Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Live Like You Believe You Are Radically Loved

As a recovering performance-oriented, people pleasing, recognition-seeking devotee, I’m learning to live knowing, without a doubt, I am radically loved. What does that mean? For me, it means: 

I’m learning to NOT base my identity on what I do, but ONLY on What God says about me.  

It means living radically different than I have in the past.

I’ve spent most of my life focused on doing. As a young girl, I was the good girl. I got good grades. I didn’t get in trouble. I did good things for others. I did sports. I graduated and went to college. I got my masters. I worked. I married, had kids, had pets, and wrote some books. I did some triathlons, long runs, and bike rides. I volunteered. I learned to cook, sort of. I did everything I thought I should do.

Now, I’m an empty nester, a really empty nester. (I wish some one had warned me that after I watched my kids launch into the world, it wouldn’t be long before I would have to say goodbye to our beloved family dog.) Anyway, our home is quiet, our food in our refrigerator actually goes bad because the boys are not here to gobble everything up, random filthy socks and muddy shoes do not litter the floor, and white dog hair does not cover all of our rugs and furniture. I know to some of you moms with little kids this sounds heavenly. It is for a moment, but then you miss it all.

After so many years of crazy doing my husband and I decided we wanted to slow down, decompress, breathe and sleep well. So, we sold our home, gave away most of our stuff, and simplified our work commitments. My days were less scheduled. I took long walks. I was more available to be with friends without having to plan weeks in advance. At first, I enjoyed the less stressful, less frantic life—for about three months. Then I experienced a sort of identity crisis. Who am I? What is my purpose now? What should I be doing?


I noticed how much emphasis I put on this word in my life. As I thought about this more, because I had the time to actually think, I realized how much pressure I put on myself to be a doer. I realized I defined my identity on what I did and at this stage in my life, I didn’t feel I was doing anything significant. This seemed to be a common theme with many of my friends too.

I started reading some thought provoking books and came across this quote from Brennan Manning, 

“Define yourself as one radically loved by God. This is the true self. 
Every other identity is an illusion.” 

Wow. I wish someone had told me this sooner! If I lived this way, truly believing God radically loves me, how much differently would I have lived my life? As a young girl, I might have laughed more. As a teen, I might not have cared so much about how I looked. As a young woman, I might have had more adventures and doubted myself less. As a mom, I might have had more peace. 

I can't undo my past but I can move forward into my 50’s living knowing I am radically loved by God and not because of what I do. I don’t have to strive to impress anyone when I know God loves me.I know when I live with that confidence I experience freedom, joy and peace. And that is how I want to live.

I still hope to do meaningful work and I am waiting to see how that unfolds, but I know I am radically loved and that’s all that truly matters. Shauna Niequist in her book, Present over Perfect, sums it up nicely, "...God loves me, and that there is nothing I can do in this new day to earn more love—nothing. And also that there's nothing I can do in this new day to ruin or break that love—nothing. I can't imagine anything more life-changing for an earner like me." Me too.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; 
he will exult over you with loud singing.” - Zephaniah 3:17

⁕If you started to live your life today believing, truly believing, you are radically loved by God, how would your life change?

Jeannie Blackmer is married to Zane and mother to three boys. She’s authored three books, including MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering, contributed content to more than 20 books, and written articles for a variety of magazines. She loves her family, salt, chocolate, scuba diving and being outside as much as possible. She's managing the blog for the Flatirons Women's Ministry and is looking for writers! And she has a new book coming this fall!


  1. Wow Jeannie, ME TOO! Only I was taken out of the doing by over a decade of health issues & lots of surgeries. I still struggle with just being and God patiently reminds me that's all He asks of me.

    1. Hi Nancy, it's a difficult process and I'm so sorry about your health issues and surgeries..but the realization that we are radically loved is so freeing! I'll keep you in my prayers.

    2. Nancy! I'm so happy this encouraged you and you get it!! I'll also be praying for you and especially for you to continue staying patient and finding amazing peace.

    3. Thanks ladies! Patience does not come easy for me....

  2. I am reading Lisa Terkeurist's book "Uninvited". She talks about this concept of "living loved" and how it's a great sermon but hard to live out. I've been thinking about it a lot lately since a person who lives like that has to be more joyful and pleasant to be around. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Thank you Misty. I'm just about to start reading her book too.

  3. My life in the last two years has changed dramatically. I became a grandmother, lost my husband of 33 years and found myself a widow at 52. This last year my last two daughters married and in January I found myself an empty nester. Life has changed and I am trying to embrace it and find myself excited for this next phase. Thanks for the thoughts!

    1. Karen,
      I'm so sorry for your loss! One change is bad enough, but to have all that change is hard!
      I am thankful that you are excited for the what's next part of your life!
      You will be in my prayers!

  4. Hi Karen,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope these thoughts encouraged you. One thing I've thought about lately is to not ask myself "what's next" but to ask "what now?" This helps me live day by day, moment by moment and I find some peace in that. I'll keep you in my prayers...