The order of love and learning to be loved

For years I have tried to love God on my own, believing that in order to love Him, I must somehow prove myself to Him. I thought that was what was expected. I thought that was what He desired. I think I truly believed that this was what love was. But this could not have been farther from the truth.

Yes, it is good to want to love God. It is good to want to love others. It is good to want to give of yourself, to please those you love, to bring them peace and joy. But we cannot love with an empty heart. We cannot love with what we do not possess.

I love God. I want to make Him happy. He is my Father, and I want to make Him proud. But before I can even begin to love Him, before I attempt even most sincere effort, I need to start from the place of embracing the truth of His love for me.

Oh great irony, that before we are able to love the living God we must first accept that we are loved by Him! Our poor tender hearts are incapable of loving Him, are incapable of mustering up even the tiniest morsel of love without His having first given to us. Any attempts to love Him truly and freely out of ourselves, without His assistance, leads to an act of subservience, a love (or an attempt thereof) steeped in insecurity and unworthiness, that is begging and self-effacing and incapable of peace.

But no, God desires that we should love Him as a beloved, standing strong and free and unashamed before His eyes. He desires that our love should flow freely out of a heart that is deeply at peace. For this reason He has poured out His love for us and given us the strength to stand. For this reason He has removed the iniquities that would keep us on the ground, that we might love Him freely and joyfully, with hearts overflowing with the love He has first given us.

Yes, if we are to love, we must first accept His love for us.

This teaching is hard to accept. I want to much to be able to give Him love on my own, and my pride resists this reality with all my force of will. But the alternative, the consequence of not choosing this path, is no longer something I want to accept. I do not want to accept insecurity. I do not want to accept fear. I do not want to feel unworthy and be constantly questioning where I stand before His eyes. There is a deep dissatisfaction that comes with refusing to be loved. So perhaps, it is time to try and live the way that God has designed:

Creature and Creator;

Bride and Bridegroom;

Child and Father;

Beloved and Lord;

A relationship of security;

A relationship of trust;

A relationship in which we are loved so that we might love in return.

And since to love and be loved is the deepest desire of our hearts, perhaps it would be worth it to finally give this a shot.