To experience God’s love, we sometimes need to get into character. Let me tell you what I mean.
A couple weeks ago, I shared the story of how I met my husband and how I tried to run away from love. I had to risk running into the wide open spaces where the lightning of rejection could leave me burned.
I also said it wasn’t the first time I tried to sabotage romance.
I had managed my life to a state of contentment and I was happy to not let anyone rock the boat. Especially if I suddenly thought he was cute, funny and attractive.
Well, July 4th weekend was coming up and a bunch of our friends decided to go on a road trip to Southern California and ride the crazy roller coasters at Magic Mountain.
This will be it, I thought. 5-6 hours in the car with Bonnie? This guy’s finally going to figure out what he’s gotten himself into.
I told myself I wasn’t going to tell him my life story and I was definitely not going to talk about my insecurities and hang ups.
Hello! I wasn’t born yesterday. I know guys don’t like touchy, feely stuff. We just started dating for two months.
Well, wouldn’t you know it. The day before we left, a big drama bomb exploded in my life. Even though I was emotional soup inside, I was successful enough to avoid any topics about my family four hours into the trip.
We talked about country music, college days, our favorite this and pet peeve that.
Suddenly, Prince Charming asks me about my family. Just innocently.
Water works. Big time. I’m sorry. More leakage. There goes the mascara.
I decided to pop his bubble. I’m not Cinderella. I don’t have a glass slipper.
I proceeded to tell him, “I’m not the girl you probably think I am. My life is very complicated. You really don’t want to get involved with me. You need to find yourself someone who is free to love you.”
I’ll always remember his response. He was quiet. Then, he said to me, his voice filled with tender concern, “I don’t want to be with someone else… What is it? Tell me.”
Before I told him, I gave him full permission to break up with me and I wouldn’t be hurt. I’d understand.
Then, I spilled the beans about a family plight I had only told one other person in my entire life.
I’ll never forget that car ride. I discovered love by sharing the one secret I felt would surely have him high tailing out of my life.
That wasn’t the last time I’d show a wound that I thought was ugly enough to turn love away.
Each time, it only drew him closer to me — and a love I didn’t think was possible reached down into my heart and established it’s roots.
I began a similar journey with God this past year. I’ve started showing him some wounds I didn’t think were very attractive as a daughter of a King.
Deep inside, I have a fear of not being enough for God.
When I feel myself getting too complicated, I tend to get quiet with God.
I’d gotten so used to maintaining a safe life and being content with my lack of confidence, I lost touch with using my faith to imagine a God who loves me unconditionally.
What if I feared how my life would change, if I really believed God loved me unconditionally?
I decided to challenge what I believe was the limit of God’s love for me.
I’ve come to realize I play an important part in this new discovery: I’ve got to let Him in.
I’ve got to let God love me — by giving myself permission to be me.
I’m daring to tell him my deepest fears about myself and I’m learning there’s a whole other side of God I haven’t experienced fully yet.
I’ve trusted God to provide my necessities.
I counted on Him to keep me on the right path.
I’ve depended on Him as a friend and confidante.
But I’m still not fully convinced that He loves me out of pure delight.
Getting Into Character
I’m still new at this “God is dancing over over you” image. Whenever I try to picture this in my heart, it feels fairytale like. Awkward even.
But I am giving myself permission to be me, getting into character and brainstorming a list of new attitudes and changes. Because God says He loves me unconditionally.
I’m hoping to see God dancing over me then.
This time, I’m not going to stop Him.
“… as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.”
~ Isaiah 62:5
What would be on your list — if you got into “character” of the one God dances over?
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We’re in the middle of a special February Faith Jam series — Unwrapping Love. Check out next Thursday’s topic below and be sure to weigh in with your voice.
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Today’s Faith Jam Topic 2/17:
What are you discovering about God’s love for you?
or Share your thoughts on faith and love.
One Faith Jam blogger chose “Love” as his One Word for 2011: David Rupert@Red Letter Believers.
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Next Thursday’s Topic 2/24:
Two of our Faith Jam bloggers chose Forgiveness as their One Word for 2011: Leanna@SingleRevelations and SouthWest Arkie@ColoringOutsidetheLines.
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oh this hits my heart! and goodness I mean that’s why it’s connected to the words on my wrist: “My delight is in her.” I’m still learning what that means…still learning that it means that He is FOR me, that He is trustworthy, that He not only will but *wants* to give me the desires of my heart…
That last part gives me goosebumps, Katy. Totally.
I love the image of God dancing over me. I took time last week to share with my husband some of the mess inside me. And I think God danced over both of us!!!!!!!!! Thank you Bonnie for the encouragement!
Together?! That is beautiful, Katie!
This is very similar to what I wrote on this week — God not only sees me for who I am, but He made me this way. That’s pretty stunning when I think about it.
And then when we meet a person who loves us, mess and all? Speechless. My husband is the same way, and it surprises me every time. It shouldn’t, but it does.
“It surprises me every time.” Sounds like romance to me… 😉 Can’t wait to read your post, Joy!
So many times our worst fears are what we imagine inside our heads. Two things happened in that car. You trusted, and he understood.
Great story, Bonnie. And a great lesson.
I had a similar experience with my husband before we got married. I just KNEW he was going to break up with me when he found out this and that. But of course, he didn’t. He loved me anyway.
Thank you for applying that story to your relationship with Christ. It helps me to put it in that perspective. I have so much trouble believing that God could love me like I am. I try to be better better better, when he loves me already.
Thanks V.V.! Encouraging to hear your journey here.
What a beautiful post! Exactly what I needed to hear and connect with RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you!!!
Thank you, Jamie!
Ooh, a very good love story, Bonnie! Both yours and your man’s, and yours and God’s. Isn’t it amazing how God can love us even knowing all our family secrets already? Even knowing more than WE ourselves know? He is an awesome God indeed. Thanks for opening yourself up to him and to us. I feel blessed to get to know you.
I feel blessed to get to know you too, Lisa! In the faith moments, where we’re most vulnerable.
Oh man, this was good and why is it so hard to believe God loves us unconditionally? and how it hurts to trust because others have hurt us. So hard to be transparent and true and just be who you r without fear-to be perfected in God’s love-
I have a dear sweet sister in Christ and close friend who can’t seem to feel or receive God’s love for her? Oh wow-it breaks my heart how lonely she feels and with all the wrongs that she has lived with and her beautiful daughter-what do i say? How do I pray for her? I keep praying and asking God to reveal His love for her-to be real to her-to show himself-to give her a glimpse of eternity-
Adaykis, how invaluable. Keep praying. One day, her heart will dare to believe.
“I’ve come to realize I play an important part in this new discovery: I’ve got to let Him in. … and I’m learning there’s a whole other side of God I haven’t experienced fully yet.”
Yes! This is a watershed insight, and you shared it well.
Grace is not transactional, it’s participatory:
Thanks for that link, Stephen.
“Grace is not transactional, it’s participatory.” Perfectly put. Love that.
I hear the words, but I can’t believe it yet. My family was never really there for me. My job was to keep everyone feeling loved, but when I asked to be loved, they left me in a dark room to figure it out by myself. They were like sponges soaking up the joy I could manufacture and never gave anything back. I was expected to be perfect for them, so they looked good. When I ran out of gas, they left me with cold condemning stares. There are pieces of my life that I won’t share because people look at me like “no that didn’t happen. I knew your family!” They only knew what was carefully crafted for public consumption. When the big green door of our home closed, different actors came out on the stage–a different drama unfolded. I wonder if I will ever heal from the hurt. I try to mask the anger and act brave and confident, but the little girl still cries in the darkness asking ‘why didn’t they love me?’ There are days when the darkness fills me and no light can find its way inside. I suppose I’m just asking for prayers that I find a way into the light. That the nightmarish thoughts dissipate in that light and I find healing. God bless and keep us all. There is just so much darkness.
Thanks for sharing so deeply, Dee. Don’t hide. Show God the darkness, anger and sadness. He can then speak into it and bring His love into it. Speak what you fear most because God can handle it.
I thought I was reading my story when I read yours! I said the same thing-behind the closed door of our house was a different family than what was seen out in public. I have asked too–why didnt she love me? (my mother) I also was terrified to share my story with anyone for fear they would walk away from me also. I felt as if I wasn’t lovable. Keep praying and talking to God one little piece at a time if that is what it takes. He can handle the ‘WHY ME?” questions, I know! He will meet you right where you are at and He will love you like no other. I’ve have learned that just recently and I finally believed it.
“I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears.” Ps 34:4 Not some of your fears Dee, ALL of them!
[…] is part of Bonnie Gray’s Thursday Faith Jam on love. For more posts, check out Bonnie’s post “Giving Myself Permission to be Loved.” Share and […]
Wonderful story Bonnie. Isn’t it amazing that God can handle our mess? One commenter on my blog mentioned that we can’t surprise God with our sins. Often, it’s more of our issue than his–provided we can confess them and move on. I found that really helpful.
I recently sensed that God wanted me to literally speak my sins when confessing. To say them so that my own ears could hear them. There was something about hearing it that made me flinch, but also made me realize that my sins were out in the open. I’d said the worst thing I could imagine, and I could still be forgiven and start again. Thanks again for sharing your story with us.
I am so glad you added it here, Ed. I find speaking it out is extremely difficult. But, you’re right, it’s so powerful when spoken in front of God. And yes, I flinch.
There’s this quote I know that really hits me: “I am afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you might not like it–and that’s all I got.” – Sabrina Ward Harrison and that totally explains how I feel about allowing people to see me (to really see me). The one time I reluctantly opened up to someone (other than friends who had waiting years to gain my trust), it didn’t have the sort of ending I was hoping for. Sharing secrets with a relative stranger – secrets I rarely share with my closest friends or even put into words – is hard. I was trying to grow, be braver. Unfortunately, he still complained that I wasn’t “open” which kind of slammed the door shut on any more sharing. I really didn’t know how I could be more open, and he wouldn’t understand that that was as open as I could be then. Its easier to be bold when writing on my blog, because I can’t see your face and you can’t see me. But it give me courage to show who I am when I am offline too. Somehow, people seem to like me anyway.
My online friends definitely encourage me to be more confident offline. 😉 Because we’re connecting by faith. Kristine, I love that quote you shared here.
Thank you for sharing your story! What a blessing it is to read, I totally feel identified with what you write, so thank you again for opening your heart to us. God bless you! I’m ready to unwrap love 🙂 !
Hi Jessica! 🙂
[…] have included this post in Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista jam where we were encouraged to talk about what we’re discovering about God’s […]
Girl, we are scary similar. Totally different personalities, I think, but we live life a lot the same. HOW does God do that?
Thank you for this, speaking into me today…
(smiling from ear to ear.. heart to heart) 🙂 Love you, Kelly!
You and I have a lot in common. :o) Hopefully one day we’ll meet.
God taught me that same lesson. He didn’t leave no matter how many times I disappointed him. Ever listen to that Taylor Swift song? I forgot the name of it, but it talks about how she and her husband fought and how she ran out expecting it would be over. She was used to goodbye. But he stayed.
God and my husband–they stayed exceeding my expectations of them.
I know! I know! We do! 🙂
When I feel myself getting too complicated, I tend to get quiet with God.
This post touched my heart, but that line broke it open.
it’s easier to see how God is there when things are going well. It’s easy to feel like I’m the problem when things aren’t. I never thought it would be so hard to go to God and ask for help, but, it is.
Thank you for sharing.
You’ve touched my heart this morning, Hannah.
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jake Lee, FaithBarista. FaithBarista said: Got a Secret That Makes You Feel Unloveable? http://ow.ly/3YmWs Giving Myself Permission To Be Loved (New Post) […]
“I don’t want to be with someone else . . . ” Oh! A lump suddenly appeared in my throat.
If I truly, truly, truly believed God sings and dances over me? I think I’d be more confident. If the Maker and Sustainer of the Universe delights in me, what does it matter about others’ opinions.
Thought provoking post, Bonnie! I love your love story. I appreciate your thought provoking transparency.
Our posts are similar today. 🙂 I’ve found myself also letting Him love me the way he created me to be and not who everyone else expects me to be. I love the image you write. Of God dancing over you. So many characteristics I think he is growing in me, but definitely I picture him dancing over a more confident me. Now if I can only find that confidence and the rest of the person he has created me to be.
It’s so cleansing and healing to have someone love us ‘no matter what’ –we get the same freedom when we realize He loved us before we ever messed up, sinned, failed, or went through hell and struggles. All we can do is accept it. Great post, Bonnie. Thank you.
How our flesh aches to run away – but our spirits hunger to be in His presence!
Finally got my post linked.
“I’ve got to let God love me – by giving myself permission to be me.”
This is a truth that I have had to learn too. It’s been a rocky (and painful) process at times but I am feeling so much freedom being the me that God wants me to be!
Love it!! Thanks for sharing!!
This post was absolutely awesome. Thank you for letting us in, because it helps us open up, too.
Isn’t that the best part about marriage; showing someone your ugly and having them stay. I so enjoy when you share parts of your story, Bonnie! 🙂 You have such a gift.
Thank you! I protected myself from everyone by not letting them inside my heart. I could not let them know about my family, my life. When I did, they didnt’ believe me or they just blew me off. Even when I told my husband–now ex-husband. So the walls kept going higher and higher because obviously I must be some sort of freak of nature or something along those lines. It must be made up in my head, right? WRONG! God started working in my heart knowing I did not trust anyone, even HIM! In desperation I finally reached out, there was nothing left to lose. I opened up the flood gates of all the years of stuff to a wonderful Christian woman God sent to me. What a freeing feeling! I too told her if it was just to messed up for her I understood if she didnt want to continue talking with me. That was 3 years ago and she has never left my side in this entire journey! God is good and knew exactly who I needed to help me find him again. I am for the first time really wanting that special someone in my life-a husband- that will love me for me, who I will want to tell my story too, who will tell me his story, who will let me love him back. I have been learning what unconditional love means. I am okay in God’s eyes even though I have a messed up life. He already knew I would be that way just like he knew I would come back to him, I would question him, I would fall in love, truly in love, for the first time after going through all I have.
I love the story with your husband…it made me cry. My own hubby is such an integral part of letting myself be loved by God…I still just can’t get over how my husband sees me…not with the flaws, but the really good stuff…how can this be?
Holley Gerth had a recent post that was very like this as far as ripping out the page in her journal of things she was disappointed with; failures about herself and that she heard the Lord tell her that that was His journal about her, only the beautiful things, none of the flaws…and I was so struck–how would my life look differently if I really believed this, even a little…
So, well, lots more freedom, joy, boldness in approaching others and sharing Him…literal dancing in the streets just to name a few:)
Wow, Bonnie. Those fears…
Praying for you on what sounds like an awesome, God-directed journey.
and…did you ride the Free Fall? 🙂
[…] This post is linked to Faith Jam. […]
We need to permit ourselves to be loved so we can go through the pain, the hurt, the neglect and find ourselves loved. My life story parallels many of the commentators. But as I grow wiser, not being loved is really no one’s fault. Parents did their best, even though in the process they “failed’. Staying in a lie that tells we aren’t loved nor lovable is denying God’s truth and denying who and what God is.
I read this post from my email this morning. I had a “that’s it” moment when you said:
“When I feel myself getting too complicated, I tend to get quiet with God.”
You put into words something that I could never seem to understand. I knew my relationship would suffer with God in times of real insecurity or frustration, but I couldn’t understand why….It was because it was just to complicated. I couldn’t figure my own self out. So, I sure didn’t want to try to explain myself to God. I still do that. Now I have some clarity!
I love it. Thank you for sharing. Seems like we’re always having to re-learn the whole “God rejoices over me” just as I am thing… And I love that our husbands love us just as Christ loves us. They know and see our issues, our imperfections, and still, they love us.
[…] Dusty Rayburn 10. How Our Words Impact Others by Michael Hyatt 11. Make big plans by Seth Godin 12. Giving Myself Permission To Be Loved by Bonnie […]
I can’t believe you linked to Zephaniah 3:17 – that verse is stalking me! By song (Seeds of Worship) and current devotional book (Jesus Calling – referenced today) and then I finally go back to click on your link and that is what you meant. Amazing. I think God is talking to me. Thank you for delivering the message 🙂
Great post Bonnie! It’s so funny how we try to hide those things we think make us unlovable, but at the same time would only want someone who could love us mess and all. It goes back to trust, with us letting go of the attempt to control another’s perception of us, and in the end portraying a skewed version of ourselves. Since God is a not a man that He would lie, we simply must trust that He is telling the truth when He says we are lovable and loved – and He totally sees all the mess, but made the greatest sacrifice still so we could be together. Talk about love.
Thanks for the post, Bonnie. It touched my heart a lot. I’m not a Christian but I do believe in God. My unhappy childhood and family shaped the me of today – lack of self-confidence, no joy on my face and tend to isolate myself a lot of time. It’s a miracle to me that I met God and I feel His love to me. Each time I talk to God, I am so touched. I believe that reading your blogs is another miracle brought by God to me. I pray that one day I will meet someone who will love me as who I am.
Thank you for this post, Bonnie! Made me cry. I also feel that way sometimes… Sometimes, I feel that I’m finding it hard to let God love the darkest sides, the deepest wounds of my heart. How can He possible love someone like me?
But yeah. You’re right. God just delights in us and loves us with a love we could never fully understand. The only thing to do is let Him love us and soak in that love. 😉 It’s the sweetest thing.
the whole way through the beautiful story with your husband i kept thinking of the relationship with God. the thing I consistently remind myself is that He already knows all of me. He even knows all of me to come. i’m not telling Him anything new because He needs to hear it. i’m telling Him because i need to KNOW He hears it.
Abide in me and I will abide in you…..amen. Thanks for being so transparent with us. Raising my cup o java to you now. I will tune in for this weeks topic.
[…] taking some new steps as the Beloved last week, giving myself permission to be loved, I wasn’t surprised to came face to face with some old wounds that suddenly opened […]
I love this! Lately I’ve been doing a better job of forgiving others instantly and I say the words Jesus proclaimed on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” When I think of the small offenses against me I realize how trivial they are. However after reading your post I realize that forgiveness doesn’t always come easy and it’s okay to do it over and over.
Thanks for sharing this post with us!
This is my first time here…I think. I LOVE this article! I love your writing style, and your vulnerability with God. Beautiful…
[…] in my family of origin were at the worst. I had started dating my now-husband and our budding romance placed tremendous strain on relationships that had grown co-dependent and […]