Red Cars

Its commonly believed that when you purchase a certain color car, such as a red car, all of a sudden you see a lot more red cars on the road.

This phenomenon also applies to more than just cars. Once our eyes have been opened to see a new truth, like a new car, its difficult to un-see it.

During the publication of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection I became aware how long God has been trying to teach me that I am His Beloved. From the revision of the book title, to the artist who lettered the word Beloved (my daughter) whose name means Beloved (my daughter), to naming of that young artist 27 ½ years ago, it seems that God has been trying to get my attention.  I even nonchalantly placed Kari Jobe’s song, Beloved, on my website several months ago, before the new book title was even thought of. And then there is my email address, which I have had for twenty years which happens to include the words “his beloved.” It seems like God is trying to get my attention. Thankfully he is long suffering.

Recently, as I was preparing to teach a group of women about wounds and messages, I stumbled across my dog-eared copy of Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved. I just happened to flip open to a passage where he tells his young friend,

There is that voice, the voice that speaks from above and from within and that whispers softly or declares loudly: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.” It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout: “You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless; you are despicable, you are nobody—unless you can demonstrate the opposite.”[1]

Nouwen continues:

 Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”[2]

These passages were underlined and marked up, showing evidence of how many times I had read these words, to myself as well as to others. During my long journey to Becoming His Beloved, I never knew that anyone else struggled with feeling defective, alone or like a big fat schmuck. I thought it was just me.

As it turns out, many of us share this common struggle to deeply understand our belovedness. Why?

Because we have a common enemy.

According to John Eldredge, “The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears it.”

According to Jesus, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.” What does the thief want to destroy? Satan tempted Jesus in the area of his identity. “If you are the Son of God…” The enemy wants to keep us blind to the radical love of God and who we are in Christ.

Rachel Held Evans recently published Searching for Sunday where she chronicles her journey out of evangelicalism. She uses the sacraments of the church as a framework for her story. Late one night, as I was reading the section on baptism, a spiritual red car flashed by.

Where God calls the baptized beloved, demons call her addict, slut, sinner, failure, fat, worthless, faker, screwup. Where God calls her child, the demons beckon with rich, powerful, pretty, important, religious, esteemed, accomplished, right. …We all long for someone to tell us who we are. The great struggle of the Christian life is to take God’s name for us, to believe we are beloved and to believe that is enough.[3]

Evans also quotes Alexander Schmemann, the author of For the Life of the World.

 “The first act of the Christian life is a renunciation, a challenge.” In baptism, the Christian stands naked and unashamed, before all these demons—all these impulses and temptations, sins and failures, empty sales pitches and screwy labels—and says, “I am a beloved child of God and I renounce anything or anyone who says otherwise.”[4]

In some traditions, Held continues, the convert actually spits in the face of evil before being immersed. “It’s a brave, defiant thing to do. And Christians ought to do it more often, if not at our baptisms, then in our remembrance of them. Or maybe every time we take a shower.” [5]

There it was. Again and again, like so many red cars on the highway of my life, I kept seeing the message of my beloved-ness. God keeps reminding me who I am and how He feels about me, through songs, people and even books.  (And to think that I struggle to hear God’s voice…)

So I have started a new habit. Along with more exercise and less wheat, I am going to spit at a few demons in the shower each day, announcing to kingdom as well as to myself:

I am a beloved child of God and I renounce anything

or anyone who says otherwise.

 

 

Author’s note: Ten days after I wrote this piece, the enemy brutally assaulted me with his flaming arrows leaving me broken, bruised and battered. This unfortunate incident provided me with the opportunity to practice my new shower habits, declaring the truth of who I am and spitting.

 

 

[1] Nouwen, Henri. Life of the Beloved, p. 31.

[2] Ibid, p. 33

[3] Evans, Rachel Held. Searching for Sunday, p. 19.

[4] As quoted in Evans, p. 20.

[5] Ibid, p. 20.

GENEVA CHINNOCK is a writer and author of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection. Geneva has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master in Business Administration. In her spare time, Geneva loves reading, eating bacon and attending live theater. She lives in Southern California with her husband and blogs about matters of faith at TreasuredbyGod.com.