What emotions, questions, or thoughts come to mind when you think about living loved?
Last week, I posted this question on my Facebook page, looking for feedback. Although the exact wording varied, the predominant theme among the answers is: Living each day with the inexplicable joy, peace, and security of knowing God unconditionally loves us.
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19 NIV)
Because He loved us first
Love begins with God. First, He lavishes us with His unconditional love and acceptance and gives us the free will to decide whether or not to love Him in return. Quite the opposite of the way we humans go about loving, isn’t it? Often, we play hard to get and make the interested party earn our love and affection. That way, there are zero risks of being rejected.
Behavior is fueled by belief
What about you, do you struggle to believe you are loved, just the way you are, no matter what?
If your answer is yes, my friend, it’s okay because you are not alone. Research studies indicate unmet emotional needs in childhood negatively impact our ability to love and be loved. Consequently, too many of us struggle through life, shackled by insecurity, and a tragic case of mistaken identity.
I am who God says I am
Unless we see our worth and value from God’s perspective, teeter-tottering between “He loves me, He loves me not” will be our modus operandi. I know from experience that when we believe the lies and labels we or others place upon ourselves being loved as we are is a far-fetched fairytale. This is especially true for those who have suffered abuse, betrayal, or abandonment.
God’s words are the only words that matter
We must identify the lies we subconsciously believe and replace them with Truth. Otherwise, we will always struggle to be something we are not because we allow our personal histories and circumstances to tell us who we are. But, changing our mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intentionality and perseverance to pay attention to what we are thinking at all times.
When fear, anxiety, worry, or any other negative emotion begins to impact my feelings, I stop and ask myself, “What thought was I just thinking that activated the emotion I am feeling?” Ninety-five percent of the time, the thought in my mind can be countered and dispelled by the Word of God. I also find it helpful to pray each morning and ask God to give me the confidence to be my most natural self and to understand my emotional needs. When my God-given emotional needs are unmet, I become depleted. When my bucket is empty, I have nothing to pour into others; therefore, I begin to operate primarily out of my weaknesses.
Again, this is why it is crucial to pay attention to our thoughts. One way to identify whether the thought we are thinking is a lie or actually conviction over something we should genuinely address is to ask, “Who told you that?” Just like Satan deceived Eve in the Garden when He said, “Did God really say…”, he will do the same to us. Over time, you will begin to recognize a pattern and be able to identify specific areas where you are consistently challenged. Find scriptures that address your “Achilles heel” and be ready to counter the lie the moment it begins to take your thoughts captive. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started<3
Kelly’s recommended scriptures to counter negative thoughts and emotions:
- Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth from Ephesians 3:16-19 (paraphrased as a personal prayer for you)
I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in my heart as I trust in Him. My roots will grow down into God’s love and keep me strong. And may I have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May I experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then I will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
- Psalm 139:13 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
- Ephesians 1:4 NLT Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
- Ephesians 1:11 NLT Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
- John 15:16 NLT You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
- Ephesians 2:8 NLT God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
- Ephesians 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Sending peace, love, and happiness to all!
Click here to download a FREE printable PDF: 1 JOHN 4 19 PDF