“Define yourself radically as one beloved by god. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
How often do we define ourselves by things that really don’t matter? Grades. Athletic ability. Weight. Number of friends. “Likes” on a social media post. Hours spent at the gym. Money made. A career. A car.
I’m guilty of putting too much value in basically all of these things (minus athletic ability, because I have accepted that I have none). But in the end, do any of these things really matter? Sure, it’s great to get good grades, but behind the grade is the value of hard-work. And yes, it’d be nice to have a good number of friends, but behind that is the value of kindness, vulnerability, and the ability to connect.
So what if we stopped defining ourselves by these surface level numbers and started defining ourselves by the underlying values. Sounds easy enough, right? Eh.
Why should we define ourselves as “beloved”? This is something I’ve struggled with immensely in the past few years. It’s always felt like a very entitled word to me; like something you have to earn or something you feel that you deserve. But guess what, that’s not true (thank God!). So now that we’ve established what ‘beloved’ is NOT, let’s talk more about what it actually means to be beloved.
[Beloved]: dearly loved, precious, adored, cherished, treasured, prized, esteemed, worthy of love, favored, chosen. (Note that none of those words say “earned”).
I was asked which of these words stood out the most to me. I cringed as I said “worthy of love”. Again, “worthy” feels so entitled and greedy. Who am I to be worthy of anything? I had a very hard time with feeling worthy, so I was told to think of a friend instead. Here’s a little snippet of how that conversation went down:
M: Would you say your friend deserves to feel loved?
B: Of course!
M: Why? Why does she deserve to feel loved?
B: I don’t know. Because she’s a person… (oh.)
Boom. All I could say was "oh...oh. ohhhhhhh" while a cloud of clarity came down on me. “She deserves to feel beloved because she’s a person. Because she is a person, she IS beloved.” That’s it. Plain and simple. No other identity matters. Every other identity is something that is conditional and fleeting. There are no conditions on being beloved. There’s nothing you can do to earn it and it is everlasting.
So next time you step on that scale, or check your Instagram for likes, or get that test score back, remember that you are so much more than these things. You are beloved, which is “a word indicating an action on the part of the one doing the loving. The God of the universe has chosen to love us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Our role in this is to be-loved.”