What do we do when we know biblical truth like “god loves me” but we don’t feel God’s love in our heart? This week is part two of how to address any hidden unbelief we have about God’s love for us (be sure to listen to part one).
In this week’s episode, we’ll be breaking down specific action steps you can take to challenge these thoughts and replace them with God’s truth so that you can begin to feel the freedom, peace, and joy that comes with the knowledge of God’s unwavering love.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [04:36] Action step #1 to know God’s love: Practice awareness of God’s presence
- [09:33] Action step #2 to know God’s love: Commit to regularly spending time with God
- [11:44] Action step #3 to know God’s love: Process pain and disappointment
- [18:13] Action step #4 to know God’s love: Embrace radical acceptance of God’s love
- [19:24] Powerful questions to better understand how much God loves you
- [24:06] Action step #5 to know God’s love: Employ self-discipline and perseverance
[04:36] Action step #1 to know God’s love: Practice awareness of God’s presence
How can we know truths like “God loves me” in our head and in our heart? One thing we can do is to practice slowing down enough to pay attention to God in order to be aware of His character. This is such an important concept that overflows into all parts of our spiritual life and especially in this concept of God's love.
Understanding God's love and feeling loved by God is the fruit of being in a close relationship with God. If we have had any break in that fellowship, or we don't believe that God is with us or don't even notice how he's showing up, how are we supposed to be able to believe that he loves us?
[09:33] Action step #2 to know God’s love: Commit to regularly spending time with God
Another action step we can take is to make a commitment to spending time with the Lord. I’m not talking about just checking the box of a Bible study, but truly sitting at his feet and soaking in His Word and presence. This awareness is how we can receive His love.
For example, think about the steps someone would take as they create a meal. So often the meals that have deep flavors and complexity are made with foods that have been marinated or cooked at low temperatures for a longer period of time. I really think about how our daily, consistent time with the Lord is similar to this, as we can create these habits and spaces that allow us to slowly simmer in His word and for Him to work on us, speak to us, and speak His love to us.
Practicing stillness is a great way to create a space for consistent time with the Lord. A Bible study like I Am Loved is a great resource for that because you're taking God's word, and you're not just rushing through it checking a box, but instead you're letting it absorb. There's very specific steps in the I Am Loved study that help you absorb and apply God's truth, and lets you just be still and listen to the evidence that God is around you and loves you.
Question to reflect on:
- How can you make a commitment to spend some time just simmering with the Lord?
[11:44] Action step #3 to know God’s love: Process pain and disappointment
Another way that we can take action on overcoming the dissonance between our believing in the truth and actually knowing the truth about God loving us is practicing surrender. Some of us are blocking our own ability to receive God's love because we're really angry at him, we’ve felt let down by the outcome of something, or we’ve experienced a great tragedy.
In fact, many of the women that I work with in the Christian Mindset Makeover discover that they unknowingly have issues with God that they need to work through because they've let these emotions build up. We let those frustrations slowly chip away at our perception of how we define God and his love.
Part of that process of overcoming this dissonance is coming to the understanding that we have two choices when we face this kind of pain or disappointment: We can either keep holding on to the pain and keep “drinking the poison,” or we can let go of that pain and surrender it. It takes a lot of courage to let go of pain and surrender it as it can feel more comfortable to be angry because we understand the emotion. When we choose to let go of it and surrender despite our lack of understanding, we stop allowing it to keep us from connecting with the Lord. Once we do this, then we find that we sleep a little easier and it makes it easier to hear God's voice again and believe in His promises.
[18:13] Action step #4 to know God’s love: Embrace radical acceptance of God’s love
A practice that comes along with surrender is radical acceptance of God's love. Radical acceptance means choosing to acknowledge what is going on right now as your reality, accepting what you can change and what you can't change.
What if we applied the concept of radical acceptance to God's love? Sometimes we need to get off the fence and decide to believe the truth about who we are in Christ and stop doubting the validity of what the Bible has to say about it. The practice of radical acceptance includes stopping the habit of asking “what if it's not true?” and just embracing the unchangeable reality that God loves us.
Note, we’re not saying we should “just accept” things flippantly or that we should deny pain, disappointment or doubt. However, once we have processed these emotions there comes a moment when we must decide what we will do with the feelings we’ve discovered. We must decide if we will choose to accept God’s love and forgiveness and move on… or not. This is the crossroads of radical acceptance.
[19:24] Powerful questions to better understand how much God loves you
There are many verses about God’s love that we cover in the I Am Loved Bible Study, and Romans 8:35-39 is one of them. This verse reminds us that there is nothing that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.
Questions for reflection:
- If nothing can separate us from God, if this is God's truth that even the powers of hell can't separate us from God, then what would be keeping us from understanding God's love?
- What if it's us, because we have not accepted the truth about who we are about how much he loves us?
- What if you could begin to believe just a little bit that you are loved and cared for and could begin to use that as a lens to view your circumstance and world?
[24:06] Action step #5 to know God’s love: Employ self-discipline and perseverance
Finally, in order to grow in our understanding of how much God loves us (feeling God’s love in our head and in our heart) we also need to consider self-discipline and perseverance. How can discipline be a help in growing in God’s love? It is extremely helpful to have an ongoing discipline of paying attention to our thoughts and of confronting the false truths in our minds. In addition, the regular habit of connecting daily with God through Bible study, prayer and meditation allows our minds to stay centered on essential faith truths such as how much God loves us.
It’s kind of like the daily cleaning of a room. When we keep up on daily cleaning then weekly cleaning doesn’t become such a chore. Likewise, when we pay attention to any obstacles that may have formed to keep us from fully trusting in God's love and regularly fill our minds with truth, then it’s easier to recognize truth from lies and to stay strong in knowing in our hearts and our heads that we are loved by God.
Radical acceptance of the truth of who we are in the love of Christ comes when we begin to incorporate this discipline, when we take baby steps and add in the truth every day, being honest with him and seeking out his word. Again, getting involved in a Bible study on love like I Am Loved will help reinforce this daily discipline of spending time in his word.
It may sound simplistic to think that discipline and perseverance can cement core concepts like “God loves you” in our minds, but all thought-change and even physical body change happens in the little everyday moments.
Ready to dive deeper into God’s love for you (and to cultivate the power of daily time processing and applying biblical truth)? Then I highly recommend the I Am Loved study here.
As always, follow me on Instagram and let’s connect around this topic this week.
OTHER EPISODES ON KNOWING GOD’S LOVE:
NEXT STEPS: Grow Closer to God and Learn to Hear His Loving Voice as You Study about God's Love in the “I Am Loved” Bible Study Course
Are you walking through a difficult season and really need to know that God is with you and that He loves you?
“How have you learned what love is and how to receive love?”
There are 4 weeks of daily homework sheets, weekly devotionals, plus powerful coaching questions—all inside a beautiful full-color Bible study magazine.
PLUS the “I Am Loved Study” also includes access to weekly video teaching sessions from me to help you understand and apply what you’re learning. This is an ON-DEMAND study, meaning you can start it just when you need it.
Experience confident joy as God's love renews your mind
Find peace as God's love helps you release worry and fear
Rediscover hope as God's love offers a new perspective on life's trials
Don’t let another day go by without experiencing the peace, confidence + joy that comes from knowing (in your head and your heart!) that you are loved by God!
Join us now for this life-changing Bible study on God's love!