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I just heard someone pose the question: “How were you taught that God loves you?”

My first thought, interestingly, was actually the answer to the question: “How were you taught to get a man to love you?” Hmm. Those are two completely different questions, but that is what my heart heard and answered.

One must beg for the affection of a man, I learned.
And so I did. I begged and begged and hounded and found one who’d marry me. Begged one to marry me, truth be told.
And then I begged and begged some more, for him to love me, for something he perhaps didn’t have to give.
So that was my 20s and 30s in my relational world.

But also in my 20s and 30s, I met the Church.
And the question shifted to, “How do you get God to love you?”

Easy. You build the Kingdom. And you use your gifts. And, as a woman, you selflessly serve others. And you take that hill. And you earn that crown. And you do.not.stop. Until you’re exhausted. But then you work some more.
So that was my 20s and 30s in Church.

But also in my 20s and 30s, I had some things to prove.
And the question morphed into, “How do you get that validation you’ve always yearned for?”

Again, piece of cake. I wrote books. And started ministries. And began a public speaking career. And traveled to third world countries. And got a job on staff at a church. And raised children. And took care of a home. And showed everyone that I could do it all and then some. And. And. And. Like a little girl holding up her artwork, watching, waiting. Until I was exhausted.

And then, in my 40s, it all fell apart.
Because it was all tied together.  The husband and the Church and the work and the faith.

I couldn’t get my husband to love me, no matter what I did.
I couldn’t get God to love me through striving.
And I couldn’t get validation that I was enough, okay, not too broken, not too needy through hustle.

There was no more husband. And there was no more church.
And there was no more job and ministry and office and titles and there were cancelled speaking engagements and humiliation and wagging tongues and judgment and quiet and stopping.

And. And I realized that I had never truly known the love of God.
Because it wasn’t something I needed to beg for, and it wasn’t something I could strive for, and it wasn’t something I could garner through shiny effort.

I had been loved all along, you see. Just for me. Just for being me.
And I don’t think I knew it until all the rest was gone.

Do you know that you’re loved? Like, really really really know it? Because you are. You are the unconditionally beloved daughter of God and he is so delighted with you. You came into this world and you start each day already completely loved with no other loves to beg for and nothing to prove to anyone.

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wholeness help:
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*Facebook group for all women: https://elisabethklein.com/join-wholehearted-group/
*top 10 tips for taking care of you: https://elisabethklein.com/top-ten-tips/
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