The difference between acknowledging Jesus Christ’s love and feeling of His love is the difference between seeing a fur blanket through a window and curling up in one next to the fireplace after working on a frigid winter day. One acknowledges, even appreciates, existence. The other embraces and depends on it.
So often we talk of knowing the Savior loves us. After all, He suffered exquisite pain, even death, that we might be forgiven and live again.
I wonder how many of us genuinely feel His intimate love every day? And how many of us hold ourselves back because we fear we are not worth His sacrifice?
Or, do we worry His love for us does not match His devotion to the visibly noble and great ones? Perhaps we believe our circumstances to be an indication of where we fall on His list of supposed favorites.
Up until recently, I believed my Savior’s love for me to be the sort of love one has for a cherished dog; “I love you and will take care of you, but your place is under the table. You are not to sit here with my honorable disciples and me because you cannot understand what they can understand, and you haven’t the ability to control yourself. But you can pick up the scraps. After all, they’re good scraps.”
Somewhere I adopted the belief that putting off the natural man meant meeting an arbitrary standard of a woman of God. I thought I needed to be calm, soft-spoken, and bend myself in every direction to avoid ruffling a feather.
Refuting Individual Worth
When I prayed, I immediately listed off my perceived failings, confessed my sins, promised to try harder, and then pulled out my Never-Good-Enough mace and gave myself a sound beating.
Despite best efforts, I was never successful at achieving the fictional ideal. I am a high-energy-deep-feeling-empath. There is nothing calm, soft-spoken, or malleable about me.
My calm is intense. Every emotion and thought consumes my body. It all starts in my heart, extends to my extremities, and finally makes it to my brain to follow my “Is This Rational” protocol. I flail my arms around when I speak, sometimes acting out what I am trying to say. I get so excited to contribute to conversations that I have to clench my jaw as not to interrupt or monopolize. I see red when I hear a soft-peddled approach to teaching Truth. Every atom of my being is devoted to anything I deem worth my time.
Learning of Jesus Christ’s Love
Several months ago, my friend reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” followed by the first part of verse eight, “Be not thou therefore ashamed.” As I read, I began to consider the possibility of being powerful rather than being too much, passionate rather than lacking discipline.
My mind rapidly flipped through recently read verses and stopped on 2 Nephi 26:28, “Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”
Notice there is no mention of personality types, demographics, intellectual capacity, physical attractiveness, or family history.
Simply, “All men . . . and none are forbidden.”
Furthermore, Romans 8:39 leaves no doubt of His unchanging, unconditional tenderness towards us, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Receiving His Love
I began to feel Jesus Christ’s love surround me in ways I had previously resisted. I stopped trying to convince Him and my Father in Heaven that they had made a mistake when creating me.
Slowly, yet not entirely, the stories of Not Enough and Too Much have weakened.
Jesus Christ does not want me or you to be someone else. He already has that someone else and what a beautiful someone else they are.
He wants us: the only you and the only me He ever made.
Pray. Ask Him if He loves you and what He loves about you. He will answer.