“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (HCSB)
I reach for a blank notecard from the stack by my bed in the early morning light. I scrawl strength across the middle and write below it these words: God is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26). I think of the busy day ahead and silently pray, “Yes, God, please be my strength today.”
I’ve begun collecting names of God — Strength, Friend, Refuge, Savior, Comforter. I first started this in a document on my laptop, but it has now spilled onto these notecards too. I’m a woman obsessed.
And I need to be because this is not what comes naturally to me. I am a striver, not a lover, by nature. I spent years stressing out for God, trying to prove my worth and earn His love. But I have come to understand there is a deeper, better way.
The other morning I could feel my heart racing and my to-do list growing before my feet ever even hit the floor. I paused and prayed, “God, I don’t want to be Your employee. I want to be in love with You.”
I imagine many of you would say the same. And perhaps, like me, it can be a struggle to know what loving God means in the ordinary day-to-day. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
And here’s the secret I’m slowly discovering: We can serve a stranger, but we can only deeply love someone we intimately know.
For me, that means the notecards by the bed, one name written down each morning. For you, it might be walks outside looking at the creation of the Maker who made you. It might mean finding more of God in front of the stove or on a platform at the front of a stadium. We can know Him anywhere and everywhere.
We can simply ask, “God, I want to know more of who You are. Will You show me?” This also means laying down our ideas of who we want Him to be and surrendering to who He is. We look to Scripture first to tell us and then we find His character and heart reflected everywhere around us.
Loving God also means believing He really does love us. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As I share in You’re Loved No Matter What, “God is for you. God is with you. God loves you beyond all you can imagine. Right here. Right now. As you are.”
If you’re struggling to love God it may be time to ask, “Do I really believe He loves me?” It’s okay if the answer is “not really.” We all experience this as part of being human. That just means it’s time to figure out what’s standing in the way — shame, guilt, fear, lies — and find healing in those places.
Love is not a task list. It’s not about productivity or perfection. It’s about simply this: intimacy and connection. Our great God is not asking for our resume. He’s inviting us into relationship — every single morning, every single moment.
This post was originally written by Holley Gerth in June 2017.
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