Today I’m joining Bonnie Gray’s Faith Jam Thursdays at Faith Barista on the topic “beloved.” At first when I read that word, I wasn’t sure it had anything to do with me. But pretty quickly I realized it did. I shared with last week’s Faith Jam that I have a bad habit of trying to work to please God. And I believe one of the reasons “still” is my One Word this year is because God is reminding me to be still and trust He loves me as I am. That I’m already beloved.
I know that with my head, but sometimes I don’t know that with my heart.
In the years since really recommitting my life to Jesus and figuring out what the heck it means to follow His footsteps, I’ve been trying to be good enough. As if He needed me to prove I was worth saving.
Not just that, but my heart yeaaaaaaaarns to share God’s love and hope with women who have been through chronic illness, traumatic events, financial hardship, and tough times, but I’ve spent the last five years thinking I’m not there yet. I’m not good enough yet to help in the ways I want to help.
Enter again: enough. When Jesus allowed Himself to be hung on that cross, He did it because He loved us just as we are. Before we were ever “good enough” we were beloved by Him.
When I was going through illness I struggled with a lot of emotions, and one of those was learning to love myself as I was instead of as I had been. I had to learn to accept that I was beloved, even when I lost my memory, lost my smarts, lost way too much weight, lost my social life, and lost my best laid plans. I had to accept that whatever God had planned for me was better than I could ever plan or foresee for myself. And in losing myself, I found myself.
Becoming the Beloved of Christ’s involves the pain of finding your voice — during times when others cannot hear it clearly or understand it fully. – Bonnie Gray, FaithBarista.com
So why is it then, now that I’m in better health, I find myself falling back into bad habits? Trying to prove to God once again that I was worth saving. That by healing me (and continuing to heal me over and over again) He didn’t waste His time.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working on ourselves to be better examples of what it is to know Christ. Lord knows, being still doesn’t mean I’m putting my Bible down, stopping the blog, and sitting on my couch waiting for what comes my way (though I am spending a lot of time on my couch watching every single episode of Downton Abbey in a row, but that stays between us). If anything, being still means I want to pick up my Bible more, be willing to put myself out there more (like blog linkups like this one), and re-centering on what matters most: knowing I’m loved by our Most High and sharing it with others. Just as I am.
Now isn’t that the liberated kind of life He came to give us all along?
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10b (NLT)
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:36 (NLT)
In stilling the voices in our head that tell us we’re not there yet and we’re not quite good enough, we can find we are truly enough now, just by virtue of what He’s done. We are beloved. What if all of us love ourselves for who we are and then live those lives out loud, confidently believing that God loves us more than we could ever imagine for who we are? What if that causes other women to believe God loves them for who they are, too?
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
– Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
p.s. Speaking of putting ourselves out there and knowing we’re loved as we are, (in)courage – one of my absolute favorite websites in the world – is giving us an opportunity to come together as we are and enjoy community with their (in)Real Life conference. Last year I chickened out, because the idea of joining a bunch of women online just seemed … a lot. But this year I’m going for it, and now that I’m signed up I couldn’t be more excited. Would you join (in)RL too so we can all encourage and love each other as we are?
p.p.s. To join the Faith Jam or to read the amazing submissions by others, click the button below!
These ladies took the words right out of my heart and said them beautifully:
Named by Ordinarily Extraordinary
Be Still, Be Loved by Sandra Heska King
New Name: Beloved by Faithful Firefly
I’m sure there are more I’ll discover soon!