Knowing that you are loved by God lets you live with an incredible curiosity about life. When you're rooted in something so certain, the questions that you ask change.
No longer are you asking, "Why is God doing this to me?" but rather, you start to ask, "What is God wanting to teach me here?" Instead of always asking yourself what you're supposed to do better, how you're supposed to change, what you're doing wrong...you start asking yourself what you're supposed to learn.
And it's strange, but it's true - when you come at life with a posture of curiosity, you're just less defensive about yourself.
This first set of questions, the kinds of questions that we always seem to ask, have us constantly trying to prove ourselves. We always want to show that we are whatever we have decided to be, or whatever we think we are expected by others to be. But if we know that we are loved by God, then we already know who we are, and we have nestled into that place of deep security. This allows us to just look at our lives sometimes and say, you know, we're missing it. We're failing in this place. And we simply say that's not who we are, know that we can do better, and step deeper into God's plan for us in this place. We just...get up and try again because we already know who we are; we don't have to prove it to anyone. All we have to do is show it.
It's really freeing. It just lets us be open to all kinds of things, things that we wouldn't see if we feel like we have a blind spot to protect. We get to go through our life with eyes wide open because there's nothing in this place that scares us, nothing that makes us feel insecure. We are securely rooted in God's love for us. We are, as we so dream of being, unshakable.
And then an interesting thing happens here, too. When we are not insecure about ourselves, it allows us to see others in a new light, as well. They aren't a threat to us. They don't get to call into question the things that we know for certain because our God has already told us. We don't have to worry any more about whether someone - or anyone, or everyone - likes us. Instead, we can ask ourselves two simple questions:
First, are we relating to this person as the version of ourselves that we know us to be? That is, are we authentic with this person? Sometimes, the truth is that we still need to grow. Not that there is something fundamentally flawed about us, but that we are simply not living up to who we think we are or who we profess to be or who God has called us to be. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves here (and we can be, because of God's great love) and make sure we are above reproach, that we are not the problem.
Then, second, if it's not us, the security that we have in being loved lets us see others for who they are. It's tempting for us to want to jump to conclusions when we feel threatened - this person is just a jerk or a bully or has a superiority complex or whatever it is. But when we don't feel threatened, when we start from a place of being loved, we start to ask other questions. Is this person insecure? Is she overwhelmed? Is he scared? Is this person lost? We start to understand others as drifting in a sea where we are blessed to have found an anchor, and it gives us a whole new grace for them. It gives us a tenderness for them that we couldn't have if we were adrift ourselves.
Being loved changes everything. Knowing that we are loved changes us. It frees us to live our lives with eyes wide open to the truths of what is going on instead of the lies that we are so afraid of. We can just venture into our lives confident and secure. And when we do, the things we discover in this broken world just draw us deeper into grace, deeper into loved.
And it's beautiful.