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Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot my leftovers at the restaurant. What is wrong with me?
Good grief, why can’t I ever hold onto anything. I drop everything. Come on Sandra, you can do it. (rolling my eyes) It’s not that hard.
Surprise….I lost my glasses again. (disgusted with myself) I’m not doing anything until I find them. I don’t care how long it takes me.
Oh boy was it ever fun to live in the house with me, especially for my peace-loving, easy going, laid-back husband. It’s a good thing it was him that I married, that’s all I can say.
For the first 20 of our 21 years of marriage, I can honestly say that he lived with a frustrated and anxious woman who would frequently blurt out statements such as these.
Interestingly enough, I was not even fully aware that I was as stressed out as I was, because stress had become such a normal part of my daily life. God had to step in and show me just how much I needed His peace. He did that on January 2, 2012 during my devotional time with Him as He opened up my spiritual eyes to what I was missing and washed over me with exactly what I needed the most – His love.
As the stress inside me had finally, after all those years, caught my attention over the previous couple of months, it brought me to a very important time in my life. It brought me to my knees. Just one week earlier I had cried out to God in desperation, feeling that I couldn’t hang on much longer, begging for help. I’m so thankful God listens when we pray, aren’t you!
God gave me what He knew I needed most that day, which was the start of what would become a deep revelation of His great and very personal love for me. I didn’t really have any expectations of what would happen as I grabbed hold of the love of God that January day. All I knew was, it felt absolutely wonderful for my soul to be flooded with His love. Still, I was quite unaware that I would immediately start reacting differently to the same situations. I didn’t know at the time that I was going to be freed from living with this terrible anxiety of what everyone was thinking about me all the time. I didn’t know that I was headed for a peace that would actually surpass my understanding, a peace just like the Bible says is available to us. (see Philippians 4:7) I didn’t know, but it all started happening one change after another after another as the fears that had dictated my reactions were being crowded out by His love according to 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)
It looks to me from this verse like fear and perfect love (God’s love) cannot both live in the same space. That’s exactly why I started losing my fears the more I learned about and accepted God’s great love for me. I don’t believe there is an end to God’s great love for us and I plan on spending my lifetime unpacking His amazing love for me. I encourage you to do the same.
Here is an example that will help you understand just what God’s love does for us on the inside. Having His love is like having strong core muscles. What do core muscles do for us? They keep us stable and keep us from falling over.
Today I lost my credit card, something that would have un-nerved me in the past because losing it would have made me feel like a failure. On top of that, I would have felt like I was stupid for misplacing it. Today was different. Since I now have a strong sense of God’s perfect, unconditional love for me, I no longer feel like a failure or that I have anything to prove.
Imagine yourself getting hit with a strong wind. What is your natural reaction when that wind hits you? You squeeze those core muscles to keep from falling over, don’t you? Essentially, that is exactly what I did today when I misplaced my credit card and what I do now, every time I fail. It took me a while to get there, but now it is a natural reaction to run straight back to God’s love for me.
Let’s just say, in the instance of the credit card, if my mind starts to go in the wrong direction and I start feeling mad at myself, the love of God for me is so strong on the inside of me at this point, that my natural reaction is to squeeze my spiritual core muscles, reminding myself immediately that everything is ok because I am perfectly loved by God. Every time I do this, my frustration is replaced with a feeling of rest.
I hope you are getting the sense of what I am saying here. Are you beginning to see how God’s love can literally affect every area of your life in a positive way? As you grow in the knowledge of the revelation of God’s love, you get stronger and stronger and stronger at the very core of your being. I am excited for you to see that this is not just, “Oh yes, God loves me…yes, I know that. Let’s move on to something else now.” It’s more like, “Oh… my… goodness… God loves me… I think I’m gonna sit right here in the middle of His love and soak this in and grow in this for the rest of my life!”
Friends, God’s love has gotten such a hold on me that I have decided to devote the rest of my life to spreading the good news about God, how good He is and how much He loves people to anyone who wants to listen. People must know how much He loves them and many of them do not know, or there would be a lot less fear in people’s lives.
You’re going to catch this fire too, if you haven’t already. As you pray and ask God for a deeper revelation of His love for you, you will experience it, then you will not be able to help yourself, just like me. It will start flowing out of your life to others. Get ready, that’s all I can say!
One thing I have learned in the last 18 months is that our Christian walk is not suppose to be complicated. So if this seems simple, it’s because it is. It’s The Gospel. Jesus loves you this I know. So many of us got it as a child and lost it as an adult. We allowed Christianity to become complicated to us and the devil loved it. We let him deceive us into thinking that we had to do more to be loved more. That is the way the world works in many instances, but it is not the way our relationship with God works. His love for us is perfect!
To help you get started on understanding the love of God for you personally, I want to give you a little assignment:
I am simply asking you to start paying attention each time you get frustrated with yourself or with your circumstances. When that happens, stop and consider what it is that is truly making you upset. I believe you will find it to be coming from various kinds of fears, just like the three scenarios I described at the beginning of this post. Go back and look at them if you would like to. The first frustration I described was coming from a fear that I was dumb. The second frustration was coming from a fear of failure. And the third frustration was coming from the fear of losing control.
As you begin to locate the fears that are causing stress in your life, take those fears to God and ask Him to give you a deeper revelation of His love for you in each of those areas. I probably did this for a whole year before I started seeing the drastic changes I am seeing today. I was changing and growing in His love all along the way and definitely noticing a difference, but for me to be able to say that I am now peaceful 95% of the time when I used to be stressed out 95% of the time; well, that obviously took a long time of me continuing to receive God’s love over and over again through prayer, being still before God, reading and studying His Word, listening to music and many other things God has used in my life to embed this revelation in my heart. Oh, and I am not even close to being done. I plan on continuing to grow in the knowledge of God’s love toward me forever and ever!
Let me encourage you right now that no matter what you have done in the past or what you are currently struggling with, You can go ahead stamp ‘perfectly loved by God’ permanently across your eternal status! When you take the step of faith to believe this about yourself, you will begin to find that the sin which so easily tripped you up before is absolutely no match for the love of God in your life! You will find yourself running with endurance the race that is set before you, throwing off every weight that slows you down and the sin that so easily trips you up. You’ll find yourself saying saying, “Nope, don’t need that…I’m loved by God; don’t need that either….God loves me; and while I’m at it let me just throw off this addiction over here that’s hindering me too because His love satisfies me so perfectly that I don’t need this anymore either!”
I am very excited for you to get ahold of the love of God for yourself!
Ephesians 3:16-21 (AMP)
16May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].
21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!