Rachel's Blog

Discussing faith, politics, and life.

Category: Faith

Falling In Love —Is it real? Is it possible?

Falling in love. What is it?

People often scramble around wondering what it means—what it feels like—to be in love. The reality is humans are really bad at love. Why? Because we are unwilling to fully receive it. Regardless of what we may think, falling in love with someone has a whole lot to do with whether or not we are willing to receive the love somebody is giving to us. Being in love with somebody requires love flowing from both ends.

Why do we often run away from love?

It seems foolish to reject something as wonderful as love, so why would any of us ever do it? Deep down many of us are guarded, because we believe we are unworthy of love. We have experienced rejection, neglect, and know our own shortcomings. We avoid falling in love, because we cannot fathom how someone could fall in love with us. We are ultimately avoiding getting hurt.

The Difference Between Knowing Something and Believing Something

Many Christians have heard that a relationship with Jesus is the cure our hearts need. We have heard that our flaws and others’ perceptions of us do not matter, because God deeply loves us. We know about God’s love and understand the concept of it, but there is something keeping us from fully believing it. Head knowledge and heart knowledge are two different things. We only accept the love of God to the extent our hearts believe in it.

The Walls We Put Up With God

Falling in love with God is one of the most beautiful experiences on earth, but it is hard to experience. Why? Just as with people, we have walls in our heart preventing God from completely pouring out His love onto us. We project the rejection from the world onto the image of God. We cling to other things to fill us, because we fail to recognize Christ is trying to fill us if we would let Him.

The hard thing about being in a relationship with God is we must accept the truth about ourselves. We must be willing to come to terms with the fact that we are imperfect and broken. The problem is too many of us stop there and feel shame; and so our reaction is to run away from God (Genesis 3:10). Our shame makes us feel unworthy of God’s love, but God does not want us to feel shame. He wants us to lay our shame down at the feet of Jesus, so He can fill us with His grace and love as we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Why are we worthy of love?

The narrative should never be “I am not worthy of love, because __________.” The narrative should be “I am worthy of love because I am made in the image of God, I am deeply loved by God, and God paid the ultimate sacrifice for me.” Our worthiness is not because a human decided we were worthy—or even that we are a good enough person deserving of love—it is because God made us worthy and has sacrificed everything to show us we are worthy. Throughout the gospel we see Jesus demonstrating love to those most cast aside in society. He loved those who people deemed unworthy (lepers, prostitutes, etc.). God’s love has no bounds.

My Love Story (Sorry for being cliché)

Over the past month or two, I prayed to love God with all my soul, heart, and mind just like in Luke 10:27. I thought that I was not good enough at loving, so I needed to pray to love better. Recently God revealed this to me: The key component keeping me from falling entirely in love with God was not about my ability to love. I wasn’t falling in love with God, because I wasn’t allowing God to fully love me. I needed to break down the lies in my heart saying I was unworthy of love, so my heart could actually receive God’s love. Once those walls were down I was so completely overwhelmed with God’s love in my heart that I could not help but fall in love with Him. (1 John 4:9-11)

Jesus fell so deeply in love with me, every inside and outside existence, that He died so we could spend eternity together (John 3:16). By the grace of God, I have had the walls in my heart torn down (Psalm 147:3). I have fallen in love with a God who has never left my side (Joshua 1:19), who has pursued me with passion (Luke 15:14-17), who has paid the ultimate sacrifice just so we can be together in eternity, who knows each and every part of me (Psalm 139:1-4), who has never forgotten me (Psalm 139:17-18), who always appreciates my honesty (Proverbs 24:26), who loves me at my worst (Romans 5:8), and who loves me unconditionally everyday.

And while my journey was unique, the ability to experience this love is not. God is patient with all of us, pursuing us, and yet giving us the freedom to reject him if we so decide (2 Peter 3:9).

So Back To The Original Question

Yes, falling in love is possible. The good news about falling in love with God is it’s always reciprocal and His love never fades. It’s no wonder life long romance is something people want so badly. It’s the closest thing to God’s love we can find on earth. And it’s no wonder so many people are repulsed by the idea of romantic love, because human love will always fall short. All forms of love on earth are just a tiny reflection of the love we already have from God. The important thing to recognize is falling in love with a human only goes to the extent to which each party is willing to receive love (which often reflects the love they have already received). (1 John 4:7-8 )

We all must grapple with these questions to experience love: What lies am I believing about my unworthiness to receive love? What walls have I built up in my heart to prevent the love from coming in? And even more deeply, what am I trying to fill myself with that is preventing God from being able to completely fill me? For we cannot fully love—or be in love—without letting others love us. Every single one of us is worthy of love.

Don’t Ditch Rest For “Success”

This is a blog for those of us who lack balance and fill our schedules to the brim. It’s easy to live a hectic lifestyle while we work toward a career (or other life goals). We feel validated through our success, but often do not reveal the stress, pain, and lack of self-care it took to get there. Why do we ditch rest?

The Lie

Many of us buy into the lie that we gain value with more success. The goals we achieve in life show perseverance, focus, and other positive attributes. However, overworking ourselves can become detrimental. If our minds, bodies, or souls begin to deteriorate in the process, then we are not our best selves in our “success.”

God tells us we don’t earn our value. He already showed us how much value we have when Jesus died on the cross (Ephesians 2:4-9).

God Commands Us To Rest

God wants us to have balance in our lives. He wants us to work hard, because we were created to work hard (Colossians 3:23). At the same time, God commands us to rest. Our best selves may not have the largest list of accomplishments. Our best selves come when we give ourselves time for self care and relationships, especially our relationship with God.

Did you know that the Bible says when we do not rest we are being disobedient to God?

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
-Hebrews 4:11

Our all-powerful God rested after creating everything in existence (Genesis 2:2). In addition, after each day He stepped back to look and reflect on what He had done (Genesis 1). God doesn’t need rest, but He still rested as an example to us. Why would we deny ourselves something that God hasn’t even denied Himself? God could have gone without rest and we technically can do it too, but we are hurting ourselves in the process.

Learning To Say No

Rest means different things to different people, but we make a mistake once our schedule becomes so full that we cannot rest. I have the tendency to want to do everything at once, but we need to be wise with our priorities. What we say no to is just as important as what we say yes to. Sometimes the answer is not yes or no, but instead “not right now.” The commitments we chose and leave behind reveal our values in life.

Finding Rest in God

God wants us to find rest in Him. God wants us to value Him. He is our healer, our comforter, and our source of power. When we give no time to God, we are saying we do not value Him. When we don’t give time to God we are idolizing other things and hurting ourselves in the process. Why are we getting hurt? Because we are looking for purpose and fulfillment in things that cannot give us full purpose or fulfillment. Only God can completely fulfill us and selfish-ambition is such a deceiving idol (Psalm 135:15-18, James 3:16).

I have learned that I cannot find rest without going to the One who gives me rest (Psalm 62:1-2). I cannot heal unless I go to my Healer (Mathew 11:28). God calls us to a better way of life than the hectic scramble to look perfect. While there may be hectic moments in our life, spending time with God gives us the opportunity to recharge (even if it’s just a little bit). When we take off the chains of believing we must constantly attain “success,” then we can realize going on a walk, reading the Bible, and building relationships can give us more fulfillment than a prestigious achievement.

So remember, rest is good and God even demands us to do it. Our best selves are our most balanced selves. We have our whole life to do amazing things. Let’s try to foster that ambition with endurance dedicated to God instead of burning out through an ambition that brings self-destruction.

The Beauty and Destruction of Freewill

Freewill: A beautiful gift that has the power of destruction.

Humans have little power, and yet the freewill we have has the ability to break our world. Sin is highly destructive.

The belief that we can do whatever we want is shouted in American culture as we hold on tightly to our personal autonomy. We can say what we want, do whatever we want (at least regarding our own bodies), and others have no right to tell us how to live.

Not Everything Is Beneficial

Sometimes we fail to consider how much we may be hurting ourselves in the process. Freewill does give us the option to make any decision we want, but that doesn’t mean we are actually free (but that is a whole other blog).

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial…
1 Corinthians 6:12a

In this verse Paul was specifically talking about sexual immorality, but the verse can be applied to every decision we make. For instance, under the 1st amendment I have the right to say whatever I want. However, insulting others under the banner of freedom of speech is not beneficial. Sometimes we shouldn’t do the things we have the right to do.

The Destruction in Freewill

In Ephesians, the Bible talks about taking off the old self and putting on a new self. Beginning in Ephesians 4:25 there is a deeper explanation of things we are supposed to “take off” and things we are supposed to “put on.”

Characteristics we are told to take off include falsehood, stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, slander, sexual immorality, and greed. Characteristics we are told to put on include speaking truthfully, working/doing something useful with your hands, building others up, purity, kindness, compassion, walking in the way of love, and thanksgiving.

Now line all these things up side-by-side and you get two lists. One side is overwhelmingly negative (but may seem appealing in the moment). The other is overwhelmingly positive (but for some reason we resist or ignore.) I promise you the old self, our sinful nature, is what drives war, broken hearts, division, selfishness, and pain. The new self brings joy, forgiveness, reconciliation, care, and peace.

God Wants The Best For Us

Often times we want to hold onto many of the pleasures in life that God instructs us to take off, but God wants us to turn away from our sin (2 Peter 3:9). He wants us to have a life that is so much better than we can imagine. God gives us this guidance, because He loves us and wants to protect us.

Freewill is a wonderful gift, but for some reason we are drawn to things that hurt others and us. I can’t tell you your life will go to shambles for living in the old self, but I can assure you your life won’t go to shambles because you are living in the new self. For example, I can’t tell you your life will be damaged from partaking in drunkenness. I can tell you your life won’t be damaged by staying sober.

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
-Proverbs 19:3

Furthermore, we often get mad at God for the consequences of own actions. Sometimes our personal freewill to live in sin causes pain in our own lives, but we blame God for it.

Proverbs 2:11 states, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” God’s rules often seem annoying and unappealing, but He ultimately is trying to guide us to the best life. When we listen to His guidance, we gain wisdom.

The Beauty In Freewill

The question can be raised ‘How can there be beauty in freewill if it leads to so much evil?’ I will never know or understand all of God’s decisions, but I do know God wants a relationship with every single one of us (1 Timothy 2:4). He wants to love us and for us to love Him (Romans 8:29). Without freewill, we cannot chose to love God. We would be forced to love Him and that is not love. He didn’t want to create puppets.

God’s word cries out to anyone who will listen with guidance on how to end the wrongdoing that hurts us. However, He gives us the option to choose something other than Himself. He gives us the ability make mistakes and learn how much sin can hurt. Ultimately, our freewill is evidence that God desires genuine relationships.

Don’t Change Jesus To Fit Your Ideology

Conservatives often believe people should complete hard work to deserve what they receive. Liberals often believe people deserve basic human needs, such as housing, food, and healthcare. Jesus’ love says, it doesn’t matter what a person deserves, love them as if you were loving me (Mathew 25:40). We cannot place Jesus into a political ideology, but we can form a unique political ideology as a response to following Jesus.

As Christians, we need to learn how to love others in a radical way. We need to stop talking about what people deserve or do not deserve. Why? The liberating life of following Jesus is not about what we deserve, it is about living in the grace of God. If we all got what we deserved in our imperfection, we would get death, but Jesus died for us so that we may experience life. So, let’s shift the conversation away from what we deserve to the example Christ has set for us.

God Wants Us To Act, Not To Blame

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
-Proverbs 16:24

Did you know the Bible says there will always be people in poverty walking the earth (Deuteronomy 15:11)? God provides this information so we will give to those in need, not so we can become complacent about people living in poverty. Part of being gracious is recognizing people sometimes fall into (or are born into) hard times they cannot control. God does not want us to blame people we don’t even know for their own hardship (Proverbs 11:12). Instead He expects us to use gracious, kind words that can help bring healing to people in addition to giving.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
-2 Corinthians 8:13-15

God wants us all to work hard and give whenever we can (Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 3:27, 1 John 3:17). That way our blessings can be blessings to others, and if we are ever in need our neighbors can also give to us. Now that is a beautiful form of community.

God Does Not Want Injustice

Better is a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
-Proverbs 16:8

God detests people who make gains through wicked schemes (Proverbs 6:11). Sometimes I think we forget that wicked schemes can be made at high levels (such as the government). It is better to have little with righteousness than to gain a lot through injustice. God knows there is injustice in the world, and injustice exists on small to nation-wide scales. Nobody can control where they are born into the current structure of injustice, but we can control how we respond to it.

A good start to understanding how injustice works is by listening to people different than us and recognizing their experiences comes from a real place. Once we make this recognition, we can then try to work for justice rather than ignorantly gain from injustice. Sometimes the gain can be as simple as an unfair advantage. God’s wisdom in Proverbs 16:19 says, “Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed, than to share plunder with the proud.” If you purposely gain from injustice, then a change in your heart needs to happen in an extent further than this blog can address.

Shaping Our Ideology Around Jesus

The world is a hard place to live. Followers of Christ have the option to follow Jesus’ example and love in a counter-cultural way. A way that says, I will listen to your struggle, but no matter why you experience this struggle I still want to show you love. Why? Because we want everyone to know the source of where this love came from: Jesus.

Jesus cannot be defined as conservative or liberal. We cannot twist who Jesus is so he will fit a political side, but we can chose to conform our political beliefs around who He is. The best way to love cannot be found solely in liberal or conservative ideologies. Jesus’ love can be found in providing healthcare to those that cannot afford it. Jesus’ love can be found in warning people not to dehumanize unborn babies. Jesus’ love can be found in welfare programs. Jesus’ love can be found in the way we view others, if we chose to view others with mercy and grace.

It is Impossible To Be a Christian and Not Be a Hypocrite

Humans love to pick out the inconsistencies between people’s words and actions. So many of us, inside and outside the church, look at Christians and think, “What a bunch of hypocrites. Where is Jesus’ love?” The sentiment is coming from a real place, because it is impossible to be a Christian and not be a hypocrite.

Looking for the blameless is one of the biggest misconceptions about Christianity. Following Jesus is not about being perfect, it is about admitting we are flawed and need a savior (Galatians 2:21). I would argue that all Christians can be slated as hypocrites at one point or another. We preach loving our neighbors as ourselves and then fail to love the people in our very own homes, our coworkers, and our friends, let alone our enemies.

People Will Always Fail You

If you rely entirely on the actions and words of people for a reason to follow God, you will be disappointed. People will always fail you.

Do not get me wrong, as followers of Jesus it is immensely important to be inside this community of imperfect believers, because alone it is so easy to doubt God. Through community we can support each other, answer questions, and try to live out the best human form of love we can (Hebrews 10:24-25). The Christian community is full of sinful people that will disappoint you at some time or another, but they are still family.

God Will Never Fail You

My mother once told me that being in a church does not make you anymore a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car. Being a Christian is not about where you are physically, the people you surround yourself with relationally, or the good things you do. It is all about God. And until we realize that, the church will fail us. God will never fail you. Even when you feel like He has failed you, He is using your circumstances to grow you, help others, and deepen His relationship with you.

There is nothing that you can do to make God love you anymore or any less. God has already maxed out His love for you and nothing you can do will change that. Through this love, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross, so we can be free from the penalty of death for those that choose to follow Him (Romans 5:8).

God Helps Us Eliminate Hypocrisy

Although Christians (or should I just say humans?) always fall short, God calls us to choose a better path. The truth is we all struggle with different things for different reasons. God knows we struggle and He knows we are not perfect, but He does expect us to grow.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
-Matthew 7:3-5

God’s solution to hypocrisy is not to be perfect*. God’s solution is not to go around affirming everyone’s actions either. God instead calls us to end hypocrisy by reflecting on and removing our own shortcomings before we point out the shortcomings of others. He tells us to take on the difficult task of wrestling with the bad in ourselves, so we can humble ourselves before others and recognize that love can cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

*At the same time, God does speak on living with integrity in our words and actions, so God can use us as an arrow to the gospel. This concept could be a whole separate blog, so if you would like to begin exploring you can read Philippians 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 2:21, and Titus 2:7-8.

© 2018 Rachel's Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑