My entire life changed the day I could say these words and mean them: “Love is a birthright I deserve not a prize I earn.” Being adopted, I felt like I had to “be” a great kid to “win” my parents’ love and acceptance. While I knew they chose to adopt me, I still felt obligated to prove their love was a good investment.
Adopted people aren’t the only ones who feel they must earn love from people. Every day you encounter people who are seeking the love and approval from others to validate the love they feel for themselves. They spend hours on social media for “likes” and late nights at clubs for passive companionship. They find it hard to spend time alone, because they need to be appreciated to feel valuable. We date these people. We are these people. Yet, we wonder why our relationships don’t work.
“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.” ― Brene Brown
I was so busy trying to earn love from people that I couldn’t see the love I deserved around and within me. It wasn’t until a moment where I hit rock bottom that I was face-to-face with my true self. Either I was going to embrace that I was too broke, obese, jobless, and single to find love or I was going to accept that nothing society told me to value changed my worthiness to be loved.
This is the challenge we face: to accept we are loved or work to be loved. If you struggle to find and sustain true self-love this is for you. You are worthy of the love you seek. It’s your birthright.
The Reason You Are Loved
“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” ―Ephesians 2:10
During my senior year in high school, I had an opportunity to do a foreign exchange program in Germany. My host mother was a single British lab assistant who moved to Witten, Germany with her two boys. While the oldest son was doing a foreign exchange in the U.S., I was occupying his room in the third-floor apartment.
Since the family already had plans to go on their annual trip to Italy, I went along for the vacation I’ll never forget. We drove into Italy and arrived at a resort off of the Mediterranean Sea. While I have many fond memories, the most remarkable is the feeling I got while waiting for my first Italian pizza. There I was standing on the beach facing this Italian pizza stand with an authentic brick oven. After ordering my pizza, my host brother tapped me on my back and said, “Look at that!”
I looked over my shoulder, and there was the most breathtaking sunset I had ever seen. My German was still too weak to say anything profound, so I joined him in silence as we stood there in awe.
Thinking back to that moment, I am reminded of David’s psalm that “the heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). There were no words needed to understand how great the artistry of God was. God is the Master Creator, the Chief Designer of all things.
As a teenager, I could only comprehend that the greatest thing present at that moment was the sunset happening before my eyes. I had no understanding of the greatness within myself. I couldn’t fathom that the greatest masterpiece of creation would be me.
The reaction I was having with that sunset God wanted me to have with myself. In fact, Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art].” We are God’s masterpiece. Out of all of the creations of God, we are the crowning achievement.
The Simple Truth
The reason you are loved is that you are intentional. I was adopted, but I was intentional. You may have been born out of wedlock, but you were born on purpose. Your parents may call you an accident, but you were born with an assignment.
You are a masterpiece. You are like a perfect piece of art, a melody with just the right rhythm. When you look at yourself, you may not see perfection. Do you see mistakes and flaws when you look in your mirror? Do you see things that need changing? What about being God’s masterpiece?
You are looking at your past and present and asking, “What’s so special about me?” Your Creator knows all of you and still loves you and calls you a masterpiece. It’s okay to be a work in progress, as long as you know that progress is leading to perfection. It’s not going to happen overnight. But this love journey is tapping you on your back so you can turn and become breathless at the true masterpiece you are.