[dc]W[/dc]hen was the last time someone told you that you are the “Beloved of God?” That God is actually a jealous lover who pursues you at all costs?
It’s almost embarrassing, isn’t it? To think that God’s love for you could be so intimate. So personal. So deeply affectionate.
It’s much easier to look inside yourself and see all the gunk. All the flaws. All the quirks. All the sins, chips and scratches. Kind of like the seaglass I’m holding in my hand…
Worthless scraps. Broken shards. A hint of what was originally designed to be whole and useful. If we allow that to be our only perspective.
Or, we can see ourselves as God sees us: Infinitely more valuable than we ever thought or imagined.
In a word, Beloved.
Henri Nouwen is one of my all-time favorite spiritual writers who knew much about being the Beloved of God. Being the Beloved of God is a recurring theme throughout all his books. All this coming from one of the best spiritual writers of our day…a priest who often struggled with loneliness, insecurity, and depression.
In Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved, he contrasts the challenge of living as the Beloved of God with the reality of knowing our own brokenness.
Nouwen writes, “The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The powers of the darkness around us are strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people. But when we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rest upon us.”
Living as the blessed and Beloved children of God instead of head-drooping, sorry-filled, broken-backsliding sinners. Isn’t our self-absorbed introspection more about self-love than the spontaneous joy and peace found in being the Beloved of God?
Finding that little gem of truth, that is being the Beloved of God, is like picking up a tiny bit of gorgeous turquoise seaglass on the shoreline of our lives.
Beauty in the eye of the Beholder.
Questions: When was the last time you really allowed yourself to be the Beloved of God? What does that look like? How can you focus on that truth today instead of the self-absorption that comes with too much introspection?
Living as a chosen, loved, and accepted child of God is a major theme I explored in my book The Longing: Embracing the Deepest Truth of Who You Are. (Available here in eBook)
You can order Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved on Amazon.