He knows me. And loves me anyway.

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It's classic Megan. Look, God, I'm starting this Bible study. Look, God, I'm reading this deep theological book. Look, God, at how I'm serving. Aren't you proud? Aren't you impressed?

Sometimes I forget He already knows everything about me. I try to start at the beginning and color my image so He is sure to see my best qualities and ignore the others. I get caught up in that awkward-beginning-friendship-mode, where I analyze and over-evaluate myself to figure out how I'm coming across to the other person, and perhaps try to tamper down my overly-enthusiastic side and only reveal the most perfect parts of me. (It's not something I'm particularly proud of).

Have you ever noticed the difference in the way you act, or feel, between those new friends and your family? It's not always flattering, but I know that with my sister I can argue with her. I can be silly, I can be loud, or I can sulk. Obviously I shouldn't always do or be these things, but I know I have the freedom to be myself. She knows all my faults already; I don't have to walk on eggshells trying to hide them. And she loves and accepts me anyway.

Have you realized that it's the same way with God? Sometimes I forget. Psalm 139 begins with, "O Lord, You have searched me and You know me...You are familiar with all my ways." Of course it sounds obvious to say this, but He does know everything about me. He knows my faults, my weaknesses, my pride; He knows my gifts, what I'm struggling with, and the emotions I can't make sense of. He knows me and understands me far better than I know myself.

And yet, He loves me.

Have you ever felt, If someone really knew me, they wouldn't like me? If they knew my faults...my sins...my struggles...the parts of me that aren't pretty, the parts that are messy...they'd realize that I'm just a pretender, and I don't measure up, and they would hate me?

I have.

But of course, none of us measures up. We all have our weaknesses, our messy parts, and our sins. We probably spend most of our life pretending to the rest of the world that we have it together, so no one ever discovers us and disowns us.

Yet there is someone who knows everything - even the parts we refuse to admit to ourselves, or the parts we don't know yet. The secrets and shame that we've never told anyone - He knows them too.

And He loves us. Not a dutiful, yes-I-love-you-because-I'm-supposed-to kind, but the I like you so much I love you kind. The I love you so much I gave my life to ransom you, to win you back, so you could spend eternity with me. The kind of love - and even liking - we don't believe could be possible if that person really knew all of our dark and dirty spots.

But God loves us anyway. And even more, no matter what we do or don't do in this life, no matter how much we think we've botched it up - we can never, ever lose His love.

No one knows us better than He does. And no one will ever love us more.

-- from the archives

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