In tracking down my own sense of unworthiness, I remembered sixteen-year-old Madi, desperate for love and attention, in a bathroom stall crying because her first love just cheated on her and rejected her. He chose someone else. To her that obviously meant she wasn’t good enough. Because he picked someone else.
Years later, I was still in the same endless cycle of wanting to be wanted. But I reached a point where I was so tired of being tired. I finally looked into the eyes of my sixteen-year-old self and just began to speak truth into her heart that had been believing lies for so long. I told her, “I’m sorry for what he did to you. But don’t let his inability to see your worth make you question it. You are picked and you are loved.” It was a powerful moment going back to where the lie was born.
In Genesis 3, after the fall of humanity, Adam and Eve are covered in shame after falling for the enemy’s deception. The enemy deceived Eve with the lie that there was good outside of God. As they are hiding in their sin and shame, God approaches them, asking where they are and Adam responds, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And following Adam’s response is a question that has penetrated my soul many times:
Who told you that?
Who told you that you weren’t enough? Who told you that you were damaged goods? Who told you that you were unworthy of being loved? Who told you that?
What if I were to tell you that what we’ve been believing about love is rooted in lies? Many of us have lost sight of what real love is. We have believed the lies of the enemy of what real love is, looking to media and the tainted picture that Hollywood paints. If we base our definition of love on an ever-changing culture, we’re going to stay confused. If we use our own emotions as a standard for love, they will continue to fail us. We will never feel the security we crave if we try to build it on the quicksand of today’s version of love. But what about a love that is never changing, never failing, and never leaving? Isn’t that what we all want?
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV tells us pretty clearly how love works.
‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
First and foremost, we must set our hearts right with God, know the depths of His love for us, and believe that His words about us are true.
Our relationship with God is the foundation. This is where everything begins and ends. And without that foundation, no other love will stand or satisfy. The love that comes from God is greater than any love we could ever try and find apart from Him. Just think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV. When talking about love, it says,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I hate to break it to you, but that kind of love is bigger than you and me! And that kind of love is greater than what we can give on our own. That’s why figuring out where you stand with God matters so much when it comes to loving others. Cultivating a connection with Him is what sets you up to be successful in healthy relationships. Getting to know His character by reading His words and spending time with people who know Him well help you become more Christlike and, as a result, more loving.
Once we have our relationship right with God, then comes the often-difficult work of learning to love ourselves. When those two relationships are where they should be, only then can we start to talk about loving other people, whether that’s cultivating a deep community of friends, better relationships with family, or a romantic relationship — all three of which combine to create a healthy support system.
When we can learn to see God, ourselves, and others in whole, holy, and healthy ways our hearts will stop looking for love in all the wrong places. We were made for love, but it takes work to get these loves in order. But believe me when I say it’s possible to know the love of God. It’s possible to love — maybe even like — yourself. And it’s possible to navigate the matrix of relationships with confidence and hope. It’s possible to look out to your future with joy. It’s possible to have the love everybody wants.
Thank you, Lord, for showing us what true love looks like and where it comes from. Give me faith to seek You first with all of my heart, so that everything else will flow from You. Help me to live like You and to love like You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written for FaithGateway by Madison Prewett Troutt, author of The Love Everybody Wants.
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Are you tired of being tired? What lies do you need to confront? Look back and ask yourself, “Who told you that?” and ask the Lord to show you what is true. He will! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full