One of the hardest battles I have ever had to fight has been accepting that I am unconditionally loved.
Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain.
I grew up learning that God was this untouchable power in the sky who ruled over all and watched our every move, and that our actions were judged and would determine whether or not we made it to Heaven. In my 19 years of life, I have made some really, REALLY terrible mistakes and because of the way I viewed God, I turned and ran as fast as I could. There was no way He still wanted me after all I had done... No way He would ever have any use for me now, right? I completely rejected the idea that He could possibly forgive me and still want me as His own and it destroyed the way I viewed myself. It became what seemed to be a never-ending cycle of trying to fill the enormous voids in my heart with alcohol and sex and then hating myself even more because I felt like I was disappointing God more and more every day. I allowed the enemy to fill my head with the lies that I was disgusting, I was a disgrace and useless to God, I was unworthy of His love and His grace. I allowed people to treat me like I was worthless, to walk in and out of my life as they pleased, to use me for what they wanted and leave, to make no effort to show that they cared at all while I gave them everything I had. Not just men but friends, family, everyone. I have always accepted much less than I deserve from people because I never truly knew that I deserved better. I took whatever I could get.
It wasn't until recently that I began understanding God's unconditional love and not just understanding it but WALKING in it. He broke down my walls and has poured out an abundant amount of love in recent months. Through song, through scripture, through His words, and through those little moments each day that I know He creates to romance my heart. Lysa TerKeurst puts it so well in her book Uninvited, "Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love." Once you feel, accept and receive UNCONDITIONAL love from a Savior who loved you enough to take your sins and die a brutal death at the cross before you even came into existence, it is so much easier to walk with your head held high daily, knowing that you are worthy of only the very best. I made a promise to Jesus and to myself to never again settle for less than I deserve from ANYONE. Why? Because I am loved. Fiercely, unconditionally, relentlessly. I am loved.