One morning last week, I got up way earlier than usual. For some reason, I couldn't go back to sleep. I couldn't think of anything else to do, so I felt God prompting me to pray.
Later on that day, my mom suddenly told me, "Jasmine, you're precious in God's eyes." It was such a sweet thing for her to say - but the first thought that came to my mind was: "God must be extra pleased with me today because I spent more time in prayer this morning."
I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit asking me, "What if you didn't pray this morning? Would God still consider you precious?"
I knew the right answer was yes, because God's love is unconditional. As a Bible-believing Christian, I believe I am precious regardless of what I do but simply for who I am: a child of God.
But why was it so hard for me to accept this?
Many times, I fall back into thinking that God loves me more when I'm better behaved.
Have you ever felt this way? You know you have if you've ever received love - whether from God or another person - in the forms of quality time, words of affirmation, affectionate gestures, gifts, acts of service, and/or overwhelming acceptance - and you start feeling really really good about yourself because you think you've somehow "earned" it.
In other words, you believe deep down that you are loved only because you possess qualities that attract others' admiration. You do not believe that you are loved simply for who you are.
If this is you, then you also know that the worst days ever are the days when you mess up, when you no longer possess those "magical" qualities that you think made people love you in the first place. They're your most insecure days, too, because you feel like no one - not even God - could love or accept you. Suddenly, you're unlovable, and feelings of rejection, self-hatred, and even defensiveness kick in.
We would never be insecure if we simply took God at His word, that He loves us simply because He IS love. It is God's very essence to love YOU whole-heartedly, without expecting anything in return.
When we believe that we are loved unconditionally, we are freed from all insecurity. We'll never have to worry about being "good" enough to be loved by God ever again. Actually, the thing that displeases Him is when we doubt His love and become prideful, insisting that we should "earn" our right to be loved.
God is personally interested and invested in you because He created you. He'll never change his mind about you and He'll never turn you away.
If you still have trouble believing this, you're not alone. I sometimes try to wrap my mind fully around this kind of radical love, but I can't. I can only allow God to love me as I am, and when I do, I feel a weight lifted. Suddenly, I am light, free, and so joyful!
If you want to believe, then I encourage you to declare this out loud, even daily, until it finally takes root in your heart:
God, your loving kindness towards me is a beautiful gift I never have to earn. Because You gave up Your only son Jesus to die in my place on the cross, You remember my sins no more. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your steadfast love towards me. As far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed my imperfections from me. Even when I make mistakes or get lost, You continuously show compassion to me and You carry me back to Your very good path.
"Stand in your Love" by Josh Baldwin (on Spotify) is also another great daily reminder of God's love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHLEZzyAZrI
Now, breathe a sigh of relief -
If you are in Christ, you never have to believe the lie that you're unloved ever again. Remain in His love see it overflow into every area of your life.