Updated: May 21, 2018
To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
I had been watching her from a distance for several months, intrigued. She walked with an air of confidence. She was focused, well spoken, educated and a consummate professional. She had recently started attending my Sunday school class and since day one, had engaged in the group conversation. Weekly, she contributed words of profound insight. I admired her. Even more, I longed for what she possessed.
For quite awhile, the Lord had been working me through lack-of-confidence issues that had plagued me since adolescence. Comparison had long been habit, in all situations and with all people. My take away from each encounter or observation was that, in one way or another, I was not enough. I suffered silently.
This was the case when the lady first came to class. I quickly compared myself to her and concluded I did not even come close to enough. While I introduced myself to her and was friendly, I kept my distance. I was fearful she would realize, and somehow confirm, I was not enough. So I watched her. Intently.
One morning, as she was leaving class, I felt an urgency to talk to her and called her name. She stopped her purposeful stride towards the door and walked back to where I was standing. Her eyes penetrated mine. I regretted stopping her, but I had to know. Although my insides were in knots, I blurted out, “Where do you get your confidence?” Without hesitation, she replied, “I am in the Beloved.” She broke eye contact only long enough to open her Bible. She turned to Ephesians 1:6 and explained that because she was in the Beloved, in Christ, she was adopted and chosen, secure in her salvation, and confident in who she was in Christ. I am certain she said more, but I had stopped listening. One single word was a balm to a tired, weary and battered soul.
Beloved. I knew what it meant, but I hurried home and looked up the definition: dearly loved. Synonyms include adored, cherished, favorite, darling, and treasured. I began my usual reasoning. So, if God considered me dearly loved, adored and treasured, and had adopted me – His actions, nothing I did or even deserved – then I had every reason to be more confident.
Beloved. There are times I struggle with my singleness; I feel unchosen and invisible. The Word of God counters those feelings. John 15:16 states He – the Lord – chose me. According to Ephesians 1:4, He chose me before the foundation of the world! I am His possession (1 Peter 2:9). Even more specific to my singleness, God reveals in Isaiah 54:5 that He, my Maker, is my husband.
Beloved. When I compare myself to the culture’s definition of physical beauty, I will never measure up. I will never be tall or a perfect size 0. The truth is I am made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and all that He makes is very good (Genesis 1:31). (Note to self: notice it says VERY good.) I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). And for those really bad hair days, I can be thankful that while man will look at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Beloved. Back in high school, I listened to someone I thought was a friend. When she told me I wasn’t smart enough to go to college, sadly, I believed her. Not only did I allow her words discourage me from seeking a formal higher education, I applied them to all areas of my life. Even as I found success in my career, I continued to wrestle with feelings of “not smart enough.” However, as a believer, I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and through His Holy Spirit, I possess the revealed wisdom of God (I Corinthians 2:10). The Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6), which is more valuable than any degree or title.
Beloved. I spent decades trying to meet perceived standards and expectations of others. The truth is that the standard of “enough” was redefined the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior.
I am in the Beloved. And oh, how my heart rejoices!