How many of us are truly confident in the assurance that we are loved? Some of us may have childhood wounds that prevent us from feeling or accepting love. Others were raised with a sense of conditional love that drives us to achieve and strive for love. Perhaps we cannot feel love because we are surrounded by less than affirming people in our lives... All of us though, are witness to the chaos and strife of our times that if we are not careful can consume us with a crippling sense of fear. And fear of course, drives out love.
Despite all that is happening around us, in clearly some rather dark times, I have noticed these words resonating in my heart. I am loved. “You are loved,” I hear Him whisper. Remarkably, I hear this message of God’s unfathomable love for us, louder than any of the other messages that inundate our psyche from all around. I hear His love louder than any sound bite, louder than any critic and louder than anything that comes at me from the world.
How did this come to be so? Feeling loved is by no means automatic. I struggled for years to overcome childhood wounds that prevented me from feeling God’s ever-present and infinite love. Before fully surrendering to Jesus, I was overwhelmed by distorted thoughts about myself that told me I was unworthy and undeserving.
I can’t say exactly when this thinking changed. I do know that at one decisive time in my life, the suffering of loathing myself became so painful that I found refuge in His word not just on a daily basis, but a on moment-to-moment basis. His word was literally my means of survival. At that time, the assault of my thoughts on my esteem was so great that the only alternative was to literally live in His word. I am grateful for this time as difficult as it was, because “I was literally transformed by the renewing of my mind.” As I immersed myself in His word, I found that the critical and self-negating messages that flooded me in His absence began to retreat. Living in His word and in communion with Him slowly became a way of being.
1 John 4:8 tells us very clearly that “God is love.” The more that we dwell in Him and on His word, the more receptive we become to feeling His love. When we are steeped in His word, we are flooded with the divine unconditional love, validation and affirmation that we cannot receive from others. The psychological impact of knowing that we are safe, loved and provided for is beyond measure. Statistics reveal that children raised in a critical, invalidating or abusive environment, more often that not, experience mental illness. Love heals. And further feeling the endless love of God, helps protect us from what we may encounter in the world.