He loves me; He loves me not?

Will God still love me if I do not obey Him? If I know He wants me to do something, and I don’t do it, will He accept me?

If you’re a ‘good’ Christian, you will know the answer to this one. But, do you really know?

Knowing we should do something in a moment, but not doing it. Getting all the ‘feels’ as a prompt, yet not acting…

It was years ago. I felt tired, bone weary.

I had a happy, healthy, heavy toddler in a pram and had driven 1/2 an hour to a shopping centre to purchase ballet essentials. I hoped to get in and out. FAST. Bag ‘it’ and run.

Making my way through the centre, I walked past a young man with a perfume bottle in one hand, a sample in another. With a thick accent and a big smile, he invaded my space. Backpacker or international student, I surmised.

He waved the perfume at me, and I shook my head, smiling.

I felt the nudge.

‘Stop for him.’

‘No,’ I responded. ‘I’m tired. I want to get in, out and go home. If he approaches me again on my way out I will stop.’

With that, I walked on, hoping I could avoid the man on my way out.

Ballet items in hand, I headed back, hoping the young man would not approach me again.

I hoped I had ‘heard’ wrong.

Pushing the heavy, but happy, healthy one in the pram, with a weariness threatening to overwhelm, I noted the smiling, enthusiastic, perfume wielding, accent laden young man ahead.

Girding myself, while pushing the stroller more resolutely, I put my head down and charged.

Out of the corner of my averted eyes, I saw him head my way.

I veered left and kept veering until there was no more ‘left’ to go.

‘Cornered,’ I thought.

I pleaded with God, ‘Ok, ok, he has approached me. I know I did a deal, but I just can’t…’

I was close to tears. Weary. I had stopped for so many, and I felt tired.

Although I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that God wanted to reach out to Him, through me, I did not stop.

The young man reached out his hand, speaking to me as he cornered me against the shop window. Yep, God had done a doozy.

A rush of emotions flooded me. God’s heart for him was intense. There was such a compulsion to speak to Him. Such a overwhelm of love.

Did I stop?

No, I veered away

And, as I veered, I felt God’s heart break for the man I would not stop for. A love so intense, a heart so for the one before me. Love intense…

Yet, instantly, simultaneously, there was a flood of love for me. A warmth, a kindness and a goodness reverberated through my being. The complete love and acceptance and adoration I felt from Him for ME was extreme.

I felt God’s heartbreak for the young man; as I felt and heard HIs word of love for me:

‘I love you; I’m proud of you; you are weary and tired…’ he said. ‘Yes, I want you to stop for this one; yet I love you regardless.’

His words of love and acceptance flooding my being…

And as the love poured over my weary heart and body, the reality that I did not have to perform for His love sank deep. I knew this; but I did not KNOW this.

Love silenced the voice of condemnation as I leaned into what He said to me, what He said IN me.

I will never forget.

To hold the ‘both/and,’ rather than the ‘either/or,’ is challenging. There is a duplicity we must hold in the tension of both being real.

To carry the extreme love He has for the ones we walk past every day; but to know that you know He adores you regardless, is a tough lesson to grasp in this time of Facebook, Instagram, Tweets, performance, likes, acceptance through behaviour.

It rattled the perfectionistic, performance driven girl to her core; but, in understanding and receiving it, I knew I was where He wanted me.

I was home in His arms of understanding. I am foremost His girl, His beloved daughter, in whom He is well pleased (Mark 1:11). There is nothing more I can do to earn His love; His acceptance… His approval is mine.

He loves, regardless.

Yet, there is a call. It is a privilege to hear and respond.

To partner with Heaven is sheer joy.