I have been obsessed with Sarah Kroger’s song “Belovedness” recently. I listen to it over and over again, letting the soft melody and the truth and beauty of the words wash over me:
“You’ve owned your past and how it’s defined you
You’ve owned everything everybody else says
It’s time to hear what your Father has spoken
It’s time to own your belovedness
He says, ‘You’re mine, I smiled when I made you
I find you beautiful in every way
My love for you is fierce and unending
I’ll come to find you, whatever it takes
It has been especially comforting to me during a time when nothing feels certain, when I don’t always know who I am or what to think. This is something I DO know- I am beloved. YOU are beloved. The person I love the least is beloved too.
This changes everything, doesn’t it?! If we really truly believe, deep down in our bones, that we are beloved, we MUST live differently, we must see the world differently, and see ourselves differently and everyone we encounter differently.
“The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.” – Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved
If I come to know the Father’s heart as one that aches for each and every one of us to be with Him, to be safe and sound in His care, then I can no longer harbor hatred in my heart for anyone! The person I have the most trouble loving, who it would admittedly be “easier” to put in a box and label as “other,” is beloved by the same loving Father whose beloved I am as well. We are co-beloveds – whether we both know it or not (whether we want to be or not!)! There are hurts and wounds and aching parts below the surface of that person that I may never know, but the Father knows. He knows every crack and crevice. He sees the abuse and hate and hurtful words that have made each of us forget our original belovedness (not taken it or stolen it- no one, and I mean NO ONE, can take that from you). Forgetting our belovedness often leads us to cling to destructive habits, to avoid or lash out, to lie or cheat or cope in any number of unhealthy or simply imperfect ways.
“To be chosen as the Beloved of God is something radically different. Instead of excluding others, it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice. Our minds have great difficulty in coming to grips with such a reality. Maybe our minds will never understand it. Perhaps it is only our hearts that can accomplish this.” – Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved
He sees the small, hurting child beneath the mask of put-togetherness or power or fame or productivity or whichever façade we are currently using to hide our hurt from the world. Maybe we’re even trying to hide our hurt from ourselves or even (especially?) from God.
I pray that God gives me the grace to glimpse even the tiniest hint of the heart of each of His beloved ones; that by seeing or feeling the ache of another, especially those I have too quickly judged, my defenses might crumble until only love is left standing.
I want to stay rooted in the unshakable truth of my belovedness. I want to remind you to stay rooted too. And I want to help anyone who feels lost or shaken or numbly detached to recognize that they too share in the same belovedness, and that it is the anchor they are longing for.
Lord, I just want to love.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3:16-21
Copyright 2020, Megan Gettinger