My Story

Welcome to Real Life. I'm Peggi Tustan. Join me on a journey to take hold of the life that is truly life by knowing the God who is truly God. To know God, we must know his love.

Do You Really Love Me, Lord?

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)
At one time, I couldn't own this verse. I knew intellectually it was true. God loves me. He loves everyone, right? It was easy for me to believe God loves you. But I struggled to experience his love for myself. Though the Christian life is not based on feelings, they do validate our beliefs.

The reason I struggled to experience God’s love was that I thought God’s love was tied to my behavior. If I behaved better, God would love me more. Since perfection is impossible, I lived under a cloud of guilt. I couldn't do enough or be good enough to be worthy of God's love. So, I tried harder. I volunteered, joined committees, coordinated conferences, cooked meals, sang in the choir, and more. Every morning, noon, and night held some commitment. Whew!

Finally, I hit the wall. I had an emotional breakdown. I was such a mess, I could barely function. The funny thing is that's where I found God's love. In that broken place, where I could no longer earn it, I felt so very loved by him. Weird right? It's because I knew he allowed my breakdown. He loved me too much to let me keep living a lie. You see, I don't have to earn God’s love. Neither do you. His love is not like the love we experience in this world. If you do for me, I'll do for you. If you love me, I’ll love you. God’s love isn't based on our performance. It’s based on him, his character. God is love.[1] It’s his nature to love.

God loves me because of who he is, not because of who I am.

Don't get me wrong. God wants us to live a holy life. But not to earn his love. I can’t do one thing to make him love me any more (or any less). He loves us so completely, it's impossible to add a drop to his love. We're saturated. I know it. I feel it. I believe it.

When I'm deeply rooted and grounded in God’s love myself, I can share it. I can love others well. Not because of who they are (how loveable), but because of who I am in Christ. My heart's full of his unconditional love.

God loves you! It sounds almost trite. The reality is anything but trite. The reality changed my life.

Take it Further

Reread Zephaniah 3:17 above. Take a minute and let God quiet you with his love. Say aloud: God takes great delight in me. He rejoices over me in song.

If you struggle to experience God’s love, ask him to help you. I’m praying Paul's prayer for you. Pray it for yourself.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV).

[1] 1 John 4:8 and 16

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