Happy Thursday. This is the third time I’ve woken up in my new house. My family just moved about twenty minutes away to Clyde from Waynesville where we originally arrived in North Carolina, and so far I’ve discovered there’s little that’s better than sitting with my morning cup of coffee in front of glass doors that look out over the back porch and rolling green hills. I simultaneously want to let my lazy eyelids close for a nap as well as start singing to God about how great He is for creating such a scene and letting me be a part of it.
It’s a typical spring break morning, inching along as we take our time to wake up, unhindered by the academic term schedule. At some point I get a bowl of cereal and come back to the table in front of the doors to look out again across the green. My Dad clicks away on his laptop keyboard in the chair next to me, and my sisters fiddle around in the kitchen for their own breakfast, constantly buzzing and bumping into each other like sleepy bees. Bella, our golden retriever is asleep under the table at my Mom’s feet. I catch myself humming, “How marvelous, how wonderful, is my savior’s love for me.” Breakfast finishes, and people somewhat scatter across the house to continue the unpacking process in each of the rooms, but I’m still at the table. Not really wanting to stand just yet (I still haven’t been able to shake this cold), I convince myself that checking social media would be at least a little productive, since I am just sitting here after all. Opening Pinterest, I’m greeted by an endless timeline of images and quotes, one after the other, like every other kind of social media, and I scroll through dozens of them before stopping as one glares out of the phone at me in bold black letters.
“You are flesh and bone. You deserve to be loved.”
I look out at the green, the hills, the mountains on the horizon, still humming. Oh on the contrary, I must say I disagree.
I don’t deserve it. No one deserves it. Love is not an entitlement. In fact, the truth is much better than that nonsense of a sentence. I do not deserve to be loved. I was created for it.
There’s this verse in the Bible that talks about how while we were still bathing in death, Jesus came to rescue us by taking the death penalty for us (Romans 5:8). From this, here’s the first few things that can’t escape my notice.
- He loved us first.
- And He’s God.
That means that anything that we do, we do from a place of being completely known (since He’s, well, God) and completely loved (He died for me). I do not have to get cleaned up first and somehow try to deserve it. When we live in that knowledge, wow life gets colors we didn’t even know were there. Because that, at the most basic level, is who we are.
Now, you don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I’m entitled to have a mind.” Because first of all, how can you say you deserve something you were created with? Freely given? And second, well I don’t deserve a mind. It’s part of who I am. What I’m made of. Claiming to deserve it would reveal to anyone listening that I didn’t really know what a mind actually was.
You don’t earn or deserve your mind. It’s already there. It’s who you are.
You don’t earn or deserve love. It’s already there. Freely given. It’s who you are. Loved, by the one who made you. Claiming to deserve this love, only reveals how you have reduced this selfless, loyal, sacrificing gift, to a conditional bargain based on behavior and achievement.
That is not this love, for this is the opposite of conditional.
It is this knowledge, and acceptance at the heart level, that fuels our entire life. And when we react in that identity, our response is to love our creator back with all that we are.
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
That, in essence, is who we are created to be and what we are created to do. It is when we live in this identity that everything else falls into place, and our response to give back that love is demonstrated in the billions of different ways unique to each individual He has made. We love Him, love ourselves, and love others, and the only reason we are able to is because He loved us first.
“There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”
No you can’t earn it. Because no, you don’t deserve it. But our God is so good, and He loved us anyway. He loves us anyway. Even when we continue to fail, continue to make mistakes, and continue to think that we have it all figured out in our minds (that He gave us…) and doubt Him. He’s so good, He loved us first, and He loves us anyway. It’s who He is, and it’s who we are.
How marvelous. How wonderful. And my song shall ever be.