February 21, 2011
Are You a List Maker?
"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
1 John 4:16 (NAS)
I'm a list maker. At my house you'll see a magnetic notepad on my refrigerator where I keep a running grocery list. By my bedside is a notepad for jotting down writing ideas. I have a notebook where I keep a daily to-do list and a long-term to-do list. And of course the best part of a list is checking something off when completed!
For years I kept another list. It wasn't written down. Instead it was a mental running list I didn't even realize I was keeping, until I experienced a perspective-shifting situation.
After my second son, Tyler, was born, I went through severe post-partum depression. It wasn't just the baby blues. It was days and days of crying, anxiety and no sleep. I had a newborn baby, a four year-old son, and a pilot husband who would soon go back to work. I was completely overwhelmed with everything. Finally, I called my doctor who prescribed medicine, but it would take a couple of weeks to work. Meanwhile, I had to figure out how to get through each day.
Every morning I woke up early, prayed, and begged God to take the depression away. But the depression didn't go away. In fact it deepened as I listened to the lies depression shouted: You're a failure. What's wrong with you? Why can't you do this? You only have two children and you don't even have to work full-time. Other people go through much harder things and you can't even do this.
One day when I just got sick and tired of being in such a miserable state, I yelled at God, What is this about, God? You're God. You could make this depression go away with the snap of Your fingers if You wanted to. Why won't You?
Finally, I was just still. As I sat there, I realized God wanted me to learn a life-changing truth. I had kept a mental running list of all the reasons God couldn't love me. I wasn't a good enough wife, a good enough Christian, and certainly not a good enough mother. When I was struggling with postpartum depression, I didn't feel like a good anything. So I sure didn't believe God loved me unconditionally. I believed God loved me - but I believed He'd love me more if I could get my act together.
I wonder if you're like me, keeping a running list of the reasons you mistakenly think disqualify you from God's unconditional love. Maybe like me you don't feel good enough at anything or you've struggled with depression. Maybe you have a secret that makes you feel ashamed - you've had an abortion, you've been unfaithful, you drink too much, you scream at your kids or husband. Maybe you've been divorced and that makes you feel unworthy of God's unconditional love.
When I gave God my list of reasons why He couldn't love me, I finally heard God's gentle answer in reply. Well, it's a good thing My love doesn't depend on you, My child. It's a good thing My love doesn't depend on you.
You can scratch all those reasons off the list. In fact you can tear up the list. I did that when I died on the cross for you.
Are you ready for a change today? Are you ready to stop beating yourself up for your flaws, shortcomings, or sins? God is not keeping a list of your mistakes, and you don't need to either. Tear up your list and don't start a new one. Choose to believe today God loves you. There is nothing you can do or not do to change His love for you.
Dear Lord, thank You for not keeping a running list of my mistakes, shortcomings or sins. Help me truly believe, to the core of my being, that You love me through and through, for now and always. I don't have to help You love me by being perfect. Let today be a defining moment where I tear up my running list and receive Your unconditional love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
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Write down whatever has been on your mental running list of why you've mistakenly thought you're disqualified from God's unconditional love. Then pray, thanking Jesus for dying for you and nailing it on the cross once and for all. Then tear up or burn the list. This might be an activity you want to share with your husband or a good friend.
Look up verses or check out Melanie's blog for verses about God's love. Read them daily; choose some to memorize. This will help you believe how much God loves you.
Do I believe I can help God love me by being good?
Is God's unconditional love settled deep in my heart?
What keeps me from believing God loves me unconditionally?
Has listening to the enemy's lies about myself, such as You're not a good enough mom or God could never forgive me for that, kept me from believing God loves me?
Jeremiah 31:3b, "'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'" (NIV)
1 John 4:10, "This is real love - not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (NLT)
© 2011 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 21 February 2011.