When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

 

Maybe it’s a silly notion. Though I’m sure we’ve all felt it.

 

Unworthy. Undeserving. Afraid of not being enough. Not good enough to be loved.

 

Because deep down, we know we’re not truly “good,” in and of ourselves – and that’s a terrifying thought. But that fear doesn’t have to destroy us.

Continue reading “When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved”

Christmas is Love.

Christmas is Love. 

This is part 2 in my impromptu Christmas series. See the first part also, Peace on Earth.

 

World,

 

As we approach Christmas, we reminisce over many things. Some material items, others ideas. So much do we relish the idea of love.

 

I love Christmas music. Honestly, I do. I love all kind of music, but there’s nothing more heartwarming than beautiful voices singing songs we know and love, and everyone celebrating Jesus’ birth – whether they know it or not.

 

It’s really cool.

 

Love is a prevalent theme in so many Christmas songs. Turn on the radio and you’ll hear,

 

“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart…”

 

“Baby, all I want for Christmas is you…”

 

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Love is wonderful and complicated and all that. Christmas can be a romantic time.

 

However, I think we overemphasize the wrong kind of love at Christmas. People, we have the rest of the year to sing love songs. Romance is a thing, but it only exists because of God’s amazing love for us, His children.

 

And where did love first come from?

 

CHRISTMAS! (Didn’t see that coming, did ya?)

 

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

1 John 4:7

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

 

This is ultimate love because God sent His Only Son to us. Not just to chill out on earth as a baby, but to die for our sins.

 

I stated a minute ago that love is a huge focus at Christmas. Romantic love, namely. I have a speculation as to why this is so.

 

When we look at the Baby in the Manger, that’s all we see. We see the Baby: meek and mild little Jesus. Is that exciting? Many of us think not. So, “Christmas is a time of love” – well, that’s what sells merchandise. “It’s the holiday season” – warm and fuzzy feelings envelop us. Or maybe it’s the sweaters? Regardless, we idolize love at Christmas time because it feels so right – and our culture embraces it wholeheartedly.

 

Our society has gotten used to looking at the manger and stopping there. This, I believe, is why so many of us miss the whole meaning of Christmas. We see Jesus, and politely comment, “that’s nice,” while distractedly browsing the latest StuffMart catalogs and making wish lists.

 

We don’t see the significance of the manger.

 

The Christmas story isn’t made up of one night in a stable with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, some angels, and shepherds. It is the kick-off of the GREATEST game-changing events in history – ultimately, where our sins are forgiven once and for all.

 

Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

Jesus was born to demonstrate God’s love for us. His love for us sinners, at our darkest hour. The Baby was only the beginning. We shouldn’t stop there and say, “Oh, Jesus, how cute. Can we open presents now?”  Because that isn’t what it’s about.

 

Can you picture an Almighty God, Holy Creator of the Universe, seeing His sinful children and saying in spite of their rebellion, “I love them and I want them to know Me”? That’s what Christmas shows. That He DID say that to us and we know that because of Christmas.

 

This is love.

 

1 John 4:10

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

His love is the model for us. True love is His unconditional love for us, when He had every right to be angry with us and could have just wiped us off the face of the earth.

 

As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us approach it with the right view of love. Not with selfish I-wants and Give-me-thats, but with a heart of gratitude for the love that we should be celebrating.

 

The love that makes us sing in the first place.

 

Thank you LORD, for Your amazing love.

 

*aj

God Fell In Love With Us? Oh. Right.

God Fell In Love With Us? Oh. Right.

Clichés drive me crazy. Especially those Christian ones.

(Sorry, that was an abrupt beginning.)

There are a lot of cliché phrases that go around in Christian circles, especially ones that take the place of solid theology.

There’s a way of thinking that goes around, even from pastors(!). It goes something like this.

“God fell in love with His people, and so He sent His Son to die for us!”

So, God fell in love with you?

“Fell in love”?

When I think of falling in love, I think of romance with out someone’s own consent; a relationship that “just happened;” a love formed of SURPRISE! emotions, and basically the first half of Taylor Swift songs.

So when I think of God falling in love with us, I think of an emotion. An impulse. Something that had to do with our performance.

But right here in the Bible, we know that we are horrible, sinful, wretched sinners.

And it was then that Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That blows my mind, and shows me something amazing.

Love is a choice.

God did not fall in love with us, He chose to love us.

1 John 4:19

“We love because he first loved us.”

I know, this is such a simple concept. But it’s really important to note.

Because once we realize that God’s love for us is a conscious choice, it makes it so much sweeter. Nothing we could ever do could make us deserve God’s love. That is just so incredibly amazing to me, that He chose to love us, at our absolute darkest.

When I understand His love, I want to show that love to others. I want to inhale His grace and exhale His forgiveness! I want to be so full of Him, that when I tip, love pours out.

Even when tough things come along, I know that God’s love is stronger than everything. He didn’t have to love me. I did not deserve it in the least.

I’m a broken and utterly flawed human being. I deserve eternal punishment. But God had mercy on me, and extended grace to me.

I find that to be the most awe-inspiring and mind-blowing thing ever.

I’m caught between wanting to fall to my knees and worship and wanting to run to my roof and scream that Jesus saves. I will write until the whole world hears…

JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU! REGARDLESS OF YOUR PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE! FORGETTING YOUR REPUTATION, THE MISTAKES YOU’VE MADE, AND WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.

JESUS WILL SAVE YOU, JUST ACCEPT IT! BELIEVE AND RECEIVE.

And there’s my little speech.

God didn’t fall in love with us, He chose to love us.

Even though we’ve turned our backs on Him, His love still stands.

Even though we can’t repay Him, His grace still extends to us.

He does not want to see anyone perish.

2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

*aj

How Does Romance Fit In?

Blue Flowers

(This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I updated my About Me page last night, because it needed some help. Check it out after you read this!)

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I’m a hopeless romantic.

I cry over chick flicks. And books. And songs. And I watch, read, and play them over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

Do you want to know why?

Yes, before you say it first, I’ll tell you that for one reason, I’m a girl. A girl who asks her mom and dad over and over again the story of their friendship, dating relationship, engagement, and marriage. A girl who has a Pinterest board of wedding dresses, engagement rings, wedding themes, favors, locations, photo ideas and all that.

But the fact that I’m a girl is really beside the point.

The fact that I value romance is more where I’m going with this.

I value True Love. Not the cheap Disney love that has the prince and princess meeting eyes, and getting butterflies, and getting married the next day.

Because I’m so so sorry…

But that love does not exist. It’s an emotion.

I don’t value that fairytale emotion like I value love.

I value selfless love. I value love that chooses to wait and not settle for second-best. I value love that puts another one’s interests above their own. I value the courage that it takes to love, even when it isn’t easy. I value the promise of love, even when the other person doesn’t seem lovable. I value generous love; love given to one who does not deserve it and can not pay it back.

And I value marriage, which is a commitment for life to love the other person.

The thing that I love about this thing called marriage is that when the “magic fairydust stage” (or, “honeymoon phase”) fades away, the promise still stands.

And each person has committed to stick together, in the toughest of times.

There is no, “I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, as long as you make me happy, I don’t get tired of it, and things go our way. And then when I have decided that I’m not happy anymore, I’ll leave.”

Because as much as love can be expressed in a feeling, love is a choice.

Ask anyone, the fairydust stage of a marriage doesn’t last for very long. But that cannot be an excuse to move on.

Because like I said, love is a promise.

I value love. Real love.

And I can’t WAIT to get married someday. (Emphasis on someday, but nevertheless I’m really excited.)

So as I was brainstorming for this article, something popped into my mind.

What if my desire for human love is just the tip of the iceberg?

No, really.

What if I crave something even deeper than that?

I do, as a matter of fact.

And it’s not like I didn’t know this before, it’s just hitting me harder and harder as I get older.

You know how I said that I value selfless love?

I’ve been given that selfless love by my Creator.

And before you stop reading and dismiss this as another one of those cliché articles about how being single really isn’t that bad, listen up for just another minute.

Through God’s AMAZING love for us, we see some really cool things.

Like these.

He is selfless. He loved us enough to let His Only Son die for our sins.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

He lavishes His love on us when we can not pay Him back and do not deserve it.

He loves us even when we are unlovable. (AKA constantly.)

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 36:5

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

What I’m learning daily is that the yearning in my heart for love can only be truly and deeply satisfied by the love of God.

AND IT IS! I AM SO COMPLETELY SATISFIED!

I can rest in the security of His amazing grace and love because that love will never fail.

So, here’s where you probably say something like, “Wait, Amanda, where does marriage come into all of this?”

That’s a good question, and I hope to answer it well.

When I said that perhaps marriage is just the tip of the iceberg, that’s really true.

Because as amazing as marriage and human love truly is, it’s only a reflection of God’s love for us. His love for His people existed long before the first marriage took place.

Which is kind of mind blowing, seeing how prominent “love” is in our culture.

If love is so big in this world, how much more great and beautiful is the love of God, who Himself is infinite?

One thing that I always need to remind myself of is that marriage is not the loneliness cure, or the meaning of life.

Sure, it can be beautiful! And I can’t wait for it myself.

But it cannot be the standalone thing that we seek. My heart yearns for love. But deep down, I need to be loved more than just by my (future) husband.

If I don’t accept the amazing sacrifice for my soul, and the crazy amazing love shown in that, I can’t possibly accept another human’s love.

To reject that would be to reject satisfaction. To reject true love. To reject completeness.

Because whether we are married or not, we can all experience True Love on this deep level.

Selfless love. The choice of love. The courage to love. The promise of love. The generosity of love, especially when we do not deserve it.

1 John 4:9-12

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

*aj