Utterly loved

I’ve been thinking about this phrase lately, during Lent: I am utterly loved. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain and heart around. Hard for me to believe, honestly.

Utterly loved? Like, totally and completely? No matter what?

That’s not how my brain works. I’m the kid who loved to see the line of star stickers on her reading chart, taped to the 3rd grade window for everyone to see. It’s hard for me to believe that I am loved when I don’t have any stars on my chart.

And lately I haven’t had many stars on my chart.

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For Lent, this year I gave up something weird. Not chocolate, not social media, not caffeine.

This year, for Lent, I gave up my quiet times.

Yes, I know. That seems strange. I’ve given up time with the Lord? During Lent?? Not exactly. Because my quiet times (or devotion times or whatever you want to call them) were no longer spent with the Lord. They had become my self-induced, self-disciplined, self-important attempts to show God what a good girl girl I am. What a committed follower. That I deserved to be loved. That I had stars on my chart.

So I gave them up. And I’m using Lent to reflect on the truth that I am utterly loved. Even without a daily quiet time.

(Does this make you nervous? It does me. I have been very uncomfortable to tell you the truth.)

But I’m learning something that I think may prove to be very valuable. I’m learning that I am utterly loved even if I don’t… do anything. Even if I don’t have a daily quiet time. Even if I don’t publish a weekly blog post. Even if I don’t finish the laundry or keep the house picked up. Even if I don’t love my family as well as I’d like. Even if I don’t succeed. Or make a difference. Or do something great.

I am utterly loved. No matter what.

And if you belong to Jesus, so are you. You are utterly loved. No matter what. Maybe you need to let that truth sink in as well?

How would you finish this sentence?

I am utterly loved even if I don’t…

I would love to hear your answers for real. Click on the comment bubble in the lower right-hand corner of this post to leave a comment :).

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15 thoughts on “Utterly loved

  1. Wow…first off, I want to say I think you are so very courageous, Lindsay. In giving up your quiet times for Lent…and for sharing that with us. I have struggled with this very thing – my accountability partner and I discuss performance-based living often. We’ve even discussed it specifically regarding time with God. I’ve learned that time in nature so helps with that. My guard is down, my heart is open, I give and receive freely. But the reality is I can’t be in nature with God every day…so what do quiet times in the boundaries of 4 walls look like? At the age of 30, I still don’t know. And I think it can shift and change…I’m learning to feel freedom in that. Your courage gives me courage.

    And now to finish the sentence…”I am utterly loved even if I don’t…succeed.” I’m learning a lot about my fear of failure…and how in fearing Him it doesn’t remove the failure, but removes the fear of it, and opens me up to a healthy fear of what He will do in it!

    Love you, Lindsay!

    • Yes, Erin! Meeting with God within the boundaries of 4 walls… allowing God to “mix it up” and change our form. Remind me to tell you about the labyrinth John mowed in our backyard sometime! Ha!! We are definitely getting creative around here 🙂

  2. even if I can’t get it right…
    Your depth of transparency speaks volumes to me. It always has. Thank you for being willing to grow in public with your heart out there for us to see. It is indeed beautiful and courageous.
    much love

  3. I am utterly loved even if I don’t have it all together. Sometimes I feel that if I am caught up at work, the house is neat, and the kids/husband are happy then I somehow “earn” God’s approval and love. None of these things are ever all done at once so then I’m left feeling like a failure when ALL I need is Jesus! Thank you for reminding me that I am “utterly loved” regardless of how much of my “to do” list gets done 🙂

    • Yes, Kristen! We set ourselves up for failure every day when we align “success” with our to-do list, don’t we? I’m happy to remind you and me both that all we need is Jesus!!

  4. I am utterly loved even when I mess up. That’s a hard one for me to receive. And yet I’ve been intentional in trying to teach it to my children… letting them know I love them even when they mess up. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I struggle with consistency in quiet times, and I often find myself thinking that I won’t be able to be consistent so why even try. But I know every moment I do take to sit down quietly at the feet of my Lord is priceless!

    • I so agree with this, Dawn. For years I tended to avoid “messing up” (ok, I still avoid it), but in trying to be perfect, we miss the gospel. Such a beautiful truth to learn along with our kiddos! It’s not so much about our consistency as it is the consistency of the Lord. Yes!

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  7. Ha! I did something like this years ago. I had made a promise not to read anything until I had read my Bible verse and study for the morning. I went 6 YEARS without reading ANYTHING. That was ridiculous. I gave up my legalism, knowing that I could approach God in prayer and devotion, whether or not I had done my Bible study. And, that he really didn’t mind if I picked up a short story or magazine if I had an extra minute or two.

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