At a recent men’s retreat at Camp Kanuga in the mountains of North Carolina, we sang the song Good Good Father. It’s about God being a good Father and the fact that His love for us is our identity. I liked the song, but had no idea how the Lord would use it later that weekend.
The weather was perfect when I ventured out during our alone time Sunday morning. A cool, musky breeze gently brushing my face as I tread on newly fallen leaves toward the labyrinth. I’d seen the circular maze the day before and at the recommendation of a cabin mate, wanted to experience it.
A labyrinth is a walking path used as a tool for contemplative prayer. As I stepped onto the serpentine paths leading to the center, I did what the sign said and set aside my worries, asking God to make me aware of His presence, listening for what He might have to say.
As I walked to and fro, back and forth, I was progressing to the center, which represents the presence of God. The center has semicircles resembling a 6 leaf clover. When I reached it, I paused, stilling my thoughts and breathed in the cool autumn air. In my heart I heard “It’s who you are,” then again, “It’s who you are.”
I moved and stood within one of the half circles and completed the thought, “Being loved by God is who I am.”
Being loved by God is who I am. No other identity needed. I could have told you that intellectually before that moment, but God wanted this truth to travel past layers of protection and false identities to the very core of my being.
My roles of being a devout Christian, loving husband and father, successful businessman, adequate provider, faithful friend, or encouraging brother are not the core of who I am. THE ONLY IDENTITY I NEED IS BEING A LOVED CHILD OF GOD. My other roles and identities flow out of this most important fact about me. I’m loved by God.
How many times have I felt like a failure and doubted my worth because of inadequacies in my different roles?
In the center of the labyrinth, past failures and future fears seemed to be swept away in an instant, buried deep in a sea of God’s love.
As I made my way out of the labyrinth, I knew I was different.
I thought – if this is true
quickly a correction came to mind – because this is true, how I live my life outside the labyrinth will never be the same.
I’m still processing the impact, but days later I already see I don’t need any of those other identities I’ve been fighting for. I’m at peace in who I am as God’s loved child and free to love others without needing anything in return for my validation and identity.
Challenge: Think of your biggest failure or inadequacy. How do you feel about yourself in this area? Do you ever find you identify more with what you say about yourself than what God says about you?
Now think of the thing that tends to cause you the most worry, that fear which seems to follow you around.
Being loved by God, even if you don’t respond to it, is the most important thing about you and overshadows by a million miles those things you had in mind. God’s love for you is eternal and everlasting.
Being loved by God is who you are, a fact which towers above and washes away, all failures, all inadequacies and all fears.
And when you know, truly know, God loves you, you can yield to His Spirit within to love the folks He puts in your way.
Prayer: Lord, I know Your love for me is far beyond my knowledge. Nothing imaginable can snatch me from your great love. Open the eyes of my heart that I might continue to grow more and more aware of how very much You love me.
May the fact of Your love be the definition of who I am and the overflowing purpose for the rest of life’s moments.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. I John 3:1a
 Good Good Father by the Housefires