Romantic God

I recently understood for the first time how much I depended on others’ approval so that I could approve of myself. From friends, to my parents, to strangers on the street, I needed others to like or appreciate certain attributes of my personality or my looks so that I could believe it was worth liking and appreciating. I didn’t know how often I turned to this way of thinking. In fact, I preached against it many times to friends and sisters; “You are worth being loved”, “You’re beautiful despite the expectations of others” and the like. I knew all the right words, I knew what they meant and in what context they should be used in. I was good at encouraging girls to appreciate and love themselves. But all this time I knew and didn’t understand.
A whole lot of the people I looked to for affirmation were guys. Even if I was completely uninterested in the guy romantically or even platonically, the attention and appreciation from them made me feel like I was worth loving. Whether it was guys on the street or old friends, if I thought they might be flirting or anything like that, it encouraged me. Or at least I thought it did. It wasn’t encouragement, it was just me sinking deeper into the lie that fleeting feelings and passing glances affirmed my worth. I had no idea I was doing any of this. I never actively sought out to satisfy this longing to understand my value. But I did nonetheless and it led to consequences, just like any other conscious or sub-conscious action.
I met a guy earlier this year and we fell in love. Really in love. But we didn’t know how to handle loving someone like that and ended up making some pretty bad mistakes. It took me a while to figure out that my loving him was still selfish. I was still looking for the validation, except now I just looked for it in someone I loved. When I couldn’t be with him I was devastated, both for not being able to see him and also, although I didn’t realize it then, because my only source of affirmation was taken away. I had unwittingly put my identity in him. And even though I love him, I know now he is not my source of comfort and joy and peace and worth.
That’s where God comes in. You know how God will drop a whole huge concept on you in the span of 3 seconds like a ton of bricks and then BOOM everything makes sense? Yeah, well He did that to me. Nearly my whole life, while I searched and groped and stumbled for this false value, He followed me, calling me, pursuing me and still loving me…even still, mistake after mistake after mistake.
Did you know God is romantic? ‘Cause He is. All the flowers, the love songs, the letters, the pet names, all of that is human. And its beautiful! Its all good and the way He created us humans to express our love; through little actions and words that hold a whole lotta meaning. Its good and I hope you and your partner have that. Be sappy as all get out, please. But God’s romance is different.
Every once in a while I find myself slipping back into searching for my own idea of worth again, looking to others for my validation. But now I can recognize that. And when I find myself there God will say “Hey, baby, I’m still here” or “Hey, I still love you more” or something like that. At first I thought that was weird. ‘Baby’ is something you call your boyfriend or girlfriend. If anything I thought it was creepy. But God is not “creepy”. So ultimately I was just confused. Then came the ton of bricks again. I understand His romance now.
His romance is the mountains in all their majesty and age. His romance is the sky and the way it changes its personality throughout the seasons and the hours. His romance is the way that coffee smells in the morning. His romance is the sound of babies laughing. HisĀ  romance is middle C. His romance is 1+1=2. His romance is blue and red making purple. His romance is the way he pursues you relentlessly. He doesn’t stop. He calls you day and night and does not rest until you hear Him. He doesn’t give up when you turnĀ  your back to Him yet again. He doesn’t take a break when things are going good for you. He is relentless and persistent and He will stop at absolutely nothing until you understand that He loves you. God is romantic and He is wooing His beloved…which is you.
God’s romance is intimacy. I tell him my thoughts, He tells me His. I give Him my heart, He gives me His. I keep no secrets from Him, He tells me the secrets of His heart. And its not like we give back and forth and that its a chore. I don’t have to religiously pray and read my Bible in order to keep this love. We are one. We just live in relationship and share our thoughts and our heart. His heart is mine to have and mine is His. I am deeply rooted in Him. And He is pursuing you just as much as He is pursuing me. Its hard to comprehend the way He loves us, in this tangible, messy world. He loves us equally much, but unfathomably differently. He speaks to you in your language. He knows all the tiniest details about you and all the beautiful pieces of you. And He speaks to you in ways only you would understand because He knows you. And He doesn’t give His heart in pieces. When you accept it, its all yours.
Now that God is my one true love and my hearts desire, I have no room left to seek out other forms of identity and worth. My identity is Him and I believe it to my core. I do have much more room to love, however. I can’t help it. I love unconditionally and without expectation. My love for others is so much greater now and sharing that is my favorite thing to do. Yeah, I’m still human. I’ll forget that I love you unconditionally sometimes, but I still do and God will remind me. He pursues, He loves, He’s beautiful and He lives.

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