You are Loved. You are Loved. You are Loved.

I admit that what often holds me back from writing these days is the feeling that there is not much left to say. I mean, if you see me in person, I have lots to say (insert winky face), but when it comes to social media, it seems like there is always SO MUCH being said that I often think to myself: What do I have to say that is really worth adding to all this noise? Often, I’m not sure. I stop and ask myself: 

What do people want to hear? 

What do people need to hear? 

And sometimes when I sit down to write I think: What do I have to add to what others have already said? 

Then I remember something that once happened to me. 

I was 24 years old and working as a youth pastor. I did that job for two and half years in my young twenties, and I truly poured my body and soul into it. I loved it, but it was also exhausting and lonely. I had so much to learn about letting others help me, setting boundaries, and letting myself rest. I felt such a weight, all the time. I was desperate to get everything right, to do just the perfect thing to help my youth, and to please God. I often felt like I was letting God down. 

The heaviness of those feelings came over me particularly strongly one Sunday morning during a special youth event. We had a big altar across the front of the church where people could go to pray, and I felt I had to go the altar. I went forward, knelt and prayed.

“God,” I begged. “Please talk to me.  Tell me what to do.  Tell me my next steps.  I want to get this right.” Over and over I asked God to reveal what I should do next in my ministry, promising to do whatever God asked.  I wept over that altar. I was the quintessential image of “pouring my heart out.” I so desperately wanted to know what to do.

After a while, I was prayed out and cried out. I wiped my nose and my eyes and went back to my seat. That was when a pastor I knew came over to me. 

“Leanne,” he said, “Would it be okay if I prayed for you?” 

“Sure,” I sniffled.  (I mean, I’m not one to miss out on  a chance for prayer…)

He put a gentle hand on my shoulder, and he prayed something like this: 

“God, I bring Leanne to you. And I believe you want to say something to her.  I believe you want to say to her that you are well pleased with her.” 

There was a bit more, but to be honest I don’t remember it. I was completely undone by that simple statement: “You want to tell her that you are well pleased with her.” 

I had been begging and begging and begging God to speak to me. “Tell me what to do!”  I had asked. “Tell me how to live!”  

And what God wanted to say was: “I’m pleased with you.” 

“You’re already enough.” 

“You don’t have to do anything.” 

I love you. 

Turns out I didn’t need any more words or messages – the greatest thing God had to say to me was that I was loved. 

I was reminded of this story a while ago when I was with a small group I had been leading. Someone shared how much they wanted to hear from God, that they wanted to know what to do next in their life.  I asked if we could pray for them, and they said yes.  We gathered around and asked God to speak to this person through us, as we laid hands on their back and listened to see if we felt God saying something for us to pass on.  And you know what happened?  It shouldn’t surprise me. 

Person after person said: “The only thing I feel is God telling me to tell you is that he loves you.” 

You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. 

Here is why I write today.  There’s a lot out there that may need to be said. But maybe we most need to remember what perhaps doesn’t get said enough. 

You are loved.  

Maybe you feel desperate for God to tell you what to do. Maybe you have been pleading for God to give you a message, a sign, a road map. Maybe you are anxious about making the right decisions for sending your kids to school or wondering how to lead your church into the next season or trying to figure out how to make ends meet after losing your job. 

You are loved. 

Maybe you feel lonely, isolated, forgotten. Maybe you don’t have a bubble. Maybe you are disconnected, and, today, it hurts.

You are loved. 

Maybe you are exhausted. You are tired of our new normal. You are longing for life as it was and fearful of the future. 

You are loved. 

There are a lot of places where we may want a word from God. But could it be that God’s greatest desire for you today is not to tell you what to do but for you to remember who you are, and whose you are, and that you are, above all, loved?  

I think it could be, so just in case let me remind you: 

You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

you are loved

 

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