The last chapter said that "Peace lies in acceptance of truth." If we were to stop there, we would wonder what kind of "peace" the author is talking about, since the truth means realizing that we are broken. Broken isn't a good thing last I checked. However, if you add the fact that an all-powerful God is also an all-loving God, and LOVES me as I am, then I begin to see that I have been measuring myself with the wrong standard.
While the impostor draws his identity from past achievements and the adulation of others, the true self claims identity in its belovedness...
God created us for union with Himself: This is the original purpose of our lives. And God is defined as love (1 John 4:16). Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence. It is not merely a lofty thought, an inspiring idea, or one name among many. It is the name by which God knows us and the way He relates to us.
This is what I was missing. I do not need to constantly beat myself up for not being good enough. I am already loved and need to rest in that love. But how do I do it? How do I let God's love saturate into my being? Manning says that "time alone with God" is where this occurs.
Our longing to know who we really are - which is the source of all our discontent - will never be satisfied until we confront and accept our solitude. There we discover that the truth of our belovedness is really true. Our identity rests in God's relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.
Many people will find this time for solitude as a selfish endeavor...what is life without community and serving others? It would be good to note that Jesus himself took time to get away from the crowds and spend time with his Abba. If Jesus had to take time to reconnect with God and feel his belovedness, why should this be any different for me? In taking care of my relationship with God, I can be more loving in my other relationships, since I will be more in touch with who I am: Beloved.
Solitude is not easy. I do not know what to do or not do. I feel like meditation is a great thing, but it is so hard to let go of worry and all the million thoughts running through my brain at any given moment. This requires some dedication and discipline.
Part of me wonders about the value of prayer and alone time...it just doesn't seem to make sense at times. I suppose one way to look at it, is that I know that God loves me with my brain, but I do not KNOW it with my whole being. I can rationalize my way into believing my Belovedness, or I can let go of my "trying" and open myself up to feeling God's love in every way possible. I can only do this through quieting myself and letting Abba speak. Maybe I don't always hear a voice...maybe He doesn't speak at all...but perhaps it is just "being" in the presence of God that matters. I hope I can begin to do this more...I have plenty of time that I spend just over-thinking and over-analyzing...why don't I give up that time and those situations I'm worrying about to God?
I'll close as the chapter closes: "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion."