When a new automobile rolls off the assembly line, the automaker gets a Certificate of Title for the vehicle. The title lists the year the auto was manufactured along with its serial number, make, and model. It identifies the car as one of a kind.
After your birth, the hospital issued a birth certificate. The certificate listed your name, date of birth, sex, and your parents’ names. It identified you as unique.
Imagine if God imprinted the word “BELOVED” in large bold letters on your birth certificate—because in God’s world, that’s who you are: the Creator’s Beloved child.
The Source of Life deemed it vital for you to be breathed into existence. The world would be incomplete without your make and model, without your unique personality and gifts, and without the love you’ve been given to splash upon the earth.
According to Urban Dictionary, “A beloved is a much adored, treasured, loved one.” The word defines someone loved unconditionally with the strongest of devotion—a person gifted with a love so rare and true that it’s the purest of all loves.
This is the “first love” with which each of us have been created. God’s original blessing of agape love for us existed long before our births. This first love was written in the heavens before the beginning of time. The Creator gave us life and unconditional love so we could be part of his Divine Plan, with each person having a unique role in the universe’s unfolding.
Henri Nouwen, in the Now and Then podcast, addresses the central question, “Who am I?” He invites us to embrace the answer with an ever-deepening knowledge we are the Beloved. We are God’s Beloved.
There are many other loves in our lives—our family, friends, and mate. Each individual loves us with human love, which differs from God’s Divine Love. Nouwen points out that human love is imperfect, so we’re often hurt by our loved ones. Our relationships are filled with passion and joy, but are also the source of pain and suffering.
When we’re hurt by a loved one, Nouwen says we should remember our first love—the voice of God that calls us the Beloved. When we claim the Creator’s unconditional love, we recall who we are and find the inner strength to forgive and grow.
And when headbanging self-talk overwhelms us, remembering who we are allows us to replace our negative thoughts with truth.
We’re not our work or accomplishments, Nouwen states. We’re not our mistakes or what others say we are. We’re not what we possess or our social status. We are the Beloved—God’s Original Blessing. All of us. Everyone. Without exception.
This basic truth is difficult to claim because life is filled with noise and competition. We’re flooded with unkind words that shame us and tell us untruths. This pain can overshadow the incredible love bestowed upon us—the unconditional love that’s marked on our birth certificates.
We are the Beloved. If we can embrace this truth, it becomes a natural part of how we live. It shapes our vision and molds our personality as we become what we claim.
This week, tattoo the word Beloved on your heart. Savor it like a cup of fresh tea.
You are the Beloved.
—brian j plachta