“We are the beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, ‘You are my beloved.’” ~Henri Nouwen

I started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan for my “book-of-the-month.” Love seemed appropriate for February and I’d enjoyed reading the book years ago. But when Chan talked about “surrendering yourself totally to God’s purposes,” “lov[ing] others so much that we go to extremes to help them,” and “[Jesus] command[ing] everything from His followers,” I changed my mind.

These are biblical and excellent truths, however they felt like exhausting and undesirable challenges. I realized quickly that to do them organically and joyfully (I John 5:3) was dependent upon something that’s felt foreign recently.

My Belovedness.

The word beloved means “dearly loved” or “a much-loved person.” Although I know abstractly that God loves me, I’m always vacillating between believing I’m dearly loved by God, and not. And unfortunately, my default and yours is,


The things God calls us to, believing in Jesus more deeply (John 6:29), knowing and trusting His love (I John 4:16), out of that love, clothing ourselves with kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12), etc., feels inviting when we’re doing them rooted in our Belovedness. Conversely, if a book, sermon, Bible verse, or person makes us feel condemned, that’s rooted in our efforts and abilities (Romans 8:1).

Perhaps I’ll read Crazy Love next month, but for now I’m settling into the sweetness of Henri Nouwen’s, Life of the Beloved. Because order matters. Before Jesus performed any miracles, chose his disciples, or taught any sermons – He received His Belovedness (Matthew 3:16). Knowing the depth of His Father’s acceptance and approval for him before He had done anything equipped and emboldened Him powerfully and beautifully. That’s what unconditional love always does (Ephesians 3:16-21).