I am loved

I Am Loved

It can feel very lonely when we don’t experience love. A sense of abandonment. To know that ‘I am loved’ is like the permanent embrace of presence. 

To be loved and know it deeply is, I think, the quest of every heart. According to early Church writer Paul, it is the greatest of all.

When you know you’re loved, there is a sense you are held and known. There is a completeness to who you are.

But, in all honesty, the love most of us have experienced is like store-bought tomatoes.

These tomatoes are seemingly perfect. Round, red, and full of juice. They may even have a label to make sure you know that it’s a tomato.

We buy them, use them, feel we know what a tomato is like and all is well in our tomato world.

I never buy shop tomatoes because once you’ve tasted a REAL TOMATO you’ll never go back.

I am

What I mean by a real tomato is one that has been grown in soil, under the heat of the sun, fed with organic fertilisers and simply allowed to grow at its own pace.

I simply can’t explain the difference, but I will try. The flavours are powerful and strong. There isn’t much juice because it’s all flesh. They are beautiful to look at and watch as they ripen.

I regularly give away some of my tomatoes. I ask people to enjoy the difference. To slowly, even mindfully, eat the tomato.

Why am I talking about tomatoes?

What’s the connection to love?

Love Tasting

We all have had tastings of love.

It might be a romantic relationship.

Perhaps the love of a parent to a child and a child to a parent.

Grandparents holding the newborn grandchild. Nothing sweeter.

Or it could be the love of a dog to its owner. Maybe cats, but I’m not sure 🙂.

It’s all love. It’s beautiful and good. But it’s all quite tenuous and has the potential of being lost.

We hope the love will last forever but it relies on everyone playing nicely.

This love is real and true, and it’s part of God’s good creation, but I am afraid it’s much like shop bought tomatoes.

There is a love that I want to sit under and in. To be bathed in. A love that will hold me when the love notes of this world get tangled up and tossed aside.

It’s the full flavoured perfection of an organic tomato slowly grown .

I am loved

All the other loves are signposts to a perfect love that I want and need to be immersed in.

When I know this deep love, in all its fulness of flavour and nutritional perfection, then I can face anything.

I can be stripped of my Mana (Maori word for prestige, authority, influence, spiritual power) and still return love.

I can be spat upon and crucified like the Christ, but still gift forgiveness to ignorance.

When we know this love surrounds us, we are unstoppable in the pursuit of wanting others to know this love.

We give tomatoes away and say, ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good’ Psalm 34:8

Cultivating the ‘I am loved’

Back to tomatoes.

Even in the middle of winter, I still have a focus on the growth of tomatoes.

When I am collecting Autumn leaves to go into the compost, I tell people I am growing tomatoes.

When I am collecting bamboo canes for my tomatoes to grow up, I am growing tomatoes.

I look through the seed catalogues in spring, and I am growing tomatoes.

Growing the sense of being loved is a constant daily meditative activity.

My secret heart.

Everyone of us has a secret heart. It’s that place where all the thoughts and feelings spring up from.

We don’t let many come near it. We want to keep it secret, hidden, and locked away.

But we know it’s there, and often it betrays us. We share something that we wish we could take back. We allow it to become vulnerable because we know it needs connection.

I want my secret heart to be full of wisdom.

David, in his penitent prayer, says this.

You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Psalm 51:6.

So daily, on my pilgrim’s quest for truth, I hear the words ‘I am loved’.

I have a recording of ‘I am’ declarations that I want to anchor my soul to.

But the greatest of all these is ‘I am loved’ 1 Corinthians 13: 13

 

 

Quotes to consider

  • The antidote to stress, depression, anxiety, despair is to be on then off, work play, inhale exhale, summer winter. Rhythm is built into creation, and the problem with the modern world is that you can get tomatoes at 2 am. Rob Bell. 
  • There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
  • Love wins over guilt any day. Richard Rohr When Things Fall Apart
  • Love acts like a giant magnet that pulls out of us, like iron filings, every recorded injury, every scar. Terrence Real
  • Giving and receiving unconditional love is the most effective and powerful way to personal wholeness and happiness. John Bradshaw.

Questions to answer

  1. Where have you experienced love? Even a small slice of it?
  2. Speaking the truth (I am loved) into yourself seems such a strange thing to do. Why would that be?
  3. How do we confer on to others that they are loved?
  4. Can you gift yourself the gift of being loved? Why or why not?

Formation exercise

  • Read the other ‘I am …’ posts in this series. Create a voice recording on your mobile phone with you speaking to yourself these truths. Listen to them daily.

Further reading

I Am Held

I am Known

How to Develop a Compass for the Brain

Barry Pearman

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

GET SOME FREE BOOKS, A COURSE, AND A WEEKLY EMAIL WITH HELP FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND FAITH

Check your Inbox for an email from me. Check your spam folder too