We all have what I call a “God-shaped” hole in our lives. We try to fill this void with many things–work, marriage, children, personal achievements, possessions–or any number of things that give us a sense of self-worth or fulfillment. If we can’t find that fulfillment, we feel the pain of the unfilled void and may try to numb that pain with bad relationships, alcohol, prescription pain or anxiety medicine, online addictions, or other things that are not good for us. Bad decisions may create havoc in our lives, or we may just have an overall feeling of sadness and unfulfillment that follows us through every season of our lives.
I tried to fill this void by being perfect at everything. My perfectionism brought me no closer to a good sense of self-worth, but instead filled me with anxiety and depression. Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic pain brought me to my knees, and I realized my complete inadequacy in myself. God used these difficult circumstances and pain to draw me closer to Him, to help me realize my emptiness, and to reveal His unconditional love to me.
Do you recognize yourself in these lines? Our stories might look different, but our need for God’s love remains the same. Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves to find the God that wants to show us our true value in His eyes. He loves us, imperfections and all. I know this because He said in the Bible:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)
God declares us valuable, and proved it when He sent His Son Jesus to earth in bodily form two thousand years ago. When He lived on earth Jesus taught about God’s love and kingdom to the people in that day, but most rejected Him because He didn’t fit their idea of God. They thought He should come as a King, but He came as a carpenter. They thought He should only associate with religious people, but He ate with prostitutes, thieves, and other unlikely people. The people ultimately rejected and killed Him.
The Bible says that when Jesus died all of our sins (wrong-doings) were actually placed on Him. (1 Peter 2:24) He lived a perfect life, didn’t deserve to die, but did die for our sins. He took all of our guilt and shame on Himself when He died. Why would He do that? It must have been love. (Romans 5:8) There is no other reason someone would die for someone else.
Why did Jesus need to die for us? Because God loves us, and He wants to have a relationship with us. But He is perfect, and we are not. Our sin habits and wrong-doings keep us from being able to come before a perfect God. Jesus came to earth for the express purpose of dying for our sins so we can have a relationship with Him. (Romans 4:25) Jesus took our sins from us, and the Bible says that we now are “clothed” in His perfection. (Isaiah 61:10) It is as if we took off filthy rags and put on a pure white robe, except that it happens, not just with our outer appearance, but in our heart. Now we are able to come before the God who loves us.
Having a relationship with Him starts with realizing our need, turning from our old life and sin habits, and following Him with our heart and actions. The Bible says that we must believe in our hearts and speak with our mouths that Jesus is the only way to God and that we want Him to be our God. (Romans 10:9-10) Speaking with God is just like talking to your best friend.
God invites you to come into a relationship with Him–a relationship that can mirror a “best friend” relationship. But He also wants to be your Lord, meaning that you let Him do the leading. That may be hard to imagine, but He has given us a road map to follow–the Bible. The Bible is a love letter to us from God. It shows us who He is, who we are, where we have come from, and where we can go with Him. If we read it every day, we will find His promises and hope that will guide us through our lives.
All you need to do to enter into a relationship with Him is pray (speak) to Him and ask Him to come into your life. Ask Him to forgive your sins, and tell Him that you want Him to do the leading in your life. Once you have done that, He promises to never leave you. (Hebrews 13:5) He becomes responsible for your life. He will take care of you and provide for you just like He provides for the birds of the air. (Matthew 6:25-34)
If you have prayed a prayer like the one above, you are now His child, whether or not you actually “feel” any different. (Romans 8:15-16) I would like to encourage you to find a church where you can learn more about Him and where you can find friends who will encourage you in your new life with God. Get a Bible and read it every day. Start in the New Testament and read about Jesus’s life and message to us. Write down the things that give you an “aha” moment. When you do this, God will begin to show you important things for your life. You will be amazed when you look back over the things you have written and see how God has been speaking to you.
God loves you and wants to be, not only your Savior, but also your best friend. You will never have to walk alone in this life again. You can bring every fear, disappointment, and need to Him. He says in the Bible that you can “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV) Be encouraged, my friend, because He is with you and will provide for you. Take life one day at a time and watch as He provides for you in ways you could never imagine.