Love Not Less Than or More Than but Even Then
by Heather Bock
When I reach the end of a day, and I mean the flat-out exhausted, can’t think properly anymore, very end of a day (the way most of my days end), I sometimes have to face the reality that I haven’t spent the amount of time in prayer I’d like to and/or I haven’t studied the Bible. On those days, I have usually had this reality in the corner of my eye all day, but at that dead-end of the day, I must face it head-on because I have then lost my last chances. At that point, I am saddened when I know I’ve made bad choices that have led me to run out of time. I’m sad I didn’t give myself the chance to spend time alone with my sweet Lord. Underneath the rightful sadness, something else creeps.
A feeling of being less: less righteous, less valuable, less loved.
On the other hand, when I slide myself between the sheets at night, and I can think back and know that I spent all the quiet time I needed and wanted with Jesus that day, I feel happy. I’m happy for the good reason that time with Jesus is good. He enriches my outlook, encourages my weaknesses, strengthens my faith, and so much more. However, more lurks behind those good feelings, too.
A feeling of being more: more righteous, more valuable, more loved.
This doesn’t just come with whether I spent time with God that day or not. My productivity affects this, too. If I’ve gotten in some good exercise, completed the writing I wanted to do, spent time with Greg, checked off everything on my homeschool list, fulfilled my roles as mother, daughter, ESL teacher, and Facebook group admin, and added in whatever other specific task might be on my list for that day, THEN I feel good about myself. If not, if one or two are lacking, I go to bed with a sense of defeat.
On Memorial Day, I accomplished almost nothing. I sat around playing Brain Dots on my phone, and my skin was crawling with guilt the whole day, for I have expectations even for my rest days, like reading for fun or getting outside. Too much game playing, even one that I reason might be building some brain cells, doesn’t feel right.
Does anybody else feel this way?
I know in my head this isn’t right. What I GET DONE doesn’t change my standing before God, positively or negatively.
It’s not what I do that makes me righteous. Jesus made me righteous when I accepted Him and His sacrifice on the cross: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).
It’s not what I do that makes me valuable. God values me as one made in His own image. No matter what I do, He values me as His own child. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12).
It’s not what I do that makes me loved by God. The Bible says nothing exists that can take away the love God has for us: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). Nothing we do will make Him love us more, either. How can God love more when He IS love Himself? As I John 4:16 beautifully states, “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.”
That’s what it comes down to. Do I really believe the love God has for me? If I do, I will continue to work for Him and spend time with Him out of love for Him, as I do now, but out of love alone. I pray that this love on both sides will sweep away all traces of the other feelings that still linger. Let “this one thing [remain]: Your love never fails; it never gives up; it never runs out on me” (Bethel Music).
God's love does not become less than or more than but stays even then.
— Heather Bock (@heatherbethbock) June 7, 2017
0 thoughts on “Love Not Less Than or More Than but Even Then”
Thank you Heather! I needed to read this tonight!
I’m glad to hear that! May God bless you with full knowledge of His love!
I love that. . . . “even then.” Beautiful truth! Thanks for sharing
I cannot tell you how many times I make myself feel guilty for sitting still. I have these self-imposed expectations and to-do lists that somehow make me feel more valuable if I can check off each item.
Thanks for speaking to my heart. It’s not what I do that makes me loved by God.
This is such a hard one for me, and it’s such a hard balance to strike because, of course, there’s always a lot of work to get done! As in everything, it comes back to our hearts and God’s heart for us.
oh you are so not alone! I don’t know if it something in us, or the fact that our worth is measure in the world based on what we can do–that we think God sees us the same way, that He judges us based on our productivity? But I do know that I have been on this journey of praying for God to help me believe my worth exists outside of what I am able to produce–so, I am with you!
Thanks for saying so! I guess most of the world’s religions try to get people to measure up to a high standard, and we just can’t on our own. Nevertheless we are loved by God–so thankful for that!
Thank you Heather! This is a beautiful picture of God’s love. It’s so hard to not connect God’s love to either what I’ve done for Him, nor what He has done for me. He still loves me, even when it seems like He’s not paying attention to my particular need, or at least He’s not intervening right now. Believing He loves me is faith. But the more I believe, the more evidence of His love blooms in my heart.
It’s hard sometimes to trust in that love. I’m sorry that you’re in that place right now. I will pray for you that you are able to keep seeing that evidence!
Really love this reminder: “It’s not what I do that makes me valuable.” I feel like you do so much of the time. I have a bullet journal where I track how often I’m in the word and spending time with God. When I’ve gone a few days without reading my Bible, I feel like a failure, unqualified, and question my calling. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. God named us otherwise. I love your heart for the Lord, Heather. So glad to have read this and really let it sink in. God bless you.
Yes, that journal is great to help keep you accountable in the discipline of spending time daily with Christ, but so many of us can also use one of those to gauge our worth. It’s a hard balance. Thank you for commenting, and keep soaking in His grace!
This is exactly what you were explaining. You are right. Thank you so much for shining light on that for me. xx
Such a freeing truth, Heather! I really love your image and quote for this one : ) What a blessing!
Thank you for the encouragement about the image and quote. The ones I used for the last one weren’t that great, so I really prayed for help for this one!
Just this morning, I was thinking about how God’s glory is not increased by my busyness. I’m not doing Him–or myself–any favors by work, work, working all the time. Then I read this! God is clearly using you to work in my life and the lives of others. Thank you for writing this.
I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for telling me! I pray that God would use me and how encouraging it is to me that He did this time!
I have a tendency to be performance oriented. It can interrupt the truth of my standing with God. Thankful He doesn’t see me the same way I view myself. Thanks for the reminder Laura.
I’m so glad about that, too! The way I see myself can be seriously skewed!
I absolutely love this Heather. (For some reason I can’t like the post, I’m probably technologically challenged.) Thank you for sharing, I can totally relate!
The comment is even better than a like! Thank you!
Yes–it’s grace. When we understand the depths of God’s love and the riches of his grace, it frees us from the try-hard life. Thanks for the reminder.
I know I need the reminder often!