Caitlin Phelps has joined the Selah Team as our Director of Social Media. She has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lipscomb University and is currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska. You can learn more about Caitlin on our website here.
On January 1st, 2019, I joined many others in reflection of 2018 and in anticipation of a new beginning. Flooded with weight loss advertisements, social media posts declaring others’ New Years’ resolutions, and conversations of goals with friends and family, I was compelled to come up with aspirations for the year. Maybe 2019 will be about climbing the career ladder, perhaps I’ll implement a fitness plan, maybe I’ll pay off my college loans, maybe this will be the year my relational status will change or I’ll buy the perfect home.
At the time, all of these goals seemed to promise a sense of achievement and success. You can enter in any one of those ideals into this message: IF I can achieve ____ , THEN I will finally be happy, enough, loved, worthy, etc.
I realized that this time of reflection and this time of year was extremely susceptible for me to believe lies about my identity. I became aware that I was somehow agreeing with the empty promise that says, “When you can achieve ___, then you are worthy.”
I’ve experienced the “IF, THEN” lie many times in my life when I was able to accomplish an “IF” and also when I was not. The empty promise of “THEN” didn’t emerge the way I thought it might. Regardless, I didn’t experience the contentment that I had hoped for. I know I can’t be alone in this; I’ve heard others’ stories of attempting this transactional process of trying to achieve worthiness only to come up feeling empty. So, I decided to adjust my focus.
What if 2019 was not defined by setting goals, achieving a desired ideal, or attempting to become someone I wasn’t? What if I decided to resist the belief that what I can achieve in this new year is tied to how worthy I am? What if it was simply resting and agreeing with the truth of what God has ALREADY said about me?
So, I picked my word of 2019 — it was AGREE. I wanted 2019 to be marked by a deeper AGREEMENT of God’s truth about me – that I am beloved. Agreeing that I am beloved means that I have to DISAGREE with the lies that say who I am is what I do, what I have, how I look, what I can achieve, what others say about me. Living in agreement means having to disagree with the “IF, THEN” paradigm, because there is no IF OR THEN about God’s love — we are ALREADY loved – regardless of what we do or don’t do or whether or not we agree to it or not.
Choosing to AGREE with the truth of my belovedness is not a simple or easy process at all. I believe that AGREEING with that truth means I have a lot of DISAGREEING to do. Every minute, we are agreeing with some message about who we are. We are constantly flooded with messages, internally and externally about how we’ll never be enough unless we ______. Countering those lies with the truth that we are BELOVED, fully, deeply, without hesitation is one of the bravest things we will ever do. Rachel Held Evans said, “The great struggle of Christian life is to take God’s name for us, to believe we are beloved and to believe that is enough.”
I believe that AGREEING with the truth of our belovedness will change everything. I believe opening our hearts to the love God has for me will change my relationships, my habits, my priorities, and the way I see and love others.
I believe that AGREEING to be ROOTED deeply into God’s love for me means that I am RELEASED to freely love others and see them as God’s beloved, too. I believe taking God’s name for me is perhaps the most transformative choice for my relationships. The more I discover God’s great love for me, the more my eyes are opened to His deep love in others, for others, through others. I believe that agreeing to God’s name for me leaves me no choice but to let the truth of my belovedness pour out and into my family, friends, and the world.
The practice of AGREEMENT will be a journey for me for the rest of my days. I don’t think that we will ever “arrive” at the full knowledge of God’s love for us. Every day, every breath, I have a choice to claim God’s name for me or to believe the lies I am so tempted to believe. I am thankful for the way the Spirit draws me into agreement every moment, every day.
Today, I write a “manifesto” of agreement — fully expecting that in the next breath, I’ll have to agree again and again and again, and each moment of agreement pulls me into Love more deeply.
I agree that God created me and delights over me.
I agree that God is always with me.
I agree that there is nothing I can do to change the depth of God’s love for me.
I agree that God loves me — just as I am and just as I will be.
I agree that God has made me enough and that I am worthy NOW.
I agree that rooting deeply into God’s love for me frees me to love others deeply.
I agree that the truest thing about me is God’s love for me.
I agree that I am God’s beloved.
I agree that is enough.