The Voices in Our Head
What would it take for me to know that I can live fully loved by God?
I can live loved when life is smooth, and the sun seems to be shining down on me. When all is good in my world. But when it crashes down around me, I struggle to look up. I wrestle with knowing that this could be a part of the plan of a loving God. I suffocate under the weight of the crush of life.
How do I live loved when life is not what I want it to be? When there are not people in my life telling me I am loved? How do I live loved when I feel unseen, unheard; not enough to even have people look at me and truly see the woman I am inside?
This kind of love must be more than a feeling. It must be more than something that only shows up on days that are good. This kind of love needs to find me in the middle of a mess of my own making and administer a tender embrace, a healing touch, a forgiving balm that ministers grace to my beat-up soul.
Most often I am the one beating it up because I feel less than, not enough or can’t even begin to know how to measure up.
How do I live loved when I know things about me that others don’t? When I know my own weaknesses, slip ups, propensities to not go God’s way. How then can I bask in the lavished gift of God’s love?
In times like this it is easier to stay hidden then to admit my pain, trying hard to hide my failures or minimize the dependencies that I quickly run to when the world feels like it out of my control. How do I live loved when I am my own worst enemy and I can’t see beyond the self-loathing pit I have fallen in? How do I live loved, when I don’t even like myself?
Does any of this sound like a familiar scenario of your quest for love? I know that I can easily fall into the trap of not feeling deeply loved when I find myself looking to others, instead of abiding in the place where God dwells.
Self Loathing tells me I’m not good enough. I don’t measure up. I’m unlovable. I’m unwanted.
Have you ever felt this way, crying out for God to show you how to live fully embraced by His love? Longing to rest securely in the divine love of Christ, because in His presence you know that you are enough, just the way you are. You are… Chosen. Accepted. Forgiven. Redeemed. Deeply and fully loved.
So often our self-loathing, or the inner turmoil of wondering what others think about us rises to the forefront of our emotional mayhem, and as we cry out to know God’s love we try to make sense of it by twisting God’s love with what we feel others think about us. We seek divine love and mix it up with also seeking human love through the approval of other voices. God’s love comes full and free, while love from others often comes based on something we do. How beautiful that our love from God comes with out any merit of our own, we can’t work to attain it. It is ours without having to earn it or strive after it. Do we know that God not only loves us, but he likes us! He delights to be with us, to spend time with us.
God’s love invites us to come when we are in the middle of a heartbreak, when life is messy, when we have chosen poorly, when our anger needs forgiven. No matter what we do, or what is going on to make us feel like pulling away from God, He tenderly draws us near to Himself. He draws us near to Love. For Christ Himself is the pure essence of love! In Christ we are fully loved; a love not dependent upon us to act a certain way. Yet the love from others invites us in, most often when we look put-together or can offer something they need to make them feel loved in return.
Choose to come: In order to be loved by God we must come to the place where He is. Come boldly to the throne of grace and find help here for our every need. This is a personal choice. The act of coming causes us to know we have a need that only God can meet. It is here in this sacred place where God dwells, that we will find Him telling us to stop striving; to come boldly and find rest for our weary, worn and tattered soul.
Love flows freely where Jesus is. In His presence is the place where we can let our guard down, remove our masks and learn to live the life He desires of us. It is here that we are taught by Master Jesus how to go out into the world and live vulnerable and transparent lives. We can do this because we begin the journey of knowing we are fully known and fully loved by Him.
Once I choose to believe I am the Beloved Daughter of God, I have no other choice but to live authentically out who God designed and created me to be. The truth of this fact sets authenticity in motion, and with great pleasure I live it out!
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design
Enter in: After we make this choice to come to God, we need to humble our hearts and enter deeper into His sacred place. A place where we can offer ourselves fully to God. To lay down what we are carrying and risk stepping into His presence often – just the way we are. God is not afraid of our baggage. God is not turned off by our neediness. He urges us to lay it before Him. Lay it down and allow Him to exchange our encumbering weight for freedom and newfound purpose.
What does it look like for us to enter God’s presence? What is our stance? Is it a prayer of forgiveness, a moment of silent devotion for who He is? A grieving heart? A repentant cry? Tears of sorrow? It is here, as we enter in, that we become quieted by His love. He knows us. He knows who we are and what we bring. The deeper in that we come to God’s sanctuary, the dimmer the clamor and clatter of the world becomes and we are quieted, hushed by God’s love. A love that says, “Rest, my child while I work. I’ve got this. I know you fully, because I formed you in your mother’s womb. I am enough for this situation. Trust me. Shh…”
In the coming and relinquishing of our burdens, may we allow our hearts to receive God’s kindness. Receive His mercy. Receive His grace. Receive the forgiveness of our sin. As we enter deeper in, may we find rest, as we begin to understand the truth of all God is and who He desires to be in our lives. It is here in His holy sanctuary that we can fully receive the love of our heavenly Father, poured out upon us as His Beloved Daughters. May we respond to His love with a heart filled with gratitude, praise and devotion. As we enter in to the presence of God, may we hear Him say; “Daughter of mine. You are cherished. You are enough. You are the apple of my eye. You have been sculpted in the very image of God. You are loved perfectly by me.”
“God loved us; not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.”
~ C.S. Lewis
Lord Jesus, I don’t have much to offer right now. I’m tired. So much has crowded into my thoughts that I feel overwhelmed. Much to be done. Much I desire to be. Much that I feel other’s want me to do and be. God, this is a weighty task; but you are showing me that this is something I have placed upon myself. For your burden is easy and light. While the burdens of this world are continuously demanding.
God, I want to live fully out of your love. A place where forgiveness, freedom, mercy and grace dwells. A place where I cease all striving and rest in the truth that you loved me before I ever took one look in your direction. Your love is eternal, unconditional, and free for the taking. God, I believe that your unconditional love will carry me through what I am walking through right now; it is enough for this difficulty because you are enough. Your perfect love will cast out all fear.
Jesus, I don’t want to take your love lightly, it came with great sacrifice because of the payment you made for my sin on the cross. Thank you for your divine love. I praise You for giving to me what I don’t deserve. May I live considering this love and administer it to others by letting the love of Jesus Christ fill me up and the glory of God to shine through me into a dark world; to those who don’t know God. Even in my own brokenness may I be willing to be a vessel in which the love of Christ can shine out. Thank you that you don’t waste our brokenness. You use it to reveal your love to others. It astounds me that you could use my mess-ups to reveal this incredible truth to those around me.
I love you Lord. Thank you that I can live loved; because I am known by You. Thank you for inviting me daily to the place where you dwell. A place where I can be seen, heard, known, forgiven and fully loved.
In Jesus Name. Amen
Delight in God’s Love:
Right now, in this very moment, what would it look like for you to know that you are fully loved by God? Read the following statements. Check the ones you resonate with. Ask yourself why these thoughts tug at the corners of your heart.
__I am quick to run to God for forgiveness of my sin
__I acknowledge God’s goodness and accept His undeserving grace
__I believe that I am deeply loved even when I mess up
__I cherish the thought that God delights in me
__I thank God that He doesn’t treat me as my sins deserve
__I am joyful in knowing that God will meet me at the crossroad of all my decision making
__I accept who I am, despite what I think others think about me
__I allow God to meet me in the moment of my greatest need
__I minister grace to myself, even when I mess up
__I enter a room knowing I am loved and therefore I can extend God’s love to others instead of seeking it for myself
__I rest knowing that I am enough
__I stop myself from comparing myself to others
__I acknowledge fully that I am the Beloved of God
Which statements are true about you? Which statements are hard for you to believe?Stop and ask God to help these truths to penetrate your heart and pour out into your daily life.
Did you know that all the noise in your life can be quieted by God’s love?
REST in God’s Love: I am weary. Worn thin by life’s unmanageable situations. Overloaded. Living in a state of overwhelm. Confusion. Disappointment. God is calling me to find my rest in Him.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)
REFLECT on God’s character: He is enough. He is present with me now. He understands my hurts-loneliness -longings.
As we reflect on the character of God, we see that each character trait is rooted in His overwhelming love for us. God is crazy about us!
REHEARSE the names of Jesus: My Hope. My Perfect Peace. My Great Redeemer. My Good Shepherd. My Provider. My Deliverer. The One Who Sets Me Free!
In rehearsing and reciting the names of Jesus and their meaning, we can’t help but feel loved. The foundation of each of these names is love. To have hope, peace or be redeemed, all stem from an extension of God’s unconditional love for us.
REMEMBER what God has done in the past: God’s provision for me when I was lacking. God’s answers to my prayers. God answering those deep desires of my heart; those desires that I never even stopped to pray for. God’s protection for me from evil and harm.
In the Old Testament the Israelite’s often set up stone of remembrance to remind them of what God had done to show them His great love. These stones would become stories passed on for generations of the amazing faithfulness and love of God.
As God has been in my yesterdays, He with me now and delights to be in all my tomorrows.”
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design
RENEW your mind with truth: What does God say about me? I am loved. I am forgiven. I am the apple of God’s eye. I am God’s amazing delight. I am cherished by God. I am the recipient of God’s mercy and grace. I am redeemed. I am enough because Jesus is enough. I am fully and deeply loved by God!
Knowing that we are fully loved by God does not come easily. Our minds are warped with sin, shame, and striving to find love in all the wrong place. As we begin to rehearse the truths that proclaim the love of God over us, we begin to saturate our souls with the incredible truth that we are the Beloved of God. This is the greatest truth that God desires for us to know and live by. For out of this we can pour love upon others.
REJOICE in what God is doing today: God I see your goodness today; your protection, your provision, your providence in my life and in this I give thanks!
As we begin to learn that we are fully loved by God, it is through a heart of gratitude that we will show gratefulness for God’s amazing love.
BE READY for God to show up and show off! If God loves me unconditionally, I want to be watchful; looking with earnest expectation knowing that He is going to proclaim His love to me today in some amazing way. God delights in showering me, His child, with good-good gifts. May I wait in anticipation, knowing that today I will see God’s love revealed to me in ways I never expected or thought possible. May I walk through this day knowing that I am fully loved despite all that marks my life and wants to tell me otherwise.
We are broken vessels. Our sinful choices cause us to face many heartaches, from our own doing and from the effects of others sin patterns. Yet God does not discard a broken pot. He cherishes it. In fact, it is our shattered, broken pieces that he uses to declare His masterpiece of glory, and love to the world around us. Our stories of brokenness become sown seeds that draw men and women to Christ, so they too can know they are fully loved and accepted by God.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)
It is God’s design that we live fully loved. It is His desire that we come to understand that this is our standing in Christ, not something we strive to earn. May we learn to rest in the wondrous love of God by reflecting on God’s character, rehearsing the names of Jesus, remembering what God has done in the past, renewing our minds with truth, rejoicing in what God is doing today and being ready to see God show up in our lives.
“This is real love not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (NLT)
LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN