Relax, Reflect, Recharge

You are Accepted

Thank you to Jennifer Rothschild for today’s message:

Several years ago, my friend Lisa was going through a crafty phase and wanted to make a piece of word art for me. So, she texted this question: “If one word could become a reality in your life, what would it be?”

Girl, this took me awhile! The one word that kept coming to mind was “accepted,” but I was too embarrassed to admit that feeling accepted was what I really longed for.

I was a Christian, so I knew God accepted and loved me unconditionally. Wasn’t that already a reality in my life?

The reality was, I was afraid God accepted everyone but me.

In pondering my one word, God began to show me that I associated my performance with my acceptability.

Here’s what I (wrongly) believed: If I am good, I am acceptable. If I help people … if I am a blessing instead of a burden … well, then I am accepted. But, if I fail, blow it or mess up, then I feel like a reject — not acceptable to me, not to others and certainly not to God.

My skewed belief was I was acceptable only when I was at the top of my game or in the center of God’s will. Clearly, I had not truly embraced my identity in Christ because acceptance is what I already have.

So, I texted Lisa back with my one word that I needed to embrace and believe: accepted.

Lisa’s gift showed up in the mail a week later. It was a wooden ledge with the Scrabble letters A-C-C-E-P-T-E-D glued on it. This is a treasure to me because it is a constant reminder to see what I already have in God rather than seek it in the wrong ways and places.

Lots of us struggle with trusting the truth that we’re acceptable to and accepted by God. We are accepted not because of what we do or don’t do; we are accepted not because of how we succeed or if we’re good. We are accepted not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and to as many as receive Him, He gives the power to be sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). Talk about accepted!!

We are not only accepted “in” the beloved, we are accepted “by” the Beloved Himself!

My Scrabble word “accepted” reminds me I already have what I want. When I am feeling less than acceptable, I hold it in my hand, wrap my fingers around it and the truth it represents, and tell myself, “This is what God gave me. This is who I am.”

Can you take that truth in?

If you feel invisible, it may be because, deep down, you never really embraced the truth about yourself — that you are accepted by God, admired by Him and have His full and unconditional love.

Just like Lisa glued the word “accepted” to a Scrabble ledge for me, ask God to glue the word “accepted” to your heart so that, with every heartbeat, this truth is reinforced and becomes woven into the very fiber of your being.

Oh my friend, you are accepted by God. That is your reality.

When you accepted Christ, He accepted you. You may sometimes feel rejected, but how you feel is not who you are! You are acceptable, accepted — no exceptions!

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Do You Ever Feel Unappreciated?

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“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

The Bible is a timeless note expressing God’s interest in us.

And let me tell you, I love a good note.

When I was in high school in the late 1980s, the halls buzzed with everything you would expect, including note passing. When you got a note, you didn’t just let it hang out in the pockets of your Calvin Klein jeans or shove it in your leg warmers — you took it out and devoured it.

And then you wrote back, circling yes or no to the questions. Do you like him? Did you watch Miami Vice last night? Did you kiss him? Are you going to Kelly’s birthday party? Will you go with me?

Notes were a dialogue.

They helped you connect with friends, scope out possible love interests, break up, make up and everything in between. Rarely was just one note passed between two people. (And rarely were teachers happy about them.)

Get this: God made sure we got a note from Him.

A love note to pursue our hearts and connect our hearts to His.

A personal note that’s addressed to each of us and ends with “Love, God.”

His love is poured out in the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse, so we might understand and accept that His intentions for us are as unique as a snowflake and as extravagant as an ocean sunset.

When I’m feeling unappreciated, unimportant or rejected, it helps to remember that God’s love speaks. I only need to listen.

Your days may sting with an unfulfilled longing, a perceived inadequacy, a devastating loss or a gaping heart wound. Might I offer a word of encouragement? Whether you’re a mother, grandmother, sister or daughter … single, married, widowed, divorced … whether your loved ones value and cherish you or wound you with broken behavior … no matter what, God loves you, knows you and cherishes you perfectly.

Let His love speak life to you.

The Lord declared to Israel, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself ” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Just as He spoke these words to His children, the Israelites, long ago, God speaks across the universe today to each daughter’s heart:

“I notice you!”
“You are special to Me.”
“You matter.”
“I love you … perfectly … eternally … completely, and I really, really, really mean it.”

He showed us His love through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.

His Spirit whispers that love to the hearts of His children continuously.

He speaks it still today through His Word. Are you listening?

Once you open and read God’s love note, the Bible, you’ll want to respond. To go back and forth in conversation, deepening the relationship. To circle yes or no to His questions: “Do you know how much I love you? Are you aware of the distance between My holiness and your sin? Will you let My love meet you in your achy places? Do you know how beautiful you are to Me? Will you trust Me with that roadblock? Will you acknowledge Me as the source of your significance and the validation you are desperate for?”

I want to circle my answers, Yes!

I want to be so deeply rooted and grounded in God’s love that it stabilizes my faith, no matter how unstable other factors of my life might seem or how unappreciated I feel.

Don’t you?

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s post.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!