With gratitude to Jenny Miller for the gorgeous photo @the_ardent_alchemist
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you–from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.1 Peter 2:9 (The Message)
In all four Gospels, but especially in the writings of John, the message is clear: God gives us the choice to journey through life as one who is valued and loved. It is this truth that dawned on those who met and spent time with Jesus, who watched Him as He encountered damaged and broken people, suffering and perplexed people, and told them simply, from the purist of all hearts, that they were loved. Despite what we are, despite life’s unpredictable and often times cruel and difficult circumstances, we are never to doubt that we are deeply loved by God.
Ours is a never-ending struggle to shut out the loud voices of the world that tell us to prove something, be something, and do something. We need to begin to listen with an ever-increasing attentiveness to that soft, gentle inner voice that call us the Beloved. We need to say to ourselves over and over, until it imprints on our brain and fills our broken heart, “I am loved by God more than I can ever begin to understand.”
It is well to remember that our worth is more than the result of our efforts. Our preciousness is not given to us by those with whom we live and work in chronological time. It is given to us by the One Who has chosen us and Who calls us His Beloved.
“You are My Beloved” reveals the most intimate truth about us and expresses the core truth of every created thing. The eyes of love see everything as precious, of infinite beauty, and of eternal value. God delights in each of us, not because we have a special talent or ministry—no. In some mysterious way, I matter to God because nothing and no one in all of creation can reflect His love back to Him in exactly the same way I can.
It is in prayer that we first begin to recognize our marvelous and unique worth, for it is in prayer that Jesus gives us His Spirit, and it is His Spirit that opens our hearts to a new dimension of love and a greater capacity for loving. Prayer reveals to us the tremendous truth that to be a person is to be a precious gift we can offer back to God and to others. But we can give that gift only insofar as we have claimed it for ourselves. Ultimately, the spiritual work for all of us is to begin to take our identity from the One who is constantly whispering, “You are My beloved.”
Paradoxically, all of the spiritual work and activity we have done on our journey to bring us to this place must now be let go of. Everything has to be still. Nothing is so one with the nature of God as stillness. We become completely transparent to Love like a windowpane, so clean that the Light can flow through unhindered. Empty now of our own thoughts, emotions, will, and illusions, we are in a passive state before God, completely submissive, surrendered, and receptive. We have abandoned ourselves into the hands of God. At last, the messenger has become the message. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. We finally see that everything in our lives—all of the pain and all of the beauty—has been woven together into the huge tapestry of divine love. The will is disciplined, the old voices are quieted, the heart is surrendered, and we hear only the voice of the Beloved saying, ‘I love you, I love you; I have loved you since the beginning of time. I will not abandon you.’ Pure Spirit touches pure spirit and the love of God pours through us, empowering us to give the gift of divine love to others simply by being present to them.