You are Beloved.
Beloved. Belong. Believe. I love these words. They resound deep within me, providing a much-needed melody to my soul. They soothe and encourage me. I want to be called beloved by another. I need to have a place to belong, where I am a part of something bigger than myself. I long to believe that the world, or at least someone, needs me to be me. Beloved. Belong. Believe. These words reveal the secret desires of our hearts, planted there by our Creator, used to draw us to Him.
To live and make choices out of our true identity, we need to hear these affirming words. None of us are immune to their powerful, transforming work. They are essential ingredients of water-walking, giant-slaying, history-making destinies. When we know we are loved and have a place to belong, it becomes much easier to believe that we have a world-changing destiny. Belief allows the impossible to become possible and the ordinary to become extraordinary. Subsequently, when this belief saturates our entire being, our behaviors that don't line up with our true identity and keep us from our destiny will begin changing to align with how we think and feel about ourselves. It seems even Jesus needed these words of affirmation from His Father (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).
So let's start with what it means to be beloved.
In Henri Nouwen's book Parting Words, he talks about the identity of beloved.
I very much believe the core moment of Jesus' public life was the baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus heard the affirmation, "You are my beloved on whom my favor rests." That is the core experience of Jesus. He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is. The temptations in the desert are temptations to move him away from that spiritual identity. He was tempted to believe he was someone else: You are the one who can turn stone into bread. You are the one who can jump from the temple. You are the one who can make others bow to your power. Jesus said, "No, no, no. I am the Beloved from God." I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything.
Prayer, then, is listening to that voice-to the One who calls YOU beloved. It is to constantly go back to the truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves. I'm not what I do. I'm not what people say about me. I'm not what I have. Although there is nothing wrong with success, there is nothing wrong with popularity, there is nothing wrong with being powerful, my spiritual identity is not rooted in the world, or the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in my spiritual identity. Whatever we do, we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity.
Being called beloved, knowing we are loved, is essential to believing we matter and have a grand purpose in this world. Other people may or may not have called you beloved. It seems human love is fickle at best and very often is dependent upon our behavior, performance, or ability to meet the needs of another. Loving ourselves well is our responsibility and a directive from God. Matthew, Mark, Paul, and James all highlighted it in the books they authored in the Bible. Look up the following these verses. What is the common message in each passage? Summarize them in your own words and compare what they are telling you.
If you didn't already come up with it on your own, the common message is this: "Love others as well as you love yourself." It is very difficult to love someone who does not love themselves. In this effort of discovering our identity and fulfilling our destiny, loving ourselves, even liking ourselves, is paramount to the journey. To love yourself, you must make a careful assessment of who you are and who you are not. It is very interesting how other people will love you to the degree that you love yourself. However, God longs to love you as you are, all the while wooing you to be the person He created you to be so you can fill your mission on this planet.
God unveils His intentions for you through the lens of His extravagant love. He sees who you are supposed to be, who He created you to be. He does not see what you lack. He sees your potential. He doesn't focus on your weaknesses but reveals your strengths. He uses His love to transform you into a water-walking, giant-slaying, history-making individual. It will absolutely take courage to be and do all you were created for, but it will also require that you choose to see yourself as God sees you and hear Him whisper beloved.
You are called beloved. You can choose to embrace this as part of your identity. It may be the most courageous decision you ever make. Embarking on an exciting journey of purpose without loving yourself is extremely difficult. If you do not love yourself well, you will never believe you have what it takes to step out of your familiar boat or situation and walk on water. Loving yourself may take practice if the concept is new to you. Having a place to belong helps, and we'll cover that next time.
It's time to find your purpose! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share what you find out!
P.S. To help you along your journey of purpose, consider getting a copy of the Uniquely You study guide. It's a ten-week journey that will change your life.
You Are Somebody - Discover Your True
Identity and Destiny.
If you are interested in starting a journey of purpose for a small group you would like to host, contact Jenny directly at email@example.com. She can help you get started. To order workbooks, go to Amazon.com.