Believing you’re loved really shouldn’t be so difficult. Love stands before us, arms outstretched with a decided look of certainty across its face, and we refuse it. We look the other way. We pretend like it can’t be true. Worse, we come up with all manner of reasons to refute its existence.
How can we want something so much, and yet have such a hard time believing it when it reveals itself?
I’m sure there’s all kinds of psychological platitudes to define this paradigm, but maybe it’s not so complicated. Maybe it comes down to making a choice — choosing to accept it or not.
My second year of college I decided God wanted me to be a missionary. I heard this great sermon and saw a need that I could fill. But there was one rather important detail I didn’t have a firm grasp on. Despite my belief in God, and in Jesus, and in eternity, I hadn’t wrapped my head around the fact that God loved me.
The best I could figure was that God tolerated me. He overlooked my flaws. He let me slide. But He didn’t love me. That couldn’t be true.
It’s this type of thinking that really hinders most Christians. How can we lead a chorus of “Jesus loves Me” when we don’t really believe the words we sing? Who would want to be led by such a person? Yet that’s who I was. Oh, I believed that God loved the collective them. It was individual me I took issue with.
It wasn’t just God I believed that way about either. My conviction that I was unloveable stifled my other relationships as well. Sure, my then-boyfriend said he loved me, but I couldn’t accept that as the truth. Settling into a committed relationship took a major effort for me, and even then I spent years believing that my significant other didn’t really care.
Now before you click somewhere else and move on from this sad tale of woe, let me share a secret with you.
It’s all different for me now.
I can’t say when the matter got settled. There were no “Aha!” moments. No sudden epiphanies. My life didn’t flash before me and land me in the middle of some holy Valentine. I didn’t go through tons of therapy or find my Zen.
I simply decided it was time to change what I believed.
Believing in God had never been a stretch for me. Believing He loved me, however, was the chasm I couldn’t cross—until I decided to, and then decided to believe it again and again.
Belief is active. There’s nothing mindless or passive about it. And it certainly isn’t absent of fear or doubts. Rather true belief allows us to evaluate any uncertainties in order to determine if there is any validity to them or not.
I realized that ignoring the truth about another’s love for me required its own measure of unsubstantiated belief, so I turned around and trusted what the Bible said, and I let go of everything else.
That’s where faith steps in. Where belief is acceptance, faith is complete trust.
It’s the key that opens the door so that we can see a glimpse of the mighty love of God.
It’s the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen.
God’s love still baffles me at times, but it probably should be that way. It is the immeasurable, incomprehensible love of the Almighty, after all.
Regardless of what you believe right now, that love is waiting for you, too, arms wide out and face expectant. It’s up to you to choose how to respond.