Words by Katie Pezzutto

My friend’s blue eyes flashed with passion as he settled into the stool across from me.. “I want God to be proud of me; I’ll do whatever it takes.” I met his eyes and nodded. I understand. Many of us who grew up in the church understand the fierce devotion and desire to not mess up. Most of us relate to the fire and brimstone mantra we had preached to us as children. As someone who has walked the journey of fierce competition and attempts to snap up King of the Universe’s attention, I was fully invested in the conversation. I leaned against the table and lifted my eyes to his, “you are more than enough. You are God’s beloved. Just be.”

He averted his gaze, leaned back and sighed. At his retreat, my heart went out to him. The undue responsibility and pain so many of us carry is intertwined into the fabric of our being. To remove it feels like taking out ancient, unhealed stitches. Flesh has overgrown the string. We are fervently, painfully, pulling skin from cord, trying desperately to save ourselves in case infection ensues. Fortunately for us, we walk with God, the benevolent Father who holds the remedy. But, like all things in life, the solution doesn’t come easily. Easy doesn’t mean better. Easy often means, we forfeit growth for comfort. Comfort doesn’t lead to discovery and adventure, it doesn’t lend to power and authority. The difficult things can seem draining and sometimes God leads us away from the challenge to refresh us. But no matter where we are, in times of refreshing or difficulty, God is willing to help us.

But knowing the right questions to ask comes from knowing who we are. That is: unconditionally loved. While on my walk through the forest this morning, I asked the Lord. “You say you love me unconditionally. Beyond the obvious answer, what exactly does that mean?” I felt a crisp breeze brush against my skin. The dark trees swayed around me. The sound of a creek splashed in the near distance. In the assured state of nature, I felt Him, closer than my breath.

“Daughter. Before I spoke the words that exploded life into being, you were on my mind. Your skin, your fingerprints, the colour of your hair and the depth of your eyes were all on my heart. Before you spoke a word, uttered a cry or received a standing ovation, the idea of you was there, cradled by My all encompassing peace. My darling daughter, to think you could make me proud of You is wrong. My love, I have created a Masterpiece. Would you like to see it? Please come and see what I made. I stand behind you, beaming as you ask, ’mirror mirror on the wall. Am I beautiful enough, smart enough, talented enough?’ Daughter, yes! Yes! You are! As you gaze into that piece of glass, ask me for help to step past preconceived notions of who you are.” He paused for a moment. The trees stilled, the playful sounds of the creek faded away. It was only Him and me.  

“No matter who the world tells you are. No matter how many awards you win or don’t win, no matter how you see yourself… the truth is: Princess, you take my breath away.” I stopped walking and closed my eyes. He answered my question so poignantly. What I needed to do was ask Him to write the words He spoke onto my heart. I asked Him to remind me of who I am to Him.

If you struggle with your identity as a child of God, step away to be with Him. Ask Him what His unconditional love could mean for you. When He tells you who are you, choose to believe truth even when it doesn’t feel like reality. In the arena of striving for accolades and worldly affirmation, life is hard. Just remember and act accordingly to the facts: His truth is the only thing that will set you, His Beloved, free.