By: Leah Shelp
I once had a friend ask me, “Do you feel like God’s beloved?”
We sat across from each other in the cafeteria of our small, Christian University. A plate of scrambled eggs steamed in front of me. We had just come from the chapel after hearing a message on how God calls us His beloved in the Bible. My friend held my gaze from across the table. Her earnest eyes gleamed as she waited for me to answer.
I had honestly never considered the question before. Did I feel like God’s beloved? I wasn’t even sure I knew what that meant… Did I feel like His daughter—precious and honored in His sight, dearly loved and cherished by Him? Did I feel beloved? Of course not...
My first instinct was to answer no...how could I? It seemed frivolous to me, to both believe and feel that I was beloved by God. Wasn’t just believing this enough? Besides, God’s truth is not based on our feelings... and feelings change.
But the question stayed in my mind over the next few weeks; it buzzed around my thoughts, like a fly zipping around my ear. This question caused me to examine what was going on in my heart, what I was believing, and most of all, why I didn’t feel this way.
When my friend asked that question, it had never occurred to me to ask what I felt about God’s love for me. Nowadays, my answer to her question is different. I do feel like the beloved of the Lord, most of the time. I am still growing. There are several things that had to change in both my head and in my heart in order for me to answer this question in a way other than, “Of course not.”
I am not perfect. I am still learning and growing in my connection with God and in believing His truth. But I know too many people (and have been one of them) who go through life not knowing God’s true heart for them—and worse, believing lies instead. The more we can know God’s heart for us, the more free we are to receive the rest that He has for us in that identity.
EXAMINING OUR HEARTS
Even if we are unaware of it, our emotions are often attached to our beliefs. When we examine these emotions closely, we can see what possible lies we might be holding onto.
If you are like me and do not feel like God’s beloved, what are you feeling instead? Once I stopped asking why I did not feel like the beloved, I was able to ask myself what I was feeling, instead. What feelings are there for you, friend; do you feel unworthy? Do you feel that God is mad at you? Do you feel not good enough or unlovable? Overwhelmed? Disconnected from His love? Doubtful that He cares about you? The emotions that come up when we consider God’s feelings toward us may give us a clue as to what lies we believe, that are simply not true. For me, I realized that, at my core, I doubted that God loved me.
What helped me to challenge my feelings was to better know the truth about God’s heart for me. The Bible tells us that the word is our sword, strong enough to take down any hidden lies of the enemy (Hebrews 4:12). When I examined what was in my heart, I realized I wasn’t truly sure what God felt towards me. In fact, sometimes I was worried that He didn’t think about me at all, or worse, that He was angry at me. I found it difficult to challenge these feelings at first, but when I looked at what the Bible says, it helped me to understand God’s heart better. In Psalm 139, David writes about the Lord, saying, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Prov. 139:17, NLT). To know that God’s thoughts about me are so vast, they cannot be numbered, means I am always on His mind! In 2 Peter, it states that, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). God was not mad at me; he doesn’t hold anger against His children, it isn’t His character. Instead, He is patient, slow to anger, and rich steadfast love and mercy (Psalm 145:8). As I continued to read Scripture, I found that the more I knew about God’s true feelings toward me, the more it challenged how I felt. The more we know God’s perfect love, the more we can start to let it change our hearts.
LETTING GO OF UNTRUTHS
“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”
~ Deuteronomy 33:12
Leah Shelp was born in raised in the Seattle area in Washington state, but moved to Southern California to study creative writing and teaching. She now lives in the town of La Mirada with her husband and enjoys trips to the beach, running, and reading in her spare time. Her favorite activity has and always will be writing of any kind! Leah has been published in her University’s Literary and Creative Arts Journal and currently works as a freelance writer.