God is Crazy in Love with You
I think the everyday stories of our messy, real lives need a place to be shared, which is why I’m not normally a fan of posting book excerpts. But I wanted to follow on the heels of the story on yesterday’s blog (The Power of Love and 500 Red Capes) and share the where the inspiration (and courage) to carry out this experiment started.
I’m learning how to love boldly from a new book called, Why Nobody Wants to be Around Christians Anymore—and How 4 Acts of Love can Make Your Faith Magnetic. (yep. that's a long title!) Months before it was published, I was lucky enough to sneak a copy of the manuscript from the authors (and longtime friends), Thom and Joani Schultz.
I never knew this large stack of plain 8.5 X 11 papers of raw, unedited copy held together with a giant alligator clip would become one of my all-time favorite books. And it wasn’t even printed yet.
I expected a “how-to” orientation about being a better Christian. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It offered simple practices for loving people the way Jesus did, in the most practical, everyday ways. But before the book ever jumped into the practices, it did something much more important: it focused first on reminding me how loved and cherished I am by God—flaws and all.
And this reminder is what stirs my soul and wakes up my heart. It makes me pay attention. It draws me in, and makes me long for more of God. And it’s contagious, because when I’m filled up with a loving reminder of my worth it starts to overflow onto others. It gives me the courage and desire to love boldly and watch the magic that follows.
The following chapter is one of my favorites. I’ve kept a copy of these pages from the original manuscript in the glove box of my car with other necessities for emergencies. It’s crumpled, highlighted and food-stained, and I can’t part with it.
Now I’ll share it with you…
God is crazy in love with you.
God really does love you. He made you and believes in you. He’s for you.
Sometimes the only way to wrap our head around this is to equate it with the human context of relationships in our lives. We can think back to times where we’ve felt love the most—whether from a parent, or to our children, with our spouse, or a best friend. Many of these relationships are wonderful and life-giving. Yet as good as human relationships can be, they pale in comparison to the never-ending, unconditional love of God. Humans are imperfect, and all relationships have flaws. Only God is perfect, and his love is perfect.
And most importantly--God loves you. (and he knows exactly who are are—imperfections and all—and loves you with His perfect love anyway!)
The only true and perfect view of yourself must come from God's view of you.
Each of us needs to grasp the view that God, our Maker, has of us. Like loving parents totally committed to the well-being of their children, God has proven his love for us time and time again. He even sent his Son to die for us. We’re that important. And he doesn’t ever give up on us. Ultimately, God’s view of you is the perfect view of you.
Who you see in the mirror isn’t the total picture. All those photos you post on Facebook and Instagram don’t provide a perfect image of your being. That mistake you made yesterday in a fit of anger doesn’t define everything about you. That talent you excel at better than everyone you know is really only a small part of your reality. Even your own lifetime of thoughts, actions, and experiences don’t fully complete the truth about who you are.
But God—only God—knows exactly who you are. He views the entire you, the core of your whole being beyond time, soul, and body. He has more understanding about you than even you will ever know. And you know what he does then?
God relentlessly pursues you.
We all love a great romantic love story where two young lovers are desperately trying to find their way back to each other. But there’s an even better love story…and you’re in it. You’re part of God’s love story. He knows your heart and your deepest desires. He’s pursued you and expressed his extravagant love by sending Jesus for you. This much is clear: God wants a relationship with you.
God puts it all on the line for you. But he doesn’t force himself upon us. Ultimately, it’s our choice. God wants you to say yes to him and his love. That’s because…
God wants you.
Have you ever stopped to think how valuable you are to God? How much you mean to him? We’ll never forget a hand-scrawled photo frame with a picture of a little girl we were visiting in Thailand. Her family lived in a crude, shanty-like home a foot above the dirty water. Trash piles littered their home because her father made a living collecting garbage, sorting it, and reselling anything of value. There, above a heap of rubbish, hung a hand-colored frame encircling her picture. It simply said, “God wants you.”
That little girl, living in a literal dump, knew what she meant to an all-powerful God.
God wants you too. In the center of all the endless throwaways, distractions, and debris of your life, God looks directly at you, his arms open wide and with a smile on his face, and says, “I want you.”
God wants you…so he can do his most amazing work through you.
God thinks so much of you and me that he entrusts us with his greatest adventure! In fact, even at this very moment, God has you placed in a specific time and place to accomplish this mission. Imagine God telling you, “You’re hired!”
Your mission? It’s actually pretty straightforward: loving others.
“I have called you by name; you are mine.”
[av_image src='https://2df6ifl6qf726uflde5e28ya-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/WhyNobodyWantToBeAroundChristians-180x180.jpg' attachment='1430' attachment_size='square' align='left' animation='no-animation' link='' target='' styling='' caption='' font_size='' appearance=''][/av_image]Excerpted from Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore. Copyright © 2014 Group Publishing, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Ave., Loveland, CO 80538.
Interested in a copy of the book for yourself?
Buy it here.
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