Not too long ago I was given a simple spiral notebook by a very good friend. It was given to me to journal my thoughts during Lent. When the day came for me to open the notebook and begin my entries, I was amazed that this person had taken the time and energy to label each day’s page with a simple expression of Love.
The point of the journal was to write the thoughts of my heart and record what God was saying to me, and what He was doing IN me each day. I began the journal eagerly, and at first it was very easy to put at least a little something on each page. But then came the day when I wasn’t having such a great day. In fact it was a difficult, discouraging day. It was late in the evening and I hadn’t written anything in the notebook yet, and because it was, “one of those days”, even trying to pray and ponder and then write something just seemed out of reach. Hard. I felt defeated somehow.
I pulled the notebook onto my lap and stared at it, and then opened the page for the day. On the top, in simple handwritten letters it said, “Remember You are Loved”. I blinked the tears away as I stared at the words. Throughout that difficult day, I was not feeling particularly loved. In fact, I was feeling particularly anxious instead. But seeing the words, and knowing the heart of the person who wrote them seemed to change things. I let the words penetrate into me. Now everything was put into a new perspective.
Instead of viewing the day as a difficult one, and feeling alone in having to deal with the weights and concerns of not just myself, but other people, I was able to look at the day through the lens of being Loved. My focus shifted from the strains of the day’s journey and my weariness, to seeing all the places where God had held me. Sometimes when we are in a hard place, especially if it’s a recurring difficulty and we just don’t have the strength to deal with it, we slip into routine, let our hearts grow numb, and go through the motions trying not to feel too much so we can keep on going. Knowing I was loved gave me courage to look at what was, but I was no longer seeing it ALONE, and that gave me strength, lifted me, and helped me give thanks to God in all things.
Every day after that, I would read those headings my friend had written onto each page in the morning. It became a kind of ministry to my soul. Affirming words of life and love that anchored me for the day.
God’s Word is like that to us. He has written a word of Life and Affirmation into each day for us. In our busy and crowded life, we forget to look at who we are, who God says we are. And we forget that we are radically loved. That we fenced in and lifted by His gaze that is ever upon us. And that in being the desire of His Love, we have purpose. We can forget that Someone is looking into our lives and seeing all that is possible, all that is beautiful, and is speaking Words of Life to us so that we too begin to see the possibilities, and not just go through the motions of life and call it living.
When you hear what God is saying to you, what He truly thinks and even believes about you, you will begin to live purposefully, mindful of the Present-ness of the God who is always with you. It takes practice. It takes looking into His Book that He has prepared for you, and seeing what He has written for YOU. But you can’t just look into it. You have to choose to believe it. We have been programmed to believe that we are somehow exempt from all God’s goodness. That somehow, for some reason we fall short of being qualified to be Loved by God. What is in my life cannot separate me from the God Who is in my life.
You spend a lifetime believing lies that somehow you are separate and that you will never measure up. But He keeps calling you back to His Word, to what He has written, what He has spoken. What His desire is. And you keep reading. You pray to believe. You practice seeing through the lens of being loved. And you will see.