“Claiming your own blessedness always leads to a deep desire to bless others. The characteristic of the blessed ones is that, wherever they go, they always speak words of blessing. It is remarkable how easy it is to bless others, to speak good things to and about them, to call forth their beauty and truth, when you yourself are in touch with your own blessedness.”
–Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved
Henri Nouwen has always been one of my favorite authors and I just love this quote! It is so simple, but true.
The way I view myself profoundly impacts the way I treat others.
When I’m hard on myself, I tend to be hard on others. When I’m self-critical, I find myself leaking an attitude of criticism towards others. And when I focus on my flaws and mistakes, I tend to also notice the faults in others.
However, the opposite is also true. When I claim my own belovedness, I see the belovedness of others. When I know that God delights in me, I more readily delight in the people around me. And when I experience God’s unconditional love, that same kind of love flows out of my heart towards others.
Recently I’ve been struck by how Jesus’ identity was deeply rooted in His Father’s love. When Jesus was baptized, His Father said, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” It is clear that Jesus’ ministry came out of a deep sense of security in His Father’s love. Love was the reason Jesus came to earth and the core motivation behind everything that He did.
Oh, how I want that to be true in my own life!
Lately I’ve tried to intentionally spend time in God’s presence simply letting God love me.
During these times, I’ll ask God to show me what He loves about me. I’ll accept His love even in the areas where I am broken and far from perfect. I’ll meditate on the love He showed for me when He died on the cross. And I’ll picture His love filling the empty places of my heart and overflowing to others.
I’m realizing that knowing about God’s love and actually experiencing it are two very different things.
I want to become a person of love.
And the first step is letting God love me.