God's Love, Identity, Relationship

Chosen: Believing God Loves Us

Beach stones at sunset

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

You are chosen.

Have you ever felt like the left-overs? Like people hang out with you because, well, there’s no one better to hang with so, you’ll do in a pinch?

As I shared last week, I dealt with rejection . . . heck, I am still learning to live beyond the lies rejection told me for the last number of decades.

Those lies we hear and accept as children sometimes take a lifetime to erase.

white flowers in sunlight

Here’s the thing: God has never rejected us. He chose us. He created us from before the first sunrise, for a special purpose. We are not less-than to Him. We are not the ones He “settled” for.

He delights in being with us. He rejoices over us with His singing, and He is quiet in His love for us.

P. Peak sunset

The thing is God loves us with this crazy sort of passionate, out-loud love. From sunsets over the mountains, to the streams burbling over rocks . . . from the quiet breezes that comb through our hair on a spring day to the majestic mountains, deserts, oceans He’s created . . .

He’s lavishing His love on us.

When we believe the lies that burrow into the walls of our mind, we’re blinded to the love He’s showering us with. When we attune our ears to the whisper of the enemy’s lies, we are deaf and blind to the magnitude of God’s love.

Clouds and silhouette

As I learn how to be authentic with God, there’s a lot of undoing that must occur so I can truly receive all of His love.

It’s a process to be freed by God’s truth . . . To stop listening to the lies the enemy has declared as “true.”

I know God loves me. Most of us reading this will say, “Sure, God loves me.” But how much of His love do we believe? How much do we embrace?

Quiet Stream

How much of His love do we think we deserve?

When we’ve yelled at our kids, lied to someone, cut someone off on the freeway, gossiped about another . . . .

When we’ve cheated someone in some way, or stolen something from the office, or stolen someone’s reputation through words . . .

When we’ve viewed things our spirits tell us are wrong . . .

When we’ve been told for years that we don’t deserve to be loved, or accepted, or valued . . . and we believe those words?

Can we embrace God’s love then?

As I come to terms with my own sins, my feelings of being “less-than,” I’ve discovered a strange thing.

I have only accepted as much of God’s love as I felt I deserved or was worthy of.

Florida sunset 1

I’ve withheld parts of myself, even from God because I felt unacceptable to Him.

Lie? Yes.

But, I acted on this lie. My feelings—my thoughts—felt unclean, unworthy of God. Unacceptable to Him.

Our enemy is so sneaky. He makes these kinds of thoughts sound like they are said in our own voice, and we believe them.

The enemy tries to convince us we’re the leftovers in God’s kingdom, that we are not the first choice in the lives of those around us. He attempts to persuade us we aren’t valued by those who say they like us, they love us.

Heart in Pages

We must remember: Satan is a liar. The father of lies.

For too long, I’ve listened to those lies, taken them to heart. But no more.

It’s time to start listening to the Father of truth, and to believe Him when He says He loves me, and each of us. That He has chosen us to be His children. We’re not God’s “I’ll settle for . . . ” choice. He delights in us.

Not God's I'll settle choice copy

I am seeing I’ve only gone partway into the depths of God’s love. I’ve only accepted a small amount of the unfathomable amounts of love God has for me.

Is it possible that as much as we will enter into His love, that’s the amount of His love we’ll be able to experience?

In believing that He truly does love us passionately,

Completely

With abandon

And that nothing will make Him stop loving us . . .

We can know more of His love.

Leafy shadowed path

We can walk in greater freedom, confidence, peace when we walk in the TRUTH that God Loves You. Me.

What about you? What is hard for you to believe about the truth that God loves you? What helps you combat Satan’s lies?

Today I’m liking up with Holly Barrett and A Purposeful Faith (#RaRaLinkup).

 

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27 thoughts on “Chosen: Believing God Loves Us”

  1. Jeanne, this is a hard one for me…what I’ve lived and seen has required a redefinition of ‘love’, one that equates to the phrase Sheldon Vanauken coined, “A Severe Mercy” (the title of his memoir).

    Granting God’s omnipotence, His love has to have the severity in it that lets us go “out into the world”, much as a parent has to let a child range further and further from the safety of home. As the bicycle-riding child may be hit by a car, so we may be wrecked by the evil that seems to lurk in the very air of this fallen world…but facing it is the only way we can grow up, and God has to hold back what I believe is His impulse to snatch us from danger.

    Because if we don’t grow up, we die to Him.

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    1. Andrew, your words here are profound. Yes, God’s love has more than the touchy-feely facet to it. He loved the world so much He sent Jesus, but that didn’t guarantee that everyone would choose Him. The other side of that love is judgment. I so appreciate your picture of God loving us in a way that constrains Him to, at times resist the impulse to snatch us from danger.

      He never wastes those experiences we encounter. And, when we come away from those hard encounters with the world with wounds we can’t heal, He’s still there. He can redeem the scars we incur, and we can know Him and His love in ways we never would have without life’s hurts.

      Yeah, I’m thinking out loud here. You (AGAIN) made me think deeper. Thank you for that, my friend.

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  2. Wow! I can never reminded enough that I am loved beyond my wildest dreams by God. Thank you for these words of affirmation today. It hit home when you wrote that Satan wants us to believe that we are God’s leftovers. That visual made me stop in my tracks immediately because it didn’t feel right at all. That is what happens when we are faced with a lie rather than the truth.

    We are loved and enough in God’s eyes everyday. That never changes. I want that truth to be first on my lips as I wake up each day so I have the freedom to walk securely with God.

    I hope you are getting back to feeling normal after your knee surgery. I have been thinking about you.

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    1. Yes, Mary. We are loved beyond what can know or understand. And that thought leaves me gasping sometimes. I’m so thankful our God is bigger than Satan. That He will one day put Satan where he belongs. There’s such a comfort in knowing we are enough in God’s eyes.

      I am getting back to normal, slowly. Still in PT, but the knee is gradually getting stronger. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, my friend!

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  3. As I was reading your sweet words, it occurred to me that this idea of having been chosen — a precious truth that affirms our value to God — has become a battle ground in some circles as people split hairs over whether God’s choosing applies to the whole world or whether it preempts free will . . . on and on, while in the meantime lost people feel like junk.
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of Gospel truth.

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    1. I know what you mean, Michele. Thank goodness God is bigger than theological debates. He’s such a personal, intimate Father. He looks at His children and cherishes us. May we always seek to impart this priceless truth to those who don’t know Him yet, and who don’t often see their own intrinsic value.

      I always appreciate your insights!

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  4. Jeanne, as I read the last lines here, I thought of my girls, and how much I love them. They are adopted, but they are not a consolation prize. We wanted to adopt them and chose to adopt them, and, as I’ve had occasion to tell them both, nothing they will ever do or say will cause us to stop loving them. Just like God with us, except that His love is perfect and everlasting. No wonder Satan tries to throw us off with all the lies. Anything to keep us from the truth that our heavenly Father truly delights in us!

    I’m loving your transparency with these posts, and I hope you keep sharing what transpires as you delve further into the depths of God’s love. 🙂

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    1. Lois, I can’t agree with you more! Our boys are not the consolation prize either. Though sometimes they struggle with the fact that their biological parents chose not to raise them, we continually tell them EXACTLY what you said—there is NOTHING they can do or say that will cause us to stop loving them. When they embrace this truth, they learn to grow in confidence. Just like we do when we believe God loves us like this.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. And thank you for sharing the truths you did on your blog today. Beautiful post!

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  5. Oh, Jeanne, this is wow-wonderful in words and images. I was the family scapegoat, so it’s been (and still is) a long journey to believe and receive the full width and breadth and height and depth of God’s love for me. But I’m getting there. The more I seek Him—the more I see His love for me. And the more I can’t wait to be in Heaven with Him. ❤ If I can get the truth of this vast love across to other former scapegoats, that will be enough.
    Blessings, dear friend ~ Wendy

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    1. Wendy, I know it’s in the past, but I’m sorry you were the scapegoat in your family. No child should have to live with that moniker.

      Thank goodness for God’s faithfulness and amazing love for us. I think we each have a journey to travel with God to learn how to accept and live in His love, letting it permeate every part of who we are.

      You’re right. The more we seek Him, the more we see His love for us. I’m certain God is using your poetry, your words and your photography to speak His love to other scapegoats.

      I so appreciate your transparency here today, my friend. Thank you for sharing a bit of you.

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      1. Thank you, dear Jeanne. There was a blessing with my moniker in that it made me broken and fertile soil for the Gospel. I knew I needed a Rescuer. And now I pray for my first family to know the love of Christ, too. God truly can use all things for good.

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  6. Its an amazing thing to ponder – God’s love. Its true what you say – the depth of our experience is contained by the degree to which we receive His love. We get far too caught up in our worthiness, when God’s love is truly based on the value of what He’s given for us rather than what we receive. His Son – a willing sacrifice – it’s just the perfect portrait of the depth of His love and how nothing we ever do will repay that debt. We simply receive, breath it in, and in that, we experience true freedom. Often easier said than done, but ours for the taking none the less. Great, thought provoking post as always, friend. Hugs today.

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    1. Yes, Tiffany. God doesn’t give His love based on our worthiness. He loves us because He values us. I can’t imagine giving one of my boys for another’s life. God’s willingness to give His son for me? That humbles me deeply. That’s love lived out in the most extravagant of ways. You’re right, when we receive it, breathe it in, that’s when we can know freedom. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They always add depth to the conversations here, my friend.

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  7. I never really had a word for this year, but I have a statement: I believe you. That’s what I’m saying to the Lord, over and over. I believe you. And yes, I know what it’s like to be told you are less-than or that you deserve less-than … I always wonder where I would be today without my foundation in Christ. What if I believed that person over God? Where would I be? I know I don’t accept the degree of His love like I should … I probably punish myself some … but even the fragments that I live on have been enough to sustain me and keep me going. But … to really live … plunging into the depths of His love … I want to feel that, to live that … I’m not quit there yet in my own mind, but I’m taking steps to be fully embraced. ❤ I love you, Jeanne Takenaka.

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    1. Shelli, I LIKE your statement, especially when it’s directed toward the Lord. I punish myself too, but I’m gradually learning to embrace God’s grace after I make a mistake or sin against Him. I’m thankful that we can never fully understand and comprehend God’s love for us. We can both encourage each other to live more and more in His love, my friend. Love ya back!

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  8. Sometimes I don’t open my heart wide enough to accept all of Christ’s love, but when I do I am so thoroughly refreshed. It’s only through the Spirit we’re able to experience His love at all or produce His fruits – such as love – in our own lives. Our blogging community would be blessed if you shared this devotion at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup. #LMMLinkup http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1018

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    1. I have that short falling too. I don’t always open my heart up wide enough to accept all of God’s love for me. You’re right. The Spirit helps us to want to love Jesus and to learn to live the other spiritual fruit out each day. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  9. Hi Jeanne! I’m so glad I found your blog! Your words pierced my soul this morning. Such a beautiful post of how God loves us. “We’re not God’s I’ll settle for choice…” – wow He does love us so much, does He not??

    I found you at #raralinkup!!!

    xoxo

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    1. Shannon, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! There’s great comfort in knowing that we are not an “I’ll settle for . . . ” choice. No matter how people see us. 🙂

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  10. I know God loves me, I just don’t like the way He shows it sometimes.
    I know God has the right to do whatever He wants, I don’t have to like it.
    I know I love God, I just have a hard time feeling it sometimes.
    I know Satan wants to destroy all that pleases God, I don’t have to help him.

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    1. Gene, I’m with you. Sometimes God’s way of showing love doesn’t feel like love. Of course, my boys have said that to me too, after I’ve had to enact discipline for training them. I’m thankful that love goes well beyond what we feel. Sometimes, we love out of an act of the will. We love because we choose to. And I agree, even though we may not feel love toward God sometimes, we don’t have to help Satan by letting Him destroy those things that please God. GOOD thoughts.

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  11. Amen! You are absolutely dead on right. I wrote about this in Holy Week Reflection: Freedom in Christ. By our belief, we are freed from the law of sin and death, meaning we no longer have to earn salvation. Instead, Jesus saved us personally on the Cross even before we were born. He laid His life down for His sheep. By our faith, we claim that gift. Sweet news! This frees us from anxiety over sin. Great post!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, TheDaddyBlitz! Sometimes, when I stop to think about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me, I’m humbled deeply. To know He loves us that much? I can’t comprehend that kind of love. I”m so thankful that even when I fall short, He still loves me, and that nothing can separate us from His love. Have a great weekend!

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      1. As close as we are likely to come to understanding is the love a parent has for a child. Most parents would lay down their lives for their children in a heart beat. And therein lies the beautiful picture. We are His adopted children. And though He was grieved to the point of crying tears of blood in anxious anticipation of His suffering, He went willingly to the Cross. Makes me shudder.

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