Psalm 63:3 – Your constant love is better than life itself, and so I will praise you. (GNB)
Stephanie, age 10, stood in front of her mirror admiring her medals. We could see what she was doing, but she was unaware that we were watching her. She had placed every medal won in basketball or relay running in the past 18 months around her neck. She proudly held a trophy that she won in a free-throw competition, raising it in the air. Perhaps Stephanie was dreaming of the Olympics. Then she noticed us looking at her, and exclaimed: "Mom and Dad, you weren't supposed to see this!"
Stephanie works hard at everything: in school, arts and crafts, creative writing and sports. God has given her many talents and she chooses to employ them all.
I worry that Stephanie will think her self-worth depends on her ability to perform well. I always praise her efforts, but I also want her to know that we love her just because she is our daughter. As one who has struggled with a poor self-image, I can testify to the fact that it is difficult to accept God's love under these circumstances. God's love, freely given, is not based on our achievements. Not one of us deserves the love of our Father in heaven, who is the giver of this priceless gift.
Sometimes we seek the approval, however fleeting, of others. We work tirelessly to impress them. Then one day we have a falling-out with the individual we wanted desperately to impress. We are now more wounded than we started out, and we may fall to pieces.
The only cure for this problem is accepting God's love. We cannot follow the golden rule of loving others as ourselves, if we do not love ourselves. We are not likely to love ourselves, if we do not accept that God loves us as we are. Remember Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Jesus loved all kinds of sinners, and he loves us too. Accepting this truth will set us free to love others.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for being a loving God. Although it is difficult to grasp, teach us again that we do not need to be doing anything to receive your love. Help each of us to accept the gift of your love today. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.