I don’t remember the first time I walked, but I imagine it went something like this: I stood at one end of the room with my mother and my father at the other end of the room.
Before that day I could probably do the kind of creative dangling that almost looks like walking, when somebody held me by the hands and shifted me from side to side as my feet barely touched the floor.
But this is the day when I will try a real honest walk on my own — all holds barred — with just two eager parents, miles apart, there to cheer me on. So I set out, wobbling at first, stumbling a bit, but unmistakably making it on my own from one set of arms to the other.
And then I imagine that my father lifted me high in the air with an exultant shout as if no one in human history had ever walked before. Then, after numerous kisses and exclamations, I probably felt like the most loved, the most marvelous boy in all the world.
After a time I could walk with more assurance but, for some reason, I didn’t receive so much praise. In fact, I can’t remember the last time that anyone praised me for walking across a room.
So I had to do other things. Simply walking just wasn’t good enough anymore. I had to strive to make a splash in other ways, just to get back to that feeling, that feeling of being noticed, of being picked up with a shout of delight, of being valued.
For the most part, we don’t have much experience with unconditional love, so we try to create conditions in which we will feel worthy of love. We do not entirely trust love without reasons, so we strive to create reasons for the love received.
And in all that striving, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that my parents did not praise me because of my accomplishments. Rather, they praised my accomplishments because they loved me, and would have loved me if there were no accomplishments to praise.
If parents sometimes have something like unconditional love, a love without reasons, for their children, how much more so does God love God’s own children? All of our striving to try to win something that is ours already. God values you, not because you have distinguished yourself in some way, but because you are God’s beloved.
Thanks to Martin Copenhaver for these wonderful words.
Spend some time thinking about how much God loves YOU, not for what YOU have done or accomplished, but because YOU are God’s own child.
GOD IS WHISPERING IN YOUR HEART. JUST TUNE IN YOUR EARS!!
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