I’ve never liked New Year’s Resolutions. There are already about 18 current areas I want to improve in, so adding something to that list feels like a real bummer of a start to the new year. That being said, there is one resolution I am making this year, and it’s one you should too. As a matter of fact, if you committed to this one resolution it would change your marriage so dramatically for the better, you would like back at 2018 in shock at how much change occurred. You ready for it?
In 2018, I resolve to be loved by God.
See there’s a huge difference between the intellectual premise of “Jesus loves me” and actually being loved, receiving that love, letting that love seep into the core of who you are. For many of us, receiving God’s love is hard, maybe even terrifying. Many of us have been taught that love is only offered with conditions: if we’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, likable enough, enough enough enough. Maybe it was a parent, or friends, or an ex. Maybe it was sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Maybe it was the time you got fired. Maybe it was a specific, hurtful message drilled into your head from a thousand different angles. Maybe it turned into a porn addiction, or eating disorder, or depression.
The point is, being truly, wholly, completely loved is – for many of us – the most terrible, wonderful thing we can imagine. To be unconditionally loved is first to be seen just as we are, for our defenses and pride and sin and anger and shame to be revealed. It’s to be called out of the dark corner we’ve been cowering in and to stand before God naked, and fear he will reject us the way others have.
Except he won’t.
When we come out of hiding and let ourselves be seen, we find the kind eyes of the God made flesh, who saw the woman literally naked, the shame of her adultery exposed for everyone to see, who saw her and all her sin and shame and said “I don’t condemn you.”
Do you believe that God sees you that way? Do you believe God sees you, and says “you’re mine, your name is tattooed on my hands, you are my child, you belong to me and always will”? Do you make space to be still and hear this message? Do you find time in the morning or late at night to let God’s love invade your heart? Do you find time to get away with him and just listen?
What if 2018 was the year you let yourself be loved by God? What if this year you dared to believe his promises were true? And what if, as his pure acceptance of you brought you out of hiding, you found yourself able to come out of hiding with your spouse? What if you didn’t hide behind anger, sarcasm, passivity, condemnation, busyness, or emotional distance? What if you were able to bring a whole heart to your spouse, and accept them the way God accepts you?
This could happen. Crazily enough, it’s what God says he wants for us. What if 2018 was the year you were courageous enough to believe it?
If so, make this resolution today: In 2018, I resolve to accept the Father’s love for me, so I can share it with my spouse.
And if you’re not sure where to start with that resolution, every morning this year say this prayer: God, today would you show me your love.
I’m praying today for our entire Thriving Marriages community, that 40,000+ people who receive these emails would be radically transformed by God’s love this year.