You’re Loved No Matter What is much more than just another book about unconditional love. This is a deep and perceptive look at familiar scriptures that may not be as straightforward as they once seemed, but instead give us a completely new perspective on perfection as the world sees it in contrast to perfection from the point of view of God. Many of the problems that affect our daily lives come from our lack of perfection, we think. If we were just perfect, perhaps . . . our spouse would love us the way we’d like, our children would be better behaved, our boss would be happier with our performance, our parents wouldn’t be so critical. If I could just be like Mary who has it all together, or like Jane whose house is perfect, or like Sandra who is always being complimented by the boss. But is trying to be like someone else or trying to be perfect going to make our lives better? Ms. Gerth says not only will it not make things better but it isn’t what God wants for us. We already have “positional perfection” through Christ’s sacrifice and our acceptance of salvation, and His will for us is to love Him and love others through His grace.
I found this a very challenging concept — to let go of trying to always do things perfectly, to always say “yes” when asked to do something for fear of letting people down. But fear is not part of love — “perfect love drives out fear [and shame and condemnation], because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1John 4:18), and God wants our relationship to be secure and not driven by fear of Him. Paul says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Our perfection will be “completed” by Him at the end, not in the here and now. Life is a journey of growth where we are expected to love one another, not to strive for the perfection we cannot achieve on our own but only through our relationship with Christ. To work, which is good in God’s eyes, for excellence, using the talents He has given us, and be satisfied to let other things be “good”, will give us the peace we seek and help us to let go of the rest. Holley points out that excellence can be described differently depending on the conditions: chicken soup with rice can be an excellent meal when the whole household is down with the flu.
Holley gives us a lot of scripture-based ideas and resources to help us determine who we are and how we love and encourages us to let go of trying to be like someone else we may think has the perfect handle on things. She also tells us that changing our perspective on the concept of perfection will not be easy and we may backslide into that striving over and over again, but once we’re aware of it, we can continue to rest in His love and His standing before the Father. There are many websites with resources offered here, including Holley’s own site where links are provided and print-outs of practical exercises and discussion questions are available. Some of this brings me back to “living intentionally” with a committed prayer community because changes do not occur in isolation — we need people in our corner as well as needing to accept that He loves us as we are.
This book is life-changing and growth-encouraging, and will end up with page corners turned down and highlighted passages to be referred to again and again. It will allow you to be who you are — who God intended you to be. * * * * *
Holley Gerth‘s books are available at Amazon and other fine book sellers.