Sometimes I will admit I use the term “friend” quite loosely, I personally abide by the motto, “There are no strangers in this world, only friends we haven’t met.” But Holly is one of those real friends – she prays for me on the hard days and on the good days, she follows up the next week, and the next, she digs deep and encourages with truth that sinks in. On the days I forget the “why”, Holly reminds me to keep going simply by the way she lives.
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, she carries herself in a very Southern manner – warm and welcoming, gentle and kind. She’s a nurse at the Children’s Hospital, a job that could not be more fitting for her naturally, genuine disposition, and divine patience.
I adore this girl, and her words, and I hope you will too.
It’s ironic that I’m writing a post about being loved, just as I am, in a moment when I don’t feel this way. But maybe it’s in this moment that I most clearly see why I and maybe others struggle in confidently understanding that we are truly loved just as we are.
Feelings are a gift. They can be used to accomplish great acts of love in a world desperately in need of hope. Feelings lead me to invite a friend over for coffee after the loss of something or someone to mourn. Feelings move me to sit at the bedside to comfort a little child when doctors surround him and he just doesn’t understand why he is in the hospital. Feelings prompt me to give to friend who is traveling on a mission trip to spread the good news of Jesus’s love.
But feelings can also be used in a way that God never intended.
Feelings can lead me to think negative thoughts about myself when I mess up or criticize others. Feelings can cause me to hear in the back of my head a million ways how I am not enough. Feelings can make me to believe that I am unlovable because of my past or present situation.
So often we sit at a crossroad holding a feeling in our hands and looking at the two different paths set before us. It’s human nature to start walking down the path of negative thinking. But scripture reveals how dangerous and life altering this choice can be.
Matthew 7:13-14 says “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Jesus commands us to walk through the narrow gate towards Him. Although the broader context of this scripture implies that Jesus is the only way to heaven, I think that choosing His narrow path on a daily basis is still an action we must partake if we are believers. Jesus desires for us to experience life, the life that He has already paid for us to enterprise!
And despite what we have been through or how difficult our life experiences have been, we still have a choice to let negative feelings dominate our minds or allow Christ’s truth to transform our hearts.
No matter how many times we were wounded in our childhood by cruel actions or words. No matter how many times others rejected us. No matter how many times we let the people around us down. No matter how weak, purposeless or despised we feel, we can still choose to walk down a path of life.
I pray that we can look back over our lives one day and know that the narrow path towards Truth was chosen over and over and over again. And that while choosing the narrow path was often harder, it was well worth it. Because the truth is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are set apart (Jeremiah 1:5). And we are loved just as we are (Romans 5:8)!
So in this moment when I am at a crossroad, I will choose to believe that.
I am loved just as I am. When I look to Jesus to remind myself of the way He sees me, all of the negative feelings don’t seem as important. God’s peace consumes me. And this is enough for right now.
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