Does anyone else remember playing, “He loves me, he loves me not”? For those unfamiliar with this little game, here is a quick summary. You see, it is generally done by picking petals, one by one, off a flower while saying, “He loves me, he loves me not.” My girlfriends (in seventh grade, I think) and I used to do this to determine if the guy we liked felt the same about us. This was exciting because one just never knew if the petals were going to run out on the dreaded negative note. For that same reason, there was unimaginable anxiety associated with the fate rendered by the flower-based love predictor.
In the arena of human relationships, I have sometimes wondered about my worth based on things as random as pulling petals off a daisy. “I am good enough, I am not good enough. I am smart enough, I am not smart enough. I am pretty enough, I am not pretty enough. I am thin enough, I am not thin enough. I am cool enough, I am not cool enough. I am tall enough –. “ Let’s just pass the height thing by, okay? The underlying choice is this: I am worthy of love, or I am not worthy of love. I admit that in many areas of my life, I have made some choices in an effort to avoid proving to someone that I am, in fact, not worthy.
Does it not then logically follow that if I based my lovable status on random, external and unstable factors, I would never learn to love myself or accept God’s love without conditions of proving my worthiness?
As I get older, I am becoming more aware that all the above “nots” are lies. And here is the truth I want to live under now. I am enough and God says so. So are you dear ones. The world makes a living (a killing really) on selling us images that land us on the “I am not enough,” petal. One of the biggest problems with this is that the criteria frequently change and for the most part, can be based on unrealistic, unhealthy and superficial standards.
But all this worldly criteria does not, for a moment, cloud God’s lens. He always sees us as more than enough because He created us. We are His beloved children. His word constantly confirms this, and He never makes a guessing game out of finding assurances of His love and approval. Even though I am moving away from the conflicting messages of the world view, there are still times I find myself wondering about my worth and asking for validation from the wrong sources and/or people.
So here’s what I have learned to do. When the peripheral world voices encourage me to play that old song titled, “I am not,” I pick up my Bible and start reading with God’s truth in my line of vision. I trust in His faithfulness and plans for me because here is what He has faithfully demonstrated over the years.
He loves me – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
He loves me – “Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever” (Ps. 136:2).
He loves me – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He loves me – “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1).
With God’s truth before me and in a spirit of obedience to imitate Him, loving myself through His lens becomes easier. Notice I said it becomes easier. I still struggle with this from time to time and return to the flower petal model. It does take work, practice and a conscious effort to reject the messages that tell me what I need to be in order to be loved. But I know loving myself begins and ends with believing God first loves me – with faults and all, through success and failure, when I fall or when I stand. Yes, He loves me. And he expects me to love that which He has created and loves – unconditionally.
Copyright February 2015
Lakewood, CO 80401
Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page
Check out the books I have published
“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page
The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page. I will ship it to you after your purchase.