I grew up with the mindset that I had to be absolutely faultless in order for God to love me, and that if I didn’t “obey”, without error and a 100% effort in that perfectionism, that I was unworthy of his love…and let me tell you something, I could not have been more wrong about my relationship with God.
Having children has changed me in so many ways, ways that I never thought were possible, but more than anything I have found that what my children teach me on a daily basis is that not only does God love me, but his love is truly unconditional and all encompassing.
In fact, I consider my children, and what I learn from them, one of the Lord’s tender mercies in teaching me to understand his love for me that I believe I could not have fully understood in any other way.
God knows me better than anyone, and he knows that this feisty stubborn red-head has to learn just about everything hands on, or the hard way, so it never would have really sunk in had I not had my own children to learn this from.
I realized a couple of years ago that my relationship with my children must parallel God’s relationship with me, he is my “eternal parent” after all so there just had to be some similarities in the way that a parent loves a child.
Ever since that realization, I have looked at all the situations that I go through with my kids, having God’s parental relationship to me in mind, and I have not had a single day that I have felt unworthy, unloved, or that I needed to beat myself up constantly about my imperfections, and I’m writing this because I think some of you need to hear some of the things that I have learned too.
My love for my children is unconditional, and God’s love for me is unconditional too.
What exactly does that mean? It means that no matter what my children do or what path they decide to take in life, I will love them with my entire heart, without fail always.
Guess what? My kids mess up ALL THE TIME, every single day at one thing or another and I love them just the same… Without withholding of affection, without questioning whether or not they are worthy of my love, they will receive my love whether they want it or not, it will be waiting for them, and it’s my job everyday to make sure that they will always know that.
Whether my children are making mistakes, or regardless of whether or not I agree with what they are doing, I am here for them, someone they can come to in whatever jam they get themselves into. Yeah, I might get a little upset here and there, but they know that I’m never going to disown them or tell them that they’re terrible. In fact, we frequently talk about how making a bad decision does not make a person bad, it just means that they have some learning to do.
On that note, and taking it into my “Godly parent perspective”, I know that God does not love ME less for being HUMAN, for making mistakes, and for learning from them.
Failure is part of the human experience.
God actually wants me to use my agency that he gave me, he wants me to learn and grow and improve and guess what? Part of learning and growing and improving is trial and error, and when I learn from my experiences I can take a step back, adjust my moral compass, and try harder to get to my goal destination the next day… and God is there for me to be my cheerleader, confidant, and comforter.
I am not a micro-manager as a parent, and neither is God.
My children don’t learn to do things on their own and won’t learn to become healthy, independent adults, if I have to spell every little thing out for them and then get on their cases when they step one toe out of line…
That’s not how parenting works, unless there’s a very unhealthy/controlling relationship going on… so why would I think that God was demanding the same of me? It’s an absolutely absurd notion when you look at it from the Godly parent perspective.
I like to think of it this way, if I’m going on a trip and I set my destination and I accidentally take a wrong turn, do I just call it quits that all is lost and I may as well give up? Heck no! I get back on the road, flip a U-turn and I get back on track…and boy howdy, do I not beat myself up about that wrong turn for years to come either…and in drawing the “parenting parallel” into this analogy, if one of my kids ever gets off track on a future road trip, I’m going to come help them, or send someone in my place…and God does the very same thing.
Now that I understand that. I stopped thinking that all is lost, and was never going to get to my destination, because I screwed up royally one day.
When my kids make a mistake, we talk about just “how big of a deal” that mistake is in the long run (I’m all about analyzing things long term)…Is this mistake going to matter in 100, 10, 5 years or even two days from now? If not, then we know that it’s not that big of a deal and we shouldn’t fuss over it too much. This knowledge has helped me learn to stop beating myself up about my shortcomings, and know that I am still loved and I can try harder to be a little better tomorrow.
Maybe it’s cheesy, but I thought that I would share one of my favorite songs about that just that…
How do I improve my relationship with God?
The same way that I do with my children… I make time for them, I make the relationship a priority, I talk to them frankly about struggles and I do it with love…I know that God approaches me with the same frame of mind.
It’s really that simple, I just have to remember his unconditional love for me and that I can go to him with any of my worries and struggles and he is not only approachable, but he wants to help me through it.
I weep when my kids go through something hard, when I feel like there is nothing that I can do to help them and sometimes all I can do is just be there for them and listen as they process what is happening…and God is there too, just waiting for me to let him help, or to be a listening ear when I need to vent.
Guess what guys? God is one of the best parents in existence… which means that he is forgiving, he is patient, he is loving, he is kind, he praises our best efforts, AND he is not overly critical to the point of being damaging when we do mess up… so we just all need to keep that in mind and cut ourselves a little slack sometimes.
In the end, I want nothing more than for my children to be happy, to have experienced a life full of love, and to be good human beings that help others…everything else is just the details that don’t really matter, and I guarantee that God wants nothing more than the same for me too… even if my path looks differently than someone else’s definition of right.
These are just my two cents on how I learned to see myself through God’s eyes, and the peace that it has brought with it. I hope that if you are struggling to feel worthy of his love, to remember that he loves you the way that a parent should…without question or strings attached.
If you liked this post, make sure to check out my Words Of Encouragement section. I don’t write about super personal stuff very often, but once and a while I sneak a post in there and that is where it gets filed on this site.
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*Keep in mind that I am not a preacher, and will never claim to be one…I’m just an LDS-raised, now Non-denominational Christian mommy that needed to learn to love myself and wanted to share my experience…my opinion is not up for discussion, so if you don’t like what I have to say then this post is not for you.*