One of the pastors at our church made a statement on Sunday, “I am loved by God. There is no future, better version of me that is more loved than I am right now.”
I think I know this logically. I think I tell myself, and others, this often. God loves you, just as you are. You do not need to be perfect or have it all together to engage in a relationship with God. Yet, this statement, so simple, and so how I think I understand God, was a much needed reminder and reorienting as my personality tends to always push toward something “better,” or fight my way through all the things I am doing wrong or not getting right enough.
How often do you think of all the things you need to get done, do better, finally get under control? How often do you make a mental note to step it up or get it together?
I picture God sitting with us, listening to our thoughts, hearing our mental lists of ways we can improve or ways we missed the marks. I think He appreciates our internal pep talks. I think God loves that we want to get the most out of life, or that we have goals and dreams. But then I also feel like He says, “Cool. Those things are neat. I love you trying. But you also know I just love you right? That I just love you as you are for real. That those things are great, but they are not for Me, right? I’m just here. Loving you. With or without all those things swirling in your head. Without or without you accomplishing any of those things. Just you. The you that’s right now.”
I have always loved the second part of John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” or “have it abundantly.” I tend to emphasize the “may have,” part. It’s an option. But my personality treats it as an option that must be earned, worked for, fought for. And I do think there are some truths woven in there, but what I’m thinking of this morning is that God’s love and a full life are not necessarily synonymous. They compliment one another, but God’s love and how fully we choose to live are not contingent. There may be a “better version” of myself out there ahead of me, I actually hope so. But that person is not more loved than I am right now. Can you trust that?
Keep working on things. Get the most out of life. But be mindful not to equate that effort or achievement to the depth of love God has for you. For God so loved you, the full you, the you that you are right now, that He gave His son. Don’t insist on waiting for some future version of yourself before you allow that to wash over you.