God's Love is FoundationalAug 17, 2022
Blog by Gem Fadling
In my upcoming book, Hold That Thought, I (Gem) suggest that we cannot engage thought work on its own. The foundation for it must be the love of God and our growing acceptance of that love.
We begin with the love of God. We can’t talk about love without first addressing God’s love, because God self-defines as love.
I want to talk especially to those of you who might struggle a bit with the idea of a loving God, as well as to those of you who might struggle with believing you are worthy of love.
I know there are many people who have been wounded or traumatized by family or friends or the church, and in some ways even having this conversation might be a struggle. I hear you, I see you, and I’m sorry for the wounds you bear.
My early image of God was of an old, white-bearded man in the sky who I was trying to please by doing all the right things as he barked orders from on high. God was a distant entity who I tried to draw close to me for love. This is a narrow and stark description, I know, but it has been hard to shake. Even after all these years, that former version likes to stalk me periodically, but this is not the image of God I want to focus on.
In my current season of life, I have grown to rely on three holy assumptions:
- God is real.
- God is love.
- God is not elsewhere.
I enter into this conversation with as much humility as I can muster. I have to admit that I don’t know everything there is to know about God. This actually brings me great comfort because it means all the shallow ways I have tried to understand and embrace God can become deeper, more enriched, and all-encompassing.
I allow myself to engage the fullness of God’s love in all its bold, sacrificial richness and without any hint of shallow, syrupy, head-in-the-sand notions.
One of my favorite phrases from the book of Acts is “In him we live and move and have our being” (17:28). This describes a relational oneness that already exists. We’re not trying to coerce a distant God to do anything.
God is as close as the air we breathe. We are swimming in an ocean of God’s love. We’re like a fish who couldn’t tell you what water is. All we know is this: love sustains our existence.
When we want to reaffirm what love really looks like, we need look no further than Jesus and his model of love. Jesus makes all of this real. Jesus gives us a vision for what’s possible as a human being. He was always stopping for the wounded, the hurting, the outcast. He continually taught about diving below the surface of things into the heart. He modeled the process of dying, waiting, and rising so we would know we’re not alone. This is the Jesus Way.
This is the foundational, grand love I’m talking about. A crucial part of our inner work is to remain open to this love one small step at a time. You are always and deeply loved, without question and without reservation. This love can change you from the inside out.
- If you haven’t already done so, memorize this phrase from Acts 17:28: “In [God] we live and move and have our being.”
- This week, read or say that aloud to yourself at least once a day.
- While you say it, take a deep breath and envision the air as love itself.
- Take note of how this influences your confidence and value.
P.S. Hold That Thought releases on 9/20/22. You can pre-order now and receive some fun freebies from me!
This post is adapted from Episode #7 of the I Can Do That Podcast.