One of my favorite scenes from “The Chosen” video series, so far, is the scene where Jesus heals and calls Mary Magdalene. He calls her by name, “Mary,” and speaks the words of Isaiah 43:1 – “But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” Wow. I think I have shed tears of joy every time I have watched that scene. How powerful and wonderful to know that God, the Lord of all, knows my name and claims me! As we celebrated the baptism of Jesus this past weekend, we remembered those words that God spoke over Jesus, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) I also urged you to claim it for yourself, listening for God’s voice to speak, “You are my child, my beloved. With you I am well pleased.”
I need, and have needed, to hear those words throughout my life. I grew up in a household where “average” or “good enough” was never good enough. My sister and I seldom received accolades. But we always knew when our efforts fell short. The two generations before us had grown up in difficult circumstances. They wanted to be sure we could handle what life brought us. My sister rose to that challenge well. I did not. Carl Jung wrote, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you don’t know, the world will tell you.” For many years, the world told me I was not good enough. In fact, the adversary still whispers that in my ear on a frequent basis. And for too long, I listened. That led me to dark and desperate places at times. I began spiraling down into that darkness. I’m not sure where I would have ended if my sister had not found a way to speak “You are my beloved” into my life. That opened me to the reality that Jesus did call me by name and claim me as His own. And that, my beloved friends, makes all the difference.
Whenever life is difficult, relationships are strained, I feel attacked or hurt, etc., etc., the adversary still tries to whisper “You are not good enough” into my life. Perhaps that is also true for you? But in those moments, I turn my heart to Jesus and lean into Him. And He reminds me, “I have called you by name. You are mine. You are my beloved.” Whether I am good enough becomes irrelevant in the goodness of His love. I am able to remain steadfast in His love.
As we move through the Discernment Process this spring, I invite you to hold onto that proclamation. Lay aside your fears, doubts, hurts, anger. Lean into Him. Open the ears of your heart to His word, “You are my beloved.”