This post is part of our Easter series on the Seven Joys of Mary. Do you know that God loves you? Even with that knowledge, you may not always feel that it’s true. Alyssa reminds us today that we don’t have to “do” anything to make God love us. He loves us as we are, and is always calling us to greater freedom and truth.
Did you know that Jesus adorns us? As a Christian child you grow up singing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”? We know that Jesus loves us, but do we know He yearns for us, He adorns us, He calls us His beloved?
I have only recently come to the understanding that the Lord loves us, all of us, as we are. His love doesn’t stop if we commit a sin, if we are distant from Him, or even if we reject Him. The Lord sits with us in our brokenness. But even knowing that the Lord loves us regardless of our sins, I still feel inadequate and unworthy. Why?
Feeling Unworthy of Love
I always know God loves me, but I never truly felt His love until I felt worthy of it. And I didn’t think I was worthy of it because I broke commandments, I sinned, I didn’t follow His will. I understood God’s will as a series of rules I must follow if I wanted to receive His true love. These “rules” seemed impossible to follow, and frankly, I didn’t even want to. It’s not like I wanted to go murder and steal; it’s the little “rules” I didn’t want to follow.
In my head, it was all or nothing when following God’s will. If I enjoyed buying a little too many clothes than I needed, I counted myself as a glutton, unworthy of God’s love. If I didn’t want to share my favorite snack, I labeled myself as selfish, unworthy of God’s love. I thought any sign of sinning was a rule I was breaking, making me feel unworthy of God’s love.
Because of this, I started to compartmentalize my feelings and actions in my head. I didn’t let the Lord into certain areas of my life because I thought He would be disappointed to see me sinning. All this time knowing He loved me… just not certain parts of me.
Realizing He Knows Us
No matter how much I pretended, I knew God knew every aspect of my life, and that raised feelings of guilt and shame in me. I spent all this time knowing Jesus loves us always, but never feeling worthy of His love, and therefore never fully knowing it.
I’ve lived with my guilt for most of my life, feeling ashamed of everything I do. I prayed for the Lord to tell me what to do, how to get rid of my habits of sinning. He responded in an unexpected way.
I had the honor of getting prayed over, where I heard and saw the Lord dancing with me, embracing me. The real me. He held close every aspect of me. He washed away my shame. He told me, “I know you, I made you, and I love you.” Truly feeling it in my soul, I was finally able to feel worthy of the love He wanted to give me.
God’s glory is the human person fully alive!”St. Irenaeus
I felt fully alive in that moment, and I was able to feel God’s glory. The reason I was able to feel fully alive was because I opened my heart to the Lord and allowed Him to hold me back.
Jesus Wants to Love Us
Jesus desperately wants to give us more love, peace, and blessings. He wants to grow into a loving union with us. There are two sides to such a love relationship: God’s side and ours. Too often do we overlook God’s side of it and focus mainly on our side of the relationship, on our responsibility, on how we are supposed to follow the rules.
While our efforts are important, Jesus is probably smiling down at us while we worry and stress pointlessly.
So often does He remind us in scripture of His love:
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”Zephaniah 3:17
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”John 15:9
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine.”Isaiah 43:1
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:10
Understanding God’s Will
I used to feel unworthy of God’s love because I felt that I wasn’t following His will, and that I was disobeying His commandments. However, understanding that God’s will is for us to know joy, love and peace, we can diminish the feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness that come when we feel as if we are disobeying God.
This article published by Franciscian Media explains it best:
The “link between God’s will and God’s commandments, is that these commandments take on their true meaning only after I understand God’s will that I be happy and fully alive. Obeying God’s will is not, first of all, a dreary task of following lots of rules and piling up good deeds so that God will think well of me. God already loves me immeasurably and wishes to save me.
“My obeying—my moral task—is not a matter of bringing God’s love into existence (God’s love is already there!), but it’s more a matter of responding to that love.
“And I respond to it by affectionately trying to follow God’s commandments in a spirit of joy. For they are now not simply seen as cold, disciplinary rules to burden my spirit, but as loving guidelines for discovering fullness of life.
“Obeying God’s will calls for “response-ability” rather than just responsibility. Leading a good moral life is not the cause of God’s loving and saving me, but its consequence. God’s gift of love comes before my task of responding to it, and not the other way around.”
I pray that we continue to know and feel the Lord’s love, that we let Him into every aspect of our lives, and allow Him to adorn us as His beloved.
I invite you to pray along with the Litany of Trust by by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia of the Sisters of Life. It touches on every little thing we shared in this post, starting with “From the belief that I have to earn Your love, Deliver me, Jesus.” and ending with “That I am Your beloved one, Jesus, I trust in You.”
Find a copy of the prayer here.