Oh my gosh, Notting Hill, the best movie ever. I am sitting here watching it while I write this. It is the epitome of what I have always wanted in my heart. Someone to love me, just for me. To love me just as I am, not for any other reason. Take a look.....
Rejection, in my opinion, is the opposite of love. Honestly, I think the fear of rejection might be my biggest fear of all. I think the fear of rejection fuels a lot of my actions, and a lot of my hurt feelings. When I ask myself, "Self? Where did this fear of rejection come from?", what popped into my mind was a kickball field at Taft Elementary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was in 5th grade and two kids where standing in front of group of kids. Taking turns, they would call out a name and that kid was "on the team!" Guess whose name was last? Guess what that heartless boy said when he saw it was me standing there? "Ugh! I guess we have to have her on our team." What a jerk! I should have punched him square in his stupid jaw. Anyway, to avoid that kind of rejection from ever happening to me again I put on a protective candy shell called "Look at me I am awesome!" As long as I can keep you looking at me and talking to me, you can't reject me. As I said, in the end I just want to be loved. The problem with trying to get everyone to love me and no one to reject me is that it is a bucket with a hole in it. No one can ever fill me with the love I really need. There is only one person who can love me the way I need to be loved. One guess who!
Last year, Jesse and I were meeting with Pastor Doug. He asked me if I ever struggled with God's love for me. Without any hesitation, I said, "No, I don't struggle at all with God's love. I know He loves me." In my mind I thought, but did not say out loud, "Have you met me Pastor Doug? Do you know all the things I do for God? How much I think about Him? How consistently I pray to Him? How I study my bible? Of course God loves me! I am the bomb.com!" Anybody ever heard the proverb that says "Pride comes before a fall?" I was so confident that God loved me because I was doing all the things He told me to do. If I screwed up I would repent, punish myself and beg God to forgive me. God was coming for my heart though, He was about to show me His love was not based on me....
Jesse and I spent two years at bible school in Michigan. We got to spend two years studying the bible and learning about God. When we left school, I was in AWE of God. I was fully ready to worship and serve Him for the rest of the time He gave me. I learned that He created the universe, that He was telling a story of redemption in His word and that He wanted me to be a part of the story. When I think about my mindset as we came home, I think I can best describe it with these scriptures:
Exodus 14:31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
Psalm 33: 6 The Lord merely spoke,
and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
and all the stars were born.
7 He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
8 Let the whole world fear the Lord,
and let everyone stand in awe of him.
9 For when he spoke, the world began!
It appeared at his command
God is all-powerful and all-knowing and created the whole universe. He merely spoke and the world began. He unleashed 9 plagues on Egypt to show the Egyptians who he was and to set the Israelites back on their heals. Through no fault of any of my professors, and most likely because of my massive fear of rejection, that is where I stayed. Set back on my heals in awe, and in fear and trembling of God. So afraid God would reject me. I knew in my heart that the things He did where because He loved us, but I was stuck in place with "fear of the Lord." Awe does exactly what it is supposed to do. It causes us to want to do what God says, andto avoid His wrath. It causes us to acknowledge that God is God and to worship Him. It causes you to straighten up and fly right so to speak.
So what would be so wrong with just staying in awe of God? What's wrong with fearing Him so you will fly right? The problem is that you would be doing those things out of fear and that is not the kind of relationship He wants with us. He doesn't want me to be in fear of rejection. Fear cannot change me, it can only make me do stuff. Fear leaves me feeling heavy and like a slave. God does not think of me as His slave.
How do I know that the God who created the universe loves me? The bible tells me so!
Psalm 139: 13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
Have you ever knit anything? It is a labor of love. It takes concentration and fortitude. It takes patience and skill. It takes thought and planning. I broke my ankle a few years ago and to stave off the bordem I learned how to knit. Let's just say, after the cast came off the knitting went by the wayside because it is so hard! But what I think of when I knit something is how much I loved what I finished. I was so proud of my handy work. I also loved giving what I had made to someone. Knowing what little I do about knitting I can see how much God loves me because He says He knitted me together in my mother's womb.
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That Psalm also says He watched me while I was formed. That does not sound to me like a God who is uninterested in me or waiting to reject me. I remember when my kids were newborns I would just watch them over-flowing with love for them. To see them move their little hands, and make noise was so amazing and made me drunk in love with them.
But the kicker is at the end of that portion of the Psalm. "How precious are your thoughts about me, they cannot be numbered." I am struck by the fact that the God who spoke the world into existence, put all the stars in the sky, and designed the ocean, has precious thoughts of me. The bible is overflowing with declarations of God's love for us. One more amazing example is that we are adopted by Him when we believe in Jesus and we get to call Him "Abba., Father."
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
"Abba" is a greek word that is a personal name for someone in your family circle. People generally think it means something like Daddy. WAIT! You mean to tell me that the God that created the universe say's I can call Him daddy. So I am not a slave of His, I am His daughter and I get to call Him Daddy. This drove home the fact that I do not have to live in fear of God not loving me and rejecting me. I have not received a spirit that makes me a fearful slave, just doing things because I am afraid of God.
I think it is only natural that if God tells us that he is our Daddy it makes us think of our earthly father. I hope you have a dad like I do. He is strong and faithful. He always comes through for me. He is always expecting more out of me than I think I am capable of. He believes I can do anything. He is a very steady presence in my life. I am almost 40 years old and an encouraging text from my dad is still just what I need sometimes. These are all things that illustrate for me some minute portion of how God feels about me. He created me, he knit me together, planned my days gave me a family and thinks about me.
I am so sorry if your earthly father was in no way a representation of your heavenly father. What you need to know is earthly fathers might make mistakes sometimes but your heavenly father never makes mistakes. Not when he made you, not when he prepared your life for you, and He loves you.
Had Pastor Doug not asked me that question last year I probably would still be stuck in awe and being just a girl standing in front of a Big God asking IF He loves me. I would be doing things and serving at church because I was afraid God would not love me if I didn't. But because I am loved by God he started showing me how he loves me. I realized that my Awe of God makes me sure of His love for me. What I mean is that my awe of God makes the bible real to me, and if the bible is real to me then I have to believe what it says. In the bible God says He loves me. Because I know he is all-powerful, all-knowing and my creator I know that He is the one who can fill that endless need for love inside me. In fact I would say with some certainty that He put that need to be loved inside of me so I would run to Him.
Do you remember when you first started liking a guy? I do! I would meet a guy and be all impressed by him and wanted him to be impressed by me. To start off I would put my best foot forward. If I was going somewhere I thought that he might be I looked my cutest. When I was around him I would act super cool so he would think I was cool. It was thrilling to find out what he thought of me or if he even noticed me. I would study him, and do things that would impress him. I'm not saying I was a stalker but as I think back over time spent "studying" guys, I may have come close to that line. Anyway, I was mortified if I did anything that made him think I was a dork. I was always on high alert around him. At times the anxiety of being around him would create butterflies in my stomach.
This is where I have been with the Lord. Totally impressed and in awe of Him that I have butterflies in my stomach. Always on my best behavior so He will notice me and think I am cool. Trying to impress him and being scared of doing something that He would think is not cool. Wondering what he thought of me.
So then lets, say, I got the guy from above. Let's call him Jesse. Jesse and I are now married. I start to let him see me without make-up and in sweatpants. I start to trust that I am not going to be a dork in front of him. I start to have less anxiety and more trust that he is not going anywhere and that he loves me.
So that is where I am with God right now. The time is passing and the awe is doing what it is meant to do. It makes me want to know more about the Lord. Be around Him more. Learn to trust Him, learn how He loves me. I get butterflies when He shows me that He sees me, and answers my specific prayers. I am just a girl standing in front of a Big God asking Him if He loves her. AND HIS ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING YES!!! I love you! Unlike that jackwagon, William in Notting Hill, who says "Can I say no?"
I wanted to share with you a few things God has used to help me really understand his love for me.
Yes that is a lullaby album meant for children, but for someone who needs a remedial course in God's love, it was amazing. Christy Nockles wrote songs based on scripture that teach us about God's love. It is amazing.
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This past fall, Pastor Doug did a series on the High Views of God. One of our High Views is His Love, check out this podcast.
And most importantly, time in my prayer chair. Just being with Him, reading His word and letting Him teach me about how he loves me.
In the end believing God loves me is the most important thing. Otherewise I become a girl standing infront of (any number of things, people, service opprotunites) asking them to love me. No one but God can fill that need for me. If I try to fill it with my husband's love, it will fall short, even though I happen to have the best husband, because he is human and he has the same need for God's love that I do. If I try to fill it with people, I will have to jump from friend to friend because I will get disapointed. And likewise if I live in fear of God instead of a relationship with Him I will be a slave to trying to impress God enough so he will love me. What I am reminding myself of with this post is that God loves me. I don't have to be afraid of Him, I can be in awe and love Him at the same time. His word says that while I was still a enemy of God, He sent Jesus to make a way for me to be at peace with God. I am reminding myself that God loves me right now. He is not holding His love back for the future Sarah that has walked with Him for 50 years and is all holy, respectful, and chill. He loves me now, because where I am right now is what He had planned for me as he was watching me grow in my mother's womb. Thank you Lord, I love you for that.