I have this trouble, with God. I don't think I really know him very well at all. Not because of anything He does or doesn't do for me. But more because of the things I think about him. I know God loves me. I really do. I completely believe that he sent his son for me because he loves me.
But the thing I have much, much more trouble with, is the concept that He likes me. (And yes, in my mind there is a difference) Say a child, they know they are loved, they see everything their parent does for them, and they appreciate that. Their parent is kind, and good and loves them. And the child knows that. But the love that the parent gives that child, then causes that child to try to do things to please their parent. I watch it in my own children, a couple of days ago for example, Georgie mastered doing her own buttons up on her pajama top, and she was just thrilled when I was so excited and proud of her. I watched her just glow and beam with joy, because she was proud to have pleased me. I know as a child myself, I was so thrilled when I got an award at a school presentation night, and my Dad was there, and I saw him be proud of me. He goes pink in the face, and he grins and looks like Santa Clause when he is particularly chuffed. And I could recognize that my Dad was proud of me, and liked me, you know?
Parents often do have favourite children. They just do. It's a fact. I find my favoritism often chops and changes with my children depending on what stage they are going through. But I never feel like I am God's favorite.
I don't often feel like I do anything that makes God like me. I don't often feel like I have made him proud, or pleased. I know he loves me and his son died for me, and that is because I am his child and I am his blood and I belong to him, and so he cannot help but love me. But often I feel like that frustrating, annoying, difficult child who can't get things right and just makes things more complicated. I get scared that my own parenting mirrors the beliefs I hold about God and it just kills me. I know it's kind of ridiculous, and probably completely wrong, but it feels right.
I have huge trouble with the idea that God could look down on my and delight in me. I feel like he is just looking down, going "What's she done again?" a lot of the time. I feel so much that I have to work to earn God's liking and I never ever manage it, because I am such a selfish creature.
The Bible tells me that he likes me, that he delights in me.
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; Psalm 149:4
I know it. But it is head knowledge, not heart knowledge. I'm not quite sure how to go about making it heart knowledge. But I know I carry around an awful lot of false guilt. I am a sinner, heaven knows I mess up so much. But my sin is forgiven and gone because of Jesus' sacrifice. So my guilt should be gone as well. That's a much harder beast to conquer. I know my guilty feelings feed directly into my belief that God doesn't like me, and I know it is false and robbing me of so much.
And while you'd think that the guilt would be the explanation, I don't think it (solely) is. I think I also have trouble understanding the heart of God. I still believe that he is capable of withholding himself, that he treats the free gift of grace, and therefore his goodwill like something that must be earned. Even though I know that he all that is good and pure and lovely and kind.
I know so much of this is directly affecting the way I act now, the way I love others. but it's bloody hard ignoring things you feel to be true. I'm trying to figure out how. I'm working on trying to believe that He is a God who adores me. And when he sees me broken, and tired and sad and dirty, he doesn't get frustrated or angry or fed up with me, but rather he sees my brokenness and his heart breaks for me. I'm trying to believes that he picks me up, and adores me. That there are things about me that he finds endearing, and delightful. That I am his favourite. That there are aspects of me that he would never ever change. It's hard, but I'm trying.
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3