23 – God’s Wild Love
No matter what anyone says, you can’t earn God’s love. His love for you is deeper, stronger, and wilder than anything you can imagine. No struggle, no lie, no self-message can change that truth. If you have trouble believing it, then hold on to your hat! Guest Mary DeMuth is here to tell you all about that wild love—and identify the lies that keep you from embracing it.
What does the deep mean to you?
It means understanding that God is with you no matter what you are going through, and then cultivating the ability to see him in the dark times. God revealed to the Apostle Paul that he would have to suffer. A lot. God disciplines all those He loves, and He has a purpose and story for each of us. The thing is, we may not understand those things. There is a purpose in suffering, and the key for us to grow during those hard times is to be tenacious and cling to God in the midst of the difficulty.
What makes you keep going when you’re in those deep places?
The Sunday school answer is always Jesus, but I think it’s also choosing to reflect back on the goodness of God and to recount His faithfulness. It’s the ability to recognize when you are spiraling downward in your brain. At those times, every single bad thing can look 4,000 times worse and the blessings shrink because can’t see them. So we need to get our focus back on God. That changes everything.
When did you first come to understand that you were wildly loved?
That moment I met Jesus. But my understanding has continued to deepen. There have been valleys of misunderstanding and mountains of higher understanding. Jesus rescued me when I was 15 years old and ready to take my life. I had experienced sexual abuse, abandonment, divorces of parents, death of a parent, loneliness, and drug abuse in the home…so many crazy things! I would look down at my feet and think, Why I am occupying this space on earth? What is the point of me being here other than to be completely neglected or taken advantage of? Being a fatherless girl, losing my father when I was 10 years old, and then having several other fathers cycle through my life, I really didn’t come to Jesus with a sense of my sinfulness. It was more like I needed a father Who would never leave me. So when I met Him, that’s what He was to me.
Talk a little bit about your book, Worth Living, and what motivated you to write it?
That little girl who looked at her feet? She grew up, and she still struggles, still wonders why she’s here and what the point is and if God loves me. It’s a titanic struggle for me. One day a friend saw that I was believing a lot of lies about myself. She handed me these 3×5 cards that were bound together and told me to write the lies I was believing on one side, and then to pray and ask God to show me the Scripture that combatted the lie on the other side. It didn’t come right away. It’s not like you sit down and do this in one day. Even discerning the lies was very hard because I was so inside of myself. So I asked other friends and they were quick to say, “Well, you don’t think you are pretty.” Or, “You don’t think you are lovable. And you think you have to prove your worth by doing a bunch of stuff.” So that formed the framework of the book: Ten basic lies that women tend to believe, and ten truths that combat them.
Go to marydemuth.com to print a free list of the 10 lies and the 10 truths to combat them.
Is there any one of the lies that has tempted you to give up and say I’m done?
That I have to prove my worth by doing a bunch of stuff. As a writer, I try to do all the right things, but I cannot control the sales of my book. I cannot control my success. That has been so hard. I’ve surrendered 7,898 times and I still have to do it today. It’s very frustrating. I have to continue to understand that God is not going to love me any less if I did 3 things on my to do list instead of 10 things on my to do list. No matter how many things we do, God loves us. If you are constantly trying to prove your worth, you will be on a treadmill of trying to gain approval.
What signs are there to warn us that we’re trying to prove our worth? What have you caught yourself doing?
It’s kind of a control and obsession issue. There can be an element of Phariseeism. You know, “Just give me the list. Tell me the things I’m supposed to do and I will do them.” But look at Jesus’s interactions with the Pharisees. They fell in love with the list, not with the Savior. When we try to prove our worth by doing a bunch of stuff, we miss Jesus. As writers, we need to hear His words and be compelled by them instead of being compelled to prove our worth.
Micah 6:8: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
What do you say to the person who is wrestling with the same things you wrestled with? With “I don’t feel my worth.” or “I don’t feel that God loves me”?
First, realize that emotions cannot be trusted. My emotions may say God has abandoned me. I feel alone right now and I don’t like the struggle I’m walking through. But the truth is, God will never leave or forsake me. We need to base our lives on truth.
When you are discouraged, what helps you?
Community. If I’m in my head for too long, I get really crazy. Of course, I share that with the Lord and He does help me, but a lot of time I need God with skin on. To go out to coffee with someone and tell them how crazy I am, and have them tell me I’m not. That makes me feel a little better. A lot of times we get wounded in community, but I’ve realized that the way back is positive community.
What is your final word of encouragement today?
You are worth loving and your life is worth living. That is the crux of it all.
A New Giveaway!
Mary’s publisher, Baker Books, has supplied 3 copies of Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy for a giveaway! Thank you Baker Books! You have to check our newsletter for details on how to enter the drawing!
What About You?
What Scripture verse helps you combat your biggest lie?