I’ve been doing a ton of self reflection recently. I mean, I’m always eager in the search’o’self and in the pursuit of betterment. (Eh, eager or obsessed?—insert nervous chuckle.)
Yesterday I jotted down some answers to: Who am I? What do I find my identity in? Why do I care so much if people think I’m funny on the internets? Okay, not the last one exactly but close enough. Then today—
I don’t believe in coincidences when it comes to God and growth. So it completely makes sense that the sermon this morning prompted me to examine what areas, and to whom, I hold my empty cup up to begging to be filled.
I jotted down in my head my next book title. [Fun fact: I constantly write book titles for books I’ll probably never write. My last one was “Even fat people go to heaven”. Best seller, probably.] This book would sweep the nation too, though.
“How can I be so sure God loves (or even likes) me?”
I came home, ate queso and started looking up scripture proof of God’s love for me. Don’t laugh. In church, I couldn’t think of any. Pretty embarrassingly early into my search, I found plenty of verses. PLEN-TYYYY. Including the most popular one on the planet… say it with me—“For God so loved the world”. I realized, I did in fact KNOW God loves me. The actual question in church that plagued me was…
Do I FEEL like God loves me?
Does God think I’m funny? Is He proud of me for always coming up with crazy ideas and going for them? Would he like any of my writing? Is He happy to know that I’m grateful for my husband and our love? Is He giving me a proverbial pat on the back for mommying so well?
I KNOW He died for me. I KNOW I’m called His. I KNOW His love endures forever. (If you didn’t break into song before that last sentence was over, howwwwww?) But facts and feelings are two incredibly different things. So the question begs, can we actually feel God’s love?
I started thinking about the Five Love Language book that I constantly refer to in life and relationships but have never actually read. Thinking, if God is love and love is expressed in these 5 different ways, can I also conclude that God would love me in these five ways? I’ll skip to the end.. He does. It still wasn’t landing the plane for me though.
Then I found it. A verse (jk, two) that I think will begin to unlock how to effectively and surely FEEL His love.
The second part of Romans 5:5 says “…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…” To me, this would suggest “feeling it” is not in my power. I can’t lose it or grow it. It’s supernatural. Also, I’m thinking it might not always—or even often—be electric. Maybe it’s a quiet whisper that I need to meditate on. Just maybe, it’s a silence I need to embrace, or a stillness I repeatedly avoid. And most likely, it’s something I can and should ask for help to feel.
Part two is from 2 Thessalonians 3:5, which states “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love..”. The commentary is not my own, but I read that if our heart can be directed, it has directions. And if it has directions, it can move towards one thing or another.
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” The hymn instantly popped into my head. So I looked it up, to make sure I had the words right from memory. I learned a man named Robert Robinson had written it. I also learned a widely-told, debatably true, story. One day a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. To which he responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
So yeah—The love of God is demonstrated in history for us to KNOW and read and remember and share as facts.
But it can also be felt by experience in heart—a heart that is undeniably feeble and untrustworthy—(which is scary, really) but also thankfully the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which we can trust to fan into flame the feeling we desire, to pour into us the affirmation we long to know and the reminder to pray to be ever moving the direction we crave.