In July 2016 I wrote a blog called Be a Friend to Yourself. Learning to be my own friend was the journey I went on that year. As I approached 2017 in my typical goal-oriented way, Jesus and I had a little chat:
“Jesus, this year was great! I’m feeling very blessed and hopeful for what 2017 will bring. What would you like me to do?”
“Mmm, thanks for asking, Sweet Girl. I want you to Be Loved.”
Me: “Oh…uh, I’m sorry. I meant, what should I PURSUE?”
Jesus: “I understand. I want you to pursue learning how Loved you are.”
Me: “No, no, Jesus. I know You love me! You showed that through your death and resurrection. Now it’s my turn to show you how much I appreciate all You’ve done.”
Jesus: “Hmm. Sara, do you believe you are Fully Loved if you just sat here and never accomplished anything?”
Me: *scoffs* “Well, I mean, maybe, but that’s not pleasing to you.”
Jesus: “On the contrary, dear girl, YOU are pleasing to me. Your accomplishments don’t make me love you more.”
Me: “Right, but I’m supposed to do ministry! Don’t I have strengths and talents you want me to use?”
Jesus: “Yes, of course, and you are doing that every single day simply by being you and every single day I am so pleased with you. I already love you the MOST. Be Loved.”
It went on like this for weeks. Sometimes I would argue with Jesus, sometimes I would just argue with the voices in my head:
“Do I dare? Do I dare make my SINGLE goal of 2017 to sit and Be Loved?” The terror that sent from my head to my toes was the proof that I needed this so desperately. When the words of Jesus, “I am pleased with you,” made me squirm with how unfamiliar they felt to my heart, I finally [reluctantly] surrendered to this resolution.
Learning to Be Loved meant embracing my good and bad and ugly because that’s what Jesus does. He embraces it all and He wants to heal it. He doesn’t want to leave you in your ugliness but it can’t receive healing until it’s met Love.
2017 needed to be full of that for me; full of moment by moment giving myself grace. When I woke up and I had snoozed my first two alarms, I needed to choose kindness and not criticism. When I got to the end of the work day and had no energy to be productive, I needed to know that I was enough. When I was short with a roommate or family member and felt like a failure, I needed to speak repentance gently to myself and resolve to try again tomorrow. I needed to learn the voice of Jesus and let Him teach me how to speak to myself.
As I began to let go of all the expectations I had for itself and press into who Jesus created me to be with acceptance and not criticism, my heart began to feel more and more like home. As Jesus did His healing work and set up Love in more rooms of my heart than ever before I began to learn the language and rhythm of Love that I was created for.
The tensions and longings I lived with could not be met by God until my God was named Love. It was a question of perception. Jesus didn’t become more loving, I learned to see Him as He truly was. You’ve heard the phrase, “Nothing you can do will make Jesus love you less.” The opposite is also true: I had to learn that nothing I could accomplish or produce would make Him love me more. You and I are already loved to the brim of infinite Love and that is where our hearts find their deepest safety. To find your hearts home and healing in God, His name must be Love.