Have you ever struggled to feel worthy of love?
Before you can embrace a romantic love, or really even the deep love of a friend, you have to learn:
How to embrace the LOVE of your creator.
In this article, Tish explores the perfect love of God and what it means to love yourself by embracing God’s love for you.
In This Article
About the Author
Tish Hedger MA, PLPC is a professional counselor specializing in marriage counseling, sex therapy, anxiety, and depression treatment. You can schedule an appointment with Tish for online counseling or in-person at our Kansas City, Missouri counseling center.
Longing for Everlasting Love
Love. It has been enough to start wars and end wars. It has been a central theme in every culture’s literature in every age that has come and gone. Hollywood lights inflame the fantasy of love that can complete you, adjourn pain, and dissolve troubles.
Everyone wants the passion of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the undying commitment of Homer’s Odysseus and Penelope, and the friendship of the Office’s Jim and Pam.
Does this love exist? Why the fascination and obsession? And can we possess it?
Unfailing love is not a myth, fable, or fairy-tale. There is a love that will not fail. A love…
We cannot be separated from; that cannot be shaken by tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword; that perseveres through death, life, powers, height, and depth; that angels, rulers and anything else in all creation cannot shake; that can empower us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:35 -39).
There is a love whose breadth, length, height and depth cannot be comprehended because it surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18).
A love as strong as death that many waters cannot quench nor can floods drown it out (The Song of Solomon 8: 6-7).
This is the love of God. The love that first loved us. The love that came for us. The unfailing love Christ demonstrated when he laid down his life in exchange for ours.
1 John 4:7-11 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and whoever loves is born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
Hollywood and literature often peddle a love that is first for you.
Love that exists to fill you, complete you, satisfy you, and keep you impassioned. If you make your desire the center of your love pursuits you will grow disillusioned. No human love can quench this thirst. Not the love of a lover, child, brother, sister, parent, or friend.
Human love, on it’s own, is flawed, fickle, and grows weary.
It is out of response to the unfailing love of God that we are mandated to love. To love our neighbor, love our children, love our spouse, love even our enemies. A love not in pursuit of our gain, but in pursuit of reflecting and emulating the unfailing love given to us. A love that does not see love as only a means to meet our needs. But knows, as we believe and experience the perfect acceptance and love through Christ, we will find a power and a peace to love others. This brings brilliant glory to God and the fulfillment and purpose our hearts crave. This love positions us to love others well.
God’s design is that we would first learn about this unfailing love from our parents.
As children, we naturally internalize our world. Children take in their environment and attach meaning to their interactions and experiences. If a mom is kind to her toddler, the child does not say to himself, “Wow! My mom is so kind and loving,” though, hopefully one day this will occur to them. But in the child’s stage of development, the child receives the gut message: “I am good;” “I am enough.”
To emotionally thrive we all need the security that comes from acceptance and unconditional love. When this message is exchanged between primary caregiver and child regularly, and then reinforced thousands of times through small and routine, though impactful interactions, a child will grow strong in emotional resilience and in positive self-concept. These interactions lay the foundation for the introduction to the unfailing love of God. The idea of an unconditional love is not unfeasible. They have experienced this kind of love every day their whole lives.
However, we are all being raised by human parents.
Parents, who like us have been effected by The Fall when sin broke creation and us with it. We are sinners not by choice but by nature. There is often much to overcome in our adult lives as we walk out our true identity in Christ of being accepted and loved. We may carry many wounds that make God’s unfailing love for us hard to believe or maybe our mind believes a truth that does not connect with our heart. We know a truth that we do not feel is true.
Overcoming persistent shame-based beliefs such as, “I am not good enough” and “I am unlovable” is possible. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31).
There is freedom, healing and hope for you.
Your ache for love is hard wired into every fiber of you. Therefore, in your pursuit of love:
First, find the answer for that ache in Christ. “On the day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Jesus stood that day and cried out to the people that he was/is the answer to the ache of their thirst. Come to Jesus, and believe in his love that died on the cross for your sins to make you a son or daughter of God.
Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4: 10 and 13, “If you had known me you would have asked me for a drink and I would have given you living water. Everyone who drinks of the water I give them will never be thirsty again. Because the water I give becomes in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus is referring to salvation and surrendering to the true and unfailing love and plan of God.
Second, order your love according to True Love’s design. You are:
- Created for God’s glory
- Loved perfectly by God
You must accept this as true and love yourself.
Love others from your secure identity as loved by God: extending to spouse, children, friends, enemies.
Three, pursue healing for shame. No matter how old the shame, how entrenched the lie or how true the accusations feel, you are not the one exception to God’s unfailing love or His truth. There is freedom for you.
May the Love of Christ compel you to love yourself and love others today.
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