This article originally appeared here.
You don’t have to be productive and you don’t have to change the world. You’re already so loved.
You don’t have to be smart. You don’t have to be simple. You don’t have to read all the right books by the right people. You’re already so loved.
You don’t have to be beautiful and thin with an articulated and ironic fashion sense, not at all. But if you’re into that kind of thing, well, that’s OK, too, darling. You don’t have to be healthy in your mind or in your body. You don’t have to be in full-time vocational ministry. You can watch horrible television or you can be proud of your television-less home. You can be artistic or scientific. You can spend your life travelling to meet beautiful people, or you can live and die in the town where you were born.
You don’t have to be straight or white or powerful. You can be from the wrong side of the tracks or the gated community, suburbs or urban or rural. You can work with your hands and your mind, your back and your brain. You don’t have to be educated, not at all. You don’t have to have a degree or letters after your name. You don’t have to know the right people and boast a carefully curated Instagram feed with the famous and the beautiful and the influential. You don’t have to be conservative and you don’t have to be liberal. You don’t have to identify with certain political persuasions or ideology on sexuality or science or socio-economics or foreign policy. You can be a social justice warrior or, you know, not.
None of that moves the metre of your belovedness. God won’t say, OK now I love her just a bit more because, look, she is finally out of debt or thin or powerful or influential or tireless.
Your family story can be beautiful or terrible or, like most of us, it’s likely a bit of both. Perhaps you’re famous or well-known or influential, that’s OK. Perhaps you are quiet and unknown, maybe you hate that, maybe you love it. You don’t have to be a mother or a father, you don’t have to be married, you don’t have to be single, you don’t have to want children or raise children. You don’t have to be sober or clean. You don’t have to give away everything you own and take a vow of poverty, you don’t have to be prosperous either. Church or no church or a certain kind of church only, whatever.
You have nothing to prove. You have nothing to earn.
Sure, any one of those things might change because you are loved. You may know already where God wants to breathe change and wholeness into you, bringing your life more into line with the person you were meant to be all along.
Love can and does and will transform us in every way—our ideology, our opinions, our habits, our values, our priorities, our very names. But it’s not a prerequisite or a requirement, it’s not behavior modification, it never is, not for Love.