Remember this, my friends: God is love, God cannot not love. Peter van Breeman says it much better than I can.
If we think God is a person who can divide his love, then we are thinking not of God but ourselves. God is perfectly one, the perfect unity. We have love, but God is love. His love is not an activity. It is his whole self.
It takes a lifetime to let ourselves be loved by such a fierce and tender God. God, though is a patient lover. We resist, we throw out the reasons we are not worthy of such a love and these excuses are swatted away by God’s gracious hand.
I was totally taken by surprise when my husband, Jack, proposed to me. I was still dating other men at the time, so obviously, he was much further along the relationship road than I was. In my shock, I asked him why he was proposing to me at this early stage of our relationship. He answered, “You’ve told me that you hold back your heart because you are afraid of rejection. I just want you to know that if and when you are ready to let your heart venture out, I will be there waiting for you.” Wow.
I had dated other men and had friends who had told me I was attractive, or had gifts to offer the world, but in my heart I thought, ‘Yeah, you don’t really know me, I’m actually quite ugly and selfish inside.’ But when Jack told me these things, I believed him. His love for me helped me believe God’s truth about myself. I decided I needed to let myself be loved by such a man. I agreed to marry him and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Such is God’s love for us. God knows we’ve been convinced through any number of circumstances and relationships that we are fundamentally unloveable. Yet God never forgets our true self, the beautiful soul he had in mind when he created us. He calls, invites and woos us into daring to believe his image of us is possible. Slowly, his love wins us over.
Anthony de Mello is quoted in Father Gregory Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart,
‘Behold the One beholding you and smiling.’ It is precisely because we have such an overactive disapproval gland ourselves that we tend to create God in our own image. It is truly hard for us to see the truth that disapproval does not seem to be part of God’s DNA. God is just too busy loving us to have any time left for disappointment.
and again, Fr. Boyle,
God, I guess, is more expansive than every image we think rhymes with God. How much greater is the God we have than the one we think we have. More than anything else, the truth of God seems to be about a joy that is a foreigner to disappointment and disapproval. This joy just doesn’t know what we’re talking about when we focus on the restriction of not measuring up.
We need to let ourselves be loved by such a God.
With you on the journey,
Thanks for the good word, Deb. I needed to read this today. I was just thinking last night that I really need a Debby retreat!
God graciously put me in your path, Karen. I am glad for our friendship. Plan a retreat, and I’ll be there!
Pingback: Ensuring acceptance and approval | The Mentored Life