Recently I was spending some time in quiet prayer. As I reflected on the love of God, a question came to mind. I asked God, “Why do you love me?”
I noticed that this question is deep down in my soul. I am constantly asking, “Why do you love me?” I ask because the way God sees me changes the way I see myself.
A gentle whisper seemed to come from the heart of God. It simply said: “I love you because I love you.” I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of relief, comfort, and a desire to respond.
I regularly need to intentionally stop to remember the good news.
We all tell ourselves stories about who we are, and who God is, and how we relate to him. Regardless of what you believe about yourself and God, a narrative impacts your choices, behaviors, and motivations.
For example, there’s a false narrative that depicts humans as minions and God as some kind of overlord who requires appeasing to get his affection. If that’s your narrative, if you respond to God at all, it’s probably because you want to earn his love.
But when you consider what God really thinks of you, you can respond from a place of security in already being loved.
It is vital to remember the true story: that God‘s love for you, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, precedes and is unattached to your responsiveness or your capacity to recognize him. He loves you simply because you are.
Taking time to remember the story of God’s love for you may not necessarily change what you do in response to God working in your life. But it absolutely impacts your motivation. This is why remembering the gospel is essential to partnering with the Holy Spirit. It gives him a chance to change the narrative of who you believe yourself to be. A chance to move us from a place of false self to true self.
This is the inward journey of a lifetime. God created us so that we might be in a loving relationship with him as sons and daughters.
Through this reflection guide, please spend some time reflecting on the good news: God loves you because he loves you.
Find a quiet place, and pull out a pen and paper. Ensure you won’t be interrupted for the next few moments.
Take a few deep breaths before beginning. Allow your body to be at ease.
Begin by acknowledging God’s presence. Give thanks that he is near. Recognize that he loves you.
Befriend your distractions. If anything comes to mind that might distract you, jot it down, or imagine placing it on the chair beside you, and say “I’ll come back to you in a moment, friend.”
Henri Nouwen writes that people are tempted to believe several untrue stories about who they are. Consider these for a moment:
- I am what I have.
- I am what I do.
- I am what other people say or think about me.
Does one of these stories resonate with you today? Was there a secret thought, public event, or conversation you had recently where one of these stories was a motivation? Take a moment and step into that memory.
What feelings do you associate with that moment?
Can you tell God about the story you are tempted to believe and how it makes you feel? Share with him as you are able.
Read the following passage three times slowly:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.John 15:9
Is there something you sense God is saying to you as you’ve shared your story with him? Some grace he wants to give you? Some invitation, perhaps? Some assurance?
What is the story you sense God telling you today? How is it different from the story you shared with him moments ago?
What is happening in your body as you reflect on this exchange? Is there some tension being held or released?
Will you receive God’s story over you today, or do you notice any resistance in you? It’s OK if you do. It’s good information, and you can spend time sharing this with God.
What has this experience drawn out of you?
Finish reflecting with a prayer that expresses your heart at this time.
After you pray, perhaps there is something worth journaling from your time of pausing and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Or perhaps there is something worth sharing with a close friend, one who will listen well.
If nothing significant happened, don’t give up. God is working in your life, but sometimes it takes a while to recognize his work for what it is. This slow recognition is common, and worth waiting for. Continue looking. Continue listening.
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