that God did not have to create the world. He did not have to make me. He did not have to send his son to die. The only rules God must abide by are the rules that he set for himself–rules that are less so rules and more so actions of inherent, internal, everlasting desire that have been, are, and will remain (which is why they look like rules to us).
God decided to create man, to send His son to die for man, to love me….because he desires me. Granted, in no way am I claiming that love is solely passionate desire–heck no! Has anybody else dutifully memorized 2 Corinthians 13; the “love” chapter? I know love is not based in emotion.
And yet… yet love begins, ends, and is filled with desire. I want to believe that: that God does truly, genuinely have a desire for us–for me. That perspective, I feel, would change my life. That perspective would affect how I view myself. How I live. How I treat others.
I’m not confident in how to truly believe that truth. And yet I know it starts with understanding that truth in theory. So that’s where I am going to start.
Here is the truth that I will hold on to: not only does God love me; God actually likes me.