Rooting Yourself in Belovedness
I struggle with perfectionism; not so much that life needs to be perfect, but moreso that I need to be. I’m not really sure when or where it all began, but somehow someway I developed the mindset that my worth was directly connected to my ability to be “good enough”.
However, ‘enough’ is a dangerous standard to strive for because it’s unattainable. The reality is that there is always room for growth (and that’s not a bad thing). But when you begin to equate your value based on your performance, an unhealthy cycle begins. You are constantly striving, always desiring the approval of others, and when you fall short you feel like a complete failure. I’ve lived in this charade for a lot of my life and it’s exhausting. I’ve learned time and time again that in my effort to portray my life is perfect, I am confronted with my inescapable and undeniable brokenness.
Have you ever seen a cat chase after a laser light? It’s hilarious. No matter how many times you wave the little red light around the ground, the cat can’t seem to understand that it can’t actually catch the light. Yet it still tries, over and over and over again; that’s why it’s so funny. What isn’t so humorous is the reality that many of us play the same game. We spend our lives chasing the illusion of perfection only to realize that it’s something that can’t be caught. So why do we continue to chase it?
If my worth is not contingent on my performance, how then do I find my value? As always, we must look to Jesus.
If you think about it, Jesus never really met society’s standards of being ‘enough.’ (Let’s be honest, He still doesn’t). People were so fixated on who the Messiah was supposed to be that they didn’t even recognize Him when He was in their presence.
- The crowds were often so hungry for a miracle or a sign that they missed His teachings entirely
- Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent (Matthew 11:20)
- The religious leaders often discredited Jesus and His teachings because He didn’t seem worthy of being the anointed one of Israel.
- Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! (Mark 2:6-7)
- His family considered Him crazy
- When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21)
- His disciples often struggled to fully live out their faith in Him because they were crippled by their own fear
- “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
If Jesus Himself didn’t meet the standards of being enough, then why do we try so hard to? And if we don’t find our worth in people, then where we place our value?
It’s simple (but so hard): in the Lord.
I am convinced that it was through Jesus’ close intimacy with the Father that He was able to walk in full faith and full confidence into the person God created Him to be. In Matthew 3, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (v. 16-17). Before Jesus began His public ministry, before He chose His disciples, before He went into the wilderness to face temptation, God spoke His words of Jesus’ ‘enoughness’ over Him. And I believe it was this declaration that Jesus rooted Himself in so that He could fully live out His faith without worrying about being enough for others. He was enough for God, and He knew that is all that matters.
Jesus’ ability to love others fully was embedded and birthed from the truth that He was fully loved by God. If you’re constantly seeking to make people love you, you will never truly love them well; there are selfish motives involved. To love someone well is to love them with the love of Jesus and you can only do that if you claim the love of Jesus over yourself.
The best thing you can do for yourself, the best thing you can do for your family, the best thing you can do for your faith, your ministry, your life, is to deeply root yourself in the unconditional love of Jesus.
Do you know that you are God’s beloved? Do you know that your ‘enoughness’ is based entirely upon who He is? It’s unconditional love. It is strong, it is deep, and it is all consuming if you allow it to be. Despite the broken narrative you’ve believed, you don’t have to earn it. You can soak in it. You can rest in it. You can believe in it. You can walk in it. It is because of His bold, audacious, unwavering love for you that you don’t have to strive for His love or the love of others. You can boldly claim it and proclaim it. And that’s where the adventure begins.
“That’s where ministry starts, because your freedom is anchored in claiming your belovedness. That allows you to go into this world and touch people, heal them, speak with them, and make them aware that they are beloved, chosen, and blessed. When you discover your belovedness by God, you see the belovedness of other people and call that forth. It’s an incredible mystery of God’s love that the more you know how deeply you are loved, the more you will see how deeply your sisters and your brothers in the human family are loved.”
-Henri Nouwen, Moving From Solitude to Community to Ministry
Check out Christina’s Spoken Word here:
Christiana Muir is a follower of Jesus in Nashville, TN. She graduated from Lipscomb University with a degree in Theology in Ministry and is currently church planting among refugees in her city.