“You don’t believe God loves you, do you?”
“You don’t believe God loves you, do you?”
“Of course, I do — yes, of course.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I believe God loves me — I do.”
Freak! That was my first thought after the uncomfortable exchange with my chiropractor, Dr. Lundgren. My next thought was, Why is my chiropractor asking me about God? He is such a great doctor — why did he have to go and ruin it? Great, now I have to find a new one.
Why would I think God didn’t love me? What did my doctor see in me that I didn’t? What made him think I did not believe I was loved? The funny thing is, I would never find out because I never went back to him. I was terrified of his evaluation of me. We had a great doctor-patient relationship, and, looking back, it was awesome that he felt comfortable enough to call me out and hold me accountable for what I professed to be — a Christian. I was just not willing to hear the truth in that way. And, in all honesty, he was absolutely right: I did not believe I was loved. I certainly did not believe I was worthy.
Ever After is one of my favorite movies. It is a take on the classic Cinderella story, and, in my not-so-humble opinion, Drew Barrymore can do no wrong; so, of course it is the best rendition. After an emotional exchange, the lead character, Danielle, asks her stepmother if she ever loved her. Her stepmother coldly replies, “How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?”
Ouch. That line gets me every time. And it best illustrates how I have always felt about my relationship with God. I must irritate him with my shame, doubt and fear. He must be tired of my constant screw-ups and the overwhelming amount of sin in my life. He has to, at some point, want to just kick off his glowing golden Birkenstocks and get rid of me — a meaningless and annoying little pebble in this world.
But he doesn’t. And in anguish I often scream to the heavens, “Why not? How can you love this … mess? I have done nothing good. I am…nothing good.”
We all know Psalm 139:13-14: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Wait. Back it up. “… I know that full well”? Do I? Do I know that full well? I blame American Idol for some of my doubt. You know some of those kids can’t sing, but their mommas cheer them on and insist, “Baby, you are better than that J.Lo.” But they are not. They are not better than J.Lo! Not even close. But I appreciate the love these mommas have for their babies and how they completely believe they hear sweet, sweet melodies coming from their clueless, tone-deaf, pitchy kids. Which is why there are impartial judges to speak the truth and crush hopes and dreams.…
So, if I am being told I am good at everything when it’s obvious I’m not, what else am I believing to be true when it’s not?
This is where I get lost. I get completely tripped up on you telling me I’m as good as J.Lo, but then I don’t get my ticket to Hollywood. Not even close. So when you tell me I’m beautiful or smart or worthy of your love and forgiveness, is that truth or are you just “Jlo-ing” me? And what about the other people — the impartial judges in my life who have looked me straight in the eyes and said,
“I don’t want you anymore.”
“You’d be prettier if you lost weight.”
“Who do you think you are?”
Or, the worst in my opinion, as a 10-year-old child being told by my teacher, “You are a moron and can’t do anything right.” Ugh. Not even the courtesy of a half-J.Lo.
So, God, how again do I know that full well?
Ephesians 1:3–6: Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
OK, wait again. But, God, are you telling me that even though I’m not as good as J.Lo, even though the world tells me I’m not enough, I’m actually good enough for you? You want me? And I give you pleasure?
So, you intentionally chose me and you love me even more than those mommas love their clueless, deaf-tone, pitchy kids?
And, God, you’re saying that you’ll be with me, cheering me on whether I get that ticket to Hollywood or a ticket for doing 80 in a 20-mph zone — or worse? And you’ll still think I’m good, no matter what the impartial judges have to say?
Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
What about when I really mess up? Will you still be with me?
Psalm 139:17-18: How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
I am still with you
OK, God. I know that full well.
A girl named Lou