I am Accepted!

Words of Grace 

(This morning begins a simple and important series of posts that will offer words of encouragement to begin the week.  The weeks of the holidays and winter can be discouraging, even depressing, as we struggle to find the joy.   We all seem to have negative words stuck in our heads, telling us lies about ourselves.  These “Words of Grace” will be for believers, those who have come to God through faith in Jesus.  Watch for these posts each Monday.  I hope you are lifted up!)

 

When identity is based on performance, you can never do enough.  When identity is based on appearance or talent, you can never be good enough.  The most successful people often feel as though they lack something to be accepted.  The most beautiful people or popular people think of their flaws.  So how could the rest of us have any hope?

We strive not so much to better ourselves, but to feel better about ourselves.  Perhaps because of the way we were raised, perhaps because of the competitive world into which we were thrust, or perhaps because of the betrayal and rejection we have experienced—we can find it very hard to believe that we are finally accepted.  The negative words ring in our ears.

Where do you go to find acceptance, real acceptance that settles the matter in your heart?  To work?  To your family?  To your friends?  We want to be accepted in all those groups; but, even if we are, we can still feel that something is lacking.  There is only one opinion that brings the satisfaction and closure we need.

So many go to church on Sunday and hear all about what they have done wrong.  They come away believing that God does not accept them, that they will never be good enough.  Their sin and weakness lie heavy on their hearts, made even heavier by the preacher’s words.  Surely acceptance is not to be found with God, they think.

But the good news is that we are accepted!  One of the basic definitions of grace is to make someone or something accepted, to accept someone.  God accepts you!  When your identity is based on His love, you are finally good enough.

We have learned through experience that love is not quite the same as acceptance, so we might believe God loves us and still doubt that He accepts us.  We have learned that He has saved us, but we have been taught that He does so in spite of His feelings about us.  Some people think that God will tolerate them because of Jesus.  They believe that they are “dirty rotten sinners” in His sight and that He must look at Jesus to receive them into His presence.  But the truth is that God accepts you and me, as individuals, because of Jesus.

Paul understood.  He said:

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) 

“He has made us accepted.”  Notice that it does not say He will accept us.  Nor does it say He has made us acceptable.  He has made us accepted.  It’s a done deal.  It doesn’t even say that He accepts us.  That would feel weaker to us.  Yes, God accepts us, but that’s because He has to, we might think.  No, He has made us accepted.  His grace has been sufficient in us.

This is a big deal!  You can stop trying to measure up.  You can stop striving to find acceptance in the world around you.  Whether it is the negative voices that come from your past, the rejection of a loved one or friend, or the fear of failure in spiritual things—the decision has been made.  You are accepted.  You are good enough.

So, through this week, tell yourself the truth:

I am accepted.

I am good enough.

God has said it.

All because of Jesus.

I am accepted.

It is finished.

28 Comments

Filed under Words of Grace

28 responses to “I am Accepted!

  1. SM

    Praise the Lord and God bless you Pastor Dave for this.

  2. Rox

    This piece warms the heart and helps us to accept ourselves. In a world where we’re often judged, abused, dismantled, and discarded, it feels wonderful to know that the most vital entity in the universe thinks each of us is someone pretty special.

  3. I wish I could maintain this belief. Once, I knew it. But it is the very thing that the enemy keeps working to convince me against, and people are so good at helping him! Why do I care so much about the opinions of others? Why does the neglect of someone whom I gave so much of myself to communicate to me that God doesn’t really accept me? I want to believe this again, all the time, but I let myself believe people, and they just keep slapping me down. I cling to God, I get bold enough to be vulnerable again, to offer myself to another person who seems to be hurting or in need, or to whom I believe I must offer forgiveness and try again. And the same result, over and over again. I want to “learn my lesson,” as if somehow I can stop venturing out in love and that will make me secure in my confidence that God loves me, because I won’t keep getting hurt by people, but that isn’t the answer either. I just need the confidence I once had in HIS perseverance, before I let the people get me down. I can’t get this turned back right side up to stay.

    • Rox

      Repol, I understand what you’re saying, because I felt the same way. We put ourselves out there, and we feel we keep getting the short end of the stick. I took this concern to my spiritual director, who reminded me that God’s ways are not the ways of people. People may hurt and take advantage of us, whether they mean to or not, but God will never hurt us. He’s there for us, even in the pain. He hurts, too, when others hurt us. And, like a good parent, He lets us cry on His shoulder, dusts us off when we’re ready, and sends is back out into the game. It really is pretty empowering knowing that the most incredible being in the universe has our backs. And he does. I hope knowing that he’s behind you 100% helps stoke your confidence, because He really does want you to be successful and happy. I guarantee it.

      • Thank you, Rox. Yes. I need to hear that over and over again, and it does help. It also helps to say it to others who are struggling. I realize that I believe it when I want them to believe it. I can believe it FOR someone else more readily than I can believe it for myself. Thank you for helping me hold on to what I know is true, even if my feelings deceive me about that truth–and they do, so often!

      • Rox

        Repol, you’re so right. It is easier for us to believe for others the good that God wants for them, because we’re more able to observe and to be objective when we’re advising someone else. We feel good because we can help someone else get a clearer perspective by seeing the situation through our eyes Then, when the bad feelings return to haunt us, we start to get discouraged again. St. Ignatius of Loyola advised during the dark times not to doubt when we are in desolation those things we knew to be true in consolation, such as God’s incredible love for us. It might help to think of God’s love as we think of gravity; feelings come and go, lift us up and hurl us down, yet we always believe that gravity will hold us steady on the planet. God’s love for and acceptance of us is much stronger than gravity. That way, when our fickle feelings start toying with our thoughts (as they do for everyone), we can hang on to the one truth that never wavers– God’s steadfast desire to be there for us, no matter what. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this when we’re feeling down. Yet, feelings and frets come and go . . . and God stays. I hope that helps, Repol. The Jesuits with whom I work remind me of this every day, because many of us forget it, when the world starts to get to us. But God never forgets about us. There’s a lot of comfort in that, isn’t there?

    • Fellow Survivor

      Repol, I know how you feel.
      This link has a lot of good information and its a fun read. Repol, go to the bottom of the attached post and read the last paragraph and the poem then tell me what you think.

      • Fellow Survivor,

        A couple weeks ago I blocked another link to the site you bring up. I have some more studying to do, but I have real concerns about the ministry you referenced. While Sister Renee has some insights into narcissism, her definition of the gospel and the way of forgiveness may confuse those who are trying to understand the message of grace. Basically, the site suggests that forgiveness is only possible based on a change of behavior, even God’s forgiveness. I believe that condemns all of us, since the infection of sin has completely overtaken our flesh. The Scripture acknowledges that believers often act out of the flesh, even though we are called to live out of the Spirit. If we do still act according to the flesh, then our behavior will often be seen as inconsistent with the will of God. If our forgiveness is contingent on our perfect behavior, we are in real trouble. This is the core of a gospel of works, which is in contrast to the message of grace.

        So, I have removed the link from your comment. Those who want to investigate that ministry will find it easily through Google, but I don’t want the link here. I hope you understand. Your comments here are always welcome, as you know. I just have to think of the whole message of this blog. However, the poem is not the property of that ministry and it is a fun read. So I have copied it from another blog and reproduce it here:

        I am a soldier in the in the army of my God.
        The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
        The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
        Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

        I have been taught by the Holy Spirit
        Trained by experience,
        Tried by adversity and tested by fire.

        I am a volunteer in this Army,
        And I am enlisted for eternity.
        I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out.
        I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.
        If my God needs me, I am there.

        I am not a baby.
        I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up,
        Pumped up, picked up, or pepped up.

        I am a soldier.
        I am not a wimp.
        I am in place, Saluting my King,
        Obeying His orders, Praising His name,
        And building His kingdom!

        No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards or, candy.
        I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.
        I am committed.

        I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
        I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.
        I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

        When Jesus called me into His Army, I had nothing.
        If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead. I will win.

        My God has and will continue to supply all of my needs.

        I am more than a conqueror.
        I will always triumph.
        I can do all things through Christ.

        Devils cannot defeat me.
        People cannot disillusion me.
        Weather cannot weary me.
        Sickness cannot stop me.
        Battles cannot beat me.
        Money cannot buy me.
        Governments cannot silence me.
        And Hell cannot handle me.
        I am a soldier.

        Even death cannot destroy me.
        For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield

        He will promote me to Captain
        And then allow me to rule with Him.
        I am a soldier in the Army,
        And I’m claiming victory.

        I will not give up.
        I will not turn around.
        I am a soldier,
        Marching Heaven bound.

        – Soldier in the Army of God, by B.J. Morbitzer

      • Fellow Survivor

        Thanks Dave. I also picked up on some of her “works based” philosophy. The main thing I wanted to share is the poem. So thanks for passing that along. I actually printed the post and cut the Poem out which I will attach to my refrigerator.

      • Fellow Survivor

        Repol, you are my soul sister. 10 years ago I wrote and challenged a patent. I went back and forth with the patent office and was winning. But then the ex started to wear on my soul. That was really the turning point for me. She didn’t even want to look at this work I was so proud of. I was so co-dependent that I must have thought, ” if she doesn’t care about it, why should I?” So I put it in my desk and never looked at it again.

        Now, today, I am a 53 year old guy with an MBA, but still need some spark just to get motivated to do anything. Yesterday, I put my mud soaked golf clubs in a bucket of water to soak and clean, something I have needed to do for over a year. But yesterday, I DID IT. Now that is progress.

        I need to find the guy that wrote the patent and you need to find the lady that wrote the book.

    • Repol,

      Victory comes when you understand that you don’t have to believe it for it to be true. Our faith ebbs and flows, but His acceptance of us does not waver. Our feelings are so open to manipulation that even music can make us sad or afraid. I am very thankful that truth is not based on my feelings.

      So what you want to do is separate the feelings from the fact. We want to be immune from the hurt others cause and the doubts they push on us, but that takes growth and time. But, while we grow and our feelings are confused, His truth stands strong. Others can discourage us, hurt us, abuse us, even deceive us – but He still accepts us. The fact remains. It is always there waiting for our return.

      • Yes. Yes. Yes. This is so true. My thoughts are deceptive. But God is greater than my heart.
        Thank you, Pastor Dave.

      • Thank you, Fellow Survivor and Pastor Dave, for copying in that poem. I have to remind myself that I am a soldier, and that we are in a battle, all the time. I don’t feel like a soldier. I feel like a frightened little girl most of the time (which is funny, given the birthday that I’ll be facing this very weekend). And yet, about 10 years ago, I wrote a kids’ book on the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6. Though it didn’t push the “you ARE a soldier” thing too much, it certainly did tie in with the application of all the armor and the symbolism for living in this life.
        Sigh.
        Who was she, the woman who wrote that book, who had so much confidence, who felt so SAFE in God’s grasp? An emotional breakdown really does undo a person’s personhood.

    • Renay

      Repol,
      Sometimes I am so focused (obsessed is more like it) on the pain one person brought to my life. I wish I could take the “forget about him” advice people are so quick to hand out. I have NO idea how one person, who I knew for one year, could have that much power over my feelings. I am so angry at myself for being depressed over someone who lied and manipulated me. I know him discarding me was the only decent thing he did for me, but I am still struggling. On good days I am reminded of how many blessings I have in my life. I am very fortunate. I have no doubt God wants me to be happy and loved. I am! I can’t forget that because one person didn’t love me. He’s not deserving of my love. God went to great lengths to prove that to me. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. When you see evil first hand, it’s hard to shake and believe in people.
      Obviously I have no answer since I’m babbling. Just know you have support and stay strong.

      • I know, Renay. Are you, by any chance, an idealist in personality? I am, and so I wonder if that contributes to my “obsessive thoughts” about the pain I’ve felt from others–why I can’t just shake the dust off my feet and move on, like some people can. I am dangerously (to myself) idealistic, so when bad stuff happens, it knocks me for a loop. I just cannot grasp how others do painful, thoughtless, hurtful things to people, and I dwell on it too long. (I have been in some counseling and I am seeking more to help me with this issue, and with depression and anxiety and coping with hardship better.)
        This group helps me so much. I appreciate all of you, and Pastor Dave’s insights.
        One day at a time…

      • UnForsaken

        Renay and Repol, I know these feelings, and sometimes I find them returning when I thought I’d gotten through them with time. It does take time, but it also takes my forgiving myself. It’s often physical weakness that brings it on–forgeting something really important to me, being too tired to see someone else’s needes, fuzzing over and calling a long-time friend by someone Else’s Name…… my list of mistakes go on a long way . But when I begin to doubtmy strength– and almost everything else–that’s when I begin to feel His. When I am weak, He is strong ? I’m looking forward to Dave’s new Monday articals , because it’s so hard to remember ” you are valued” amongst all this! You are both very special and I can see God working in your lives reading your posts! He is the one who made us His soldiers , and we Are following Him. Blessings on your way!

  4. prairiemom

    Awesome! Just the spiritual sunshine our family needs this week. I will read this during our Advent time tomorrow night. This totally resonates with me and is also just what our oldest son needs to hear, as I think he is struggling with God’s acceptance (fourteen is a hard age). Thank you. .

  5. SM

    Love. That is what He is about and that is what life should be about. I think that us who have been traumatized by a relationship have a real hard time completely understanding love. We view it as the need to love others alone, the need to receive it from them to validate us while completely forgetting about that we need to love ourselves as well.This really needs to be done first for if we do not love ourselves we can not give love to someone else. How can you offer someone a chocolate when your box does not posses any? Of course it cant be done excessively like the ones who have hurt us do but it still needs to be there. Its ok to have needs and have them met. Its essential to us bearing the fruits that need to be cultivated and harvested. Love yourself too, fertilize the ground on which to plant the seeds to give to others. Its ok.

    • UnForsaken

      Special , SM! Is this like our “cup running over” ? People don’t make excuses for spending time alone unless it’s for devotions or doing the wash, but it’s one of the only ways I know to stay in touch with what God is saying to me . Silence must scare people, or the fact they don’t feel comfortable with themselves. ( I speak from experience here.) It took me years to realize my own heart and stay true to the convictions God had placed there, but you state it perfectly. It Is O.K. !

    • SM, I’ve been thinking for most of two days about your comment.
      I do feel like I am supposed to love others.
      I do expect that those others should love me in return when I do love them.
      When they don’t love me, I assume there must be something irreparably wrong with me, and I feel rejected–hopelessly rejected.
      You are right that I have expected to give love to others and to get love from others. I have not ever been able to consider that any love I receive comes from myself.
      What is appropriate self-love? We are taught to be selfless, but another friend, a few months ago, (she is a young adult, post-college age, who grew up in a home with an N father who never physically but constantly emotionally abused his wife, her mother) said something similar to me, about me. She said that I had “erased myself” in this life, and that, in order to have a self to be giving with, I had to HAVE a SELF. One must have a self to give to others, and one must nurture and nourish one’s own self to a certain extent.

      By the testimony of two or three witnesses, a matter is established. So I am listening. I just don’t know exactly what it looks like to appropriately love oneself, or how to actually receive that love from oneself. This is truly a mystery to me.

      • SM

        I know its hard Repol, I am just in the embryonic stages of understanding it as well. I think a lot of it has to do with boundaries. Setting them doesn’t necessarily mean you are selfish, just protecting what is yours from being hijacked. Normal people will respect and accept them and even you more as well for it, but N’s on the other hand will not. Saying ‘no’ sometimes is not a bad thing, its actually a great test to see how someone will react so you can help tell what kind of person they really are.

  6. Renay

    Repol,
    I have never thought of myself as idealistic. I am a bossy virgo though. I’ve just always worn rose colored glasses, or a more blunt way of putting it, have my head up my ass!
    I just assume people do the right thing. I was very lucky growing up. I was surrounded by good people. I get white lies and little deceptions, we are all guilty of it someway or another. I just can’t wrap my head around total manipulation and lies from the moment you meet someone. I feel like I was hunted or preyed upon because he sensed my weakness. He made me believe we would be in each other’s lives forever. My world literally revolved around someone who turned me into a joke. I have looked in to therapy, but wow, it’s expensive. There is part of me that is so angry because I never went to counseling after my husband of 16 years died, but I need it after knowing this monster for a year. I almost feel guilty, like it’s disrespectful to my husband. I must sound so weird!
    Unforsaken, I am also looking forward to the the Monday posts. I think my biggest problem is feeling worthless. I know I have to feel my own worth for someone else to value me. How can one person completely strip me of that?
    Thanks for all your kind words as usual!

    • UnForsaken

      Renay, SM, I didn’t mean that I have arrived at that special place of perfect self-acceptance or understanding. Is there such a place? I DO think it is a constant lesson, one to learn in new ways everyday as we get to know our God better. But, it is possible to get out of the natural thinking I had at the beginning, Repol, that to love was to be loved back, etc. I wish I could tell you what the next steps were like, but each of us is So special and different. My place is Not a better place, just different . And I’ll probably have some Big reviews thet look like lost ground. But as we go on journeys of self- esteem and discovery, God has His arms around us,directing us, Loving us ! Y’all know this , and yet I need your words as much today as I ever did. I don’t think it’s because we never learn – another lie we’ve been told. Don’t you think it’s more like God giving us eachother to ” build up the saints”? We Are His saints and our weakness is strength in Him! So, keep looking up ! We were made for His glory , and that is exactly what He sees in us wherever we are in pain.

  7. SM

    Hi Renay,
    The truth of it is you were indeed prey. None of it was real, it was all a scheme to attain supply. I know its harsh, believe me I know, my ‘Christian’ N gf of 4 years left me 1 week after my fathers passing last month when the supply finally ran out and I needed something from her, compassion. She made me feel exactly like you, that it was for real, forever, and I did the same, giving up myself for that dream. But the sooner you come to realize that it WAS NOT YOU, it was them who literally fooled you into the belief that you were loved for one reason only, to get high., the sooner you can start the process of reclaiming the energy that was stolen. I know you feel worthless, so do I, but coming to terms with the fact that it had nothing to do with you other than wanting to believe someone (and that is completely normal) will help you be able to shed your pain slowly. Your energy belongs to you and you alone and to have it stripped to the very core then being thrown away like a paper plate is horrible, its beyond words, but there is good news. He makes ALL things work together for our good. You are not worthless, you are trusting, kind, compassionate, loving, and most of all worthy. You are being perfected and you will get through this just draw near to Him and He will make sure of it.

    • Fellow Survivor

      SM, you speak the truth. Isn’t it common for the N to “leave” you when you need them the most, like when your dad died. She was just to busy to be bothered with something where she was not the “star” of the show i would guess.

      In my story, I made a whole lot more money than she did for a very long time to support our lifestyle. I have been in a family business for the last 17 years and for a long time we would go to Vegas every year, to the Wine Country in CA, East Coast trips, to Miami, Cape Cod, Vail CO. A lot of fun trips all paid for by the business.

      Then, in one fail swoop, we lost our biggest customer and the economy turned very bad for all of our other customers. So my income became less than hers. For the last 5 years she has been demanding that I get more stock in the company or she would divorce me. This was when I was making a lot of money. Then after the economy turned sour she told me to quit and get another job. I would actually like to quit and find something else to do but it is a family business and my 80 year old parents depend on the income from the business for their very survival and my dad is not capable of running the business any longer.

      Right now, I need my wife by my side more than ever. But she is gone. She makes enough money now on her own so she doesn’t need my income. 20, 10, 5, years ago that was not the case. She has no compassion or understanding of what I am going through Non of this makes any sense to a reasonable person. If it was her and her parents I would be right by her side, working through the situation together

    • Renay

      Thank you. I believe with all of my heart that He makes things work for my good. I believe He lead me to the truth before further destruction could take place. I just get so frustrated with the good days/bad days roller coaster and I wonder how I could allow myself to continue thinking about someone who never cared about me for even a moment. I want answers and to put the blame somewhere. I think I obsess because I know there will never be closure or answers. Ugh!! still working through this, obviously.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

  8. Sdm

    Thank you for your post, Pastor Dave. I have never seen that truth before– considering the tense of the word. That is so powerful! “He has made us accepted in the Beloved!” Wow! It’s a done deal that we can rest in every day.

  9. Jenni Moon

    This is like the balm of Gilead a salve to deep deep wounds.

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