It was nothing like in the movies. Reality never is.
As soon as she was born, they whisked her away. I barely even got to look at her. It was an entire day before I could hold my newborn baby girl. I didn’t get to bond with her at birth or even begin feeding her for a few days, but I couldn’t have loved her anymore.
There she was helpless under a heat lamp with IVs in her tiny body. She was fighting off an infection that the doctors believe brought her into the world two weeks early. As I sat next to her and held her tiny hand, my heart melted with love for her.
She didn’t earn my love.
She didn’t buy my love.
And she couldn’t do anything to lose my love.
I loved her because she was mine.
Wouldn’t you agree that all babies are worthy of love? I’ve never visited a hospital and seen the nurses in the nursery sorting babies into “worthy” and “unworthy” groups. That would be absurd!
All babies are worthy of love.
You were a baby once, and you are worthy of love.
Do you believe that?
Do you believe you are worthy of the kind of love that honors and cherishes. The kind of love that isn’t earned or bought. The kind of love that endures all things.
If not, what happened?
When did you first stop believing that you were worthy of love and begin believing the lie that love is earned?
For me, I began my effort to earn love at an early age. I grew up in a home probably not so different from yours where I was praised for the things I did right and I had consequences when I messed up. There isn’t anything wrong with this. This is how we learn right from wrong.
Probably like you, I loved the praise more than the correction. In all honesty, I wanted more praise and less correction. And my mind wondering if
Praise = Love.
So I tested this theory everywhere I went. At school. On the basketball court. At church. And it seemed to ring true everywhere. When people praised me, I felt loved. When I was corrected, I felt rejected and unloved.
This theory began taking root in my heart. My theory became a belief. And I began making life choices on the idea that praise equals love, and that if I work hard enough, give enough of myself, or love others perfectly, I will be loved in return. The problem is I based my belief on a feeling, not on truth.
And this feeling lead me to believe a lie.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This verse single-handedly throws my theory out the window. And even though I memorized this verse as a child and claimed to understand its truth, my heart did not believe it. I continued to try to earn others love and God’s love.
And every time I did, I ended up somewhere I didn’t want to be. So I convinced myself that I was the problem. That I just needed to try harder. That if I loved others better they would choose to love me back. But no matter how hard I tried some people chose not to love me back. And I felt rejected and alone.
But then Jesus came.
The good news of Jesus Christ is that you can’t earn God’s love.
Just as I loved my baby girl simply because she was mine, God loves you simply because you are His.
Did you hear that?
Your worth is not determined by your
- Bank account
- Social status
- Life experiences
- Job Title
- Marital status
- Philanthropic endeavors
- Or anything else you can work for.
Similarly, your worth is not determined by your
- Or anything else you can mess up.
Your worth is determined by one thing, and one thing alone: Your Creator.
God reveals His love for you by seeing your every mistake, your every screw up, the thing you are most ashamed of and the thing you are most afraid of people finding out about you, and it’s in that moment that God sends His one and only Son to die for you to redeem you and offer you new life.
You did nothing to deserve, earn or buy God’s love. You are worthy of His love because you are His!
As you wrestle through this truth, if you are like me, it isn’t easy to accept. Our brains try to convince us otherwise. It is easier to think that we could earn it, than simply accept it.
But as our hearts come to grips with the love and mercy God has for us, we find freedom.
We find freedom in this life and in the life to come.
In my own life, as I let the truth of God’s love resonate in my heart, I find the strength to love my self. I find compassion for my own mistakes. I find the courage to respect myself.
Understanding that I am worthy of love allows me to set boundaries, to take time to care for myself, and to stop sacrificing myself in the hopes that it will lead me to love. Believing I am worthy of love leads me to the foot of the cross. Humbly I kneel before the Father accepting His true love. No longer do I approach God with my head held high awaiting His praise. But instead I climb up in His lap and let His embrace tell me the story of His love.
Maybe like me, you have tried to earn love. Maybe like me, this endless pursuit of earning someone’s love left you with a story that looks very different from the life you imagined. If this is you, I invite you to join me on a journey of walking through the difficult parts of your story and learn to embrace your story as you embrace God’s unconditional love for you.
Maybe you need a daily reminder of God’s truth, if so, then click here to download five verses I use to remind my heart and my mind of the truth.
Maybe you need to dig a little deeper, to wrestle through this issue a little more. If so then I invite you to join me on the journey to loving your life. Earlier this year, I released a 4-week study allows you the freedom of understanding the truth of God love and embracing reality of your story. To learn more, click here: Loving? My Life Study.
As you reflect on the truth that you are worthy of love, I challenge you to begin to ask yourself:
-How am I trying to earn other people’s love?
-Am I trying to earn God’s love? If so, how?
-What would change in my life if I believed I was worthy of love?
I am praying for you, as I pray for myself.
Would you help spread the love by liking, commenting or sharing this post with someone who needs to be reminded that she is loved? Thank you!