You. Are. Loved.

You. Are. Loved.
Just the way you are.
Warts, both physical and metaphorical.
Failures of any kind.
Open wounds.
Whether you are the wounded or the wound-er.

You. Are. Loved.

You are not loved because of something you have done.
And You are not loved because of something you have not done.
You are not loved because you are lovable.
You are not loved because you are unlovable.

You. Are. Loved.

The God of the Universe is completely and utterly crazy about you.

Not just when you were a cutie-pie as a toddler.
Not just when you got a Citizenship Award in 3rd grade.
Not just when you helped that little old lady across the street.
Or when you forgave the person who hurt you.
When you turned the other cheek.
When you gave sacrificially.
When you served tirelessly.
When you picked up your spouse’s dirty undies and put them in the hamper AGAIN.

He loved you then.

But He also loved you when you hit your little brother for taking your truck.
He loved you when you threw the world’s biggest temper tantrum in the grocery store.
He loved you when you cheated on your spelling test.
And when you cheated on your taxes.
Even when you cheated on your spouse.

God. Loves. You.
You. Are. Loved.

Because, for once in your life, this love is not based on your performance – or lack thereof.
It is based in His.
His performance.
His character.
His heart.
His choice.

God loves you because of Who He is.
Because He chooses to do so.
And He refuses not to.

That kind of love is unfathomable to our human minds.
We are creatures of measurement.
Weighing with invisible scales the worthiness of the ones we love.
Or want to love.
Or should love.
Or do not love.

And it is very, very often based in performance.
Because it is based on feelings.

He brought me flowers.
I feel cherished, thought of, remembered.
I love him.

She gave me a beautiful, thoughtful gift.
I feel cherished, thought of, remembered.
I love her.

The children obeyed.
I feel relieved, grateful, happy – and loved.

God blessed me in a tangible way.
I feel remembered, grateful, happy – loved.

But when he doesn’t bring flowers and instead says something critical, I feel everything but love.
When she forgets my birthday completely, I feel hurt and unloved.
When the children disobey, I feel like a failure.
When the blessing doesn’t come in the form or timing that I perceive to be best, I feel forgotten by God, rejected.

Because my very human definition of love is wrapped up in me.
My feelings.
My perceptions.
My understanding of the situation.
My grievances.

But His is not.
He has every right to NOT love me.
After all, He created me.
Designed me.
Created good works in advance for me to accomplish.
Has blessed me in extreme ways.

And I have rejected Him time and time and time again.
He has the right to destroy a creation that does not obey, is not grateful, forgets Him completely.
He has the right to throw up His hands and say, “I am done.”

But instead He opens His arms wide and says, “I am here.
I love you no matter what you have done – or have not done.
I have seen every moment of your life from beginning to end, and I still love you.
Your best days.
Your most magnificent choices.
The days you shine for Me.
And your worst days.
Your most selfish, prideful choices.
The days you slap Me in My face.
And every day in between. I have seen them all.
But I still love you.
No matter what.
I love you because you are Mine.
I love you because I AM Love.
And I love you because I choose to love you.
Your sin breaks my heart.
Not just because I am holy and perfect.
But because I know the consequences that disobedience brings to you.
I see the end results of each choice – and it grieves my heart when you go your own way instead of Mine.
But that never, ever changes my love for you.
Because it is not based in you.
It is based in Me.”

My friend, YOU ARE LOVED.

Let that soak in.
And let it change you.
Hold your head high.
Drop the shame.
Forgive yourself.
Love yourself.

And then become a conduit of that same love for others.
Do the right things – but not so you will be loved.
Because You ARE loved.
Serve out of gratitude, not compulsion.
Give out of giddy joy in response to all you have been given, not because you have to earn His love.
Live loved.

Jesus called that the “abundant life”.
And it is the only way to have a real life.

Remember – YOU. ARE. LOVED.

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