How Chosen Do You Feel?

I’ve always struggled with the idea of being chosen by God.
I know He saved me.
I know He has a seat for me in heaven.
Strangely enough, I used to believe that because of His charitable goodness, I could just be a recipient of God-given welfare, rather than be someone in His genuine favor. It’s easy to feel that God cared enough to save your life, just the way we allow a bug to live or place a fallen bird back in its nest. However, to feel that He favored me like you would favor your own child, that required a breakthrough of faith.
This is called an orphan mentality.
It breeds a  survival-of-the-fittest mentality within you. The fruit of it is striving, jealousy, anxiety, and fear. It is an exhausting way to live.
But, it’s the wrong way to live.
Psalm 139:1-8 says,
“1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
I always knew that He loved me, but I saw it as a charitable, just, kind-hearted love…. the sort that would visit you on special occasions, surprise you once in a while to remind you that prayer still works, and take pity on you when you fail.
What challenged my view of God’s love was when I became a mother. One thing I learned about children is that they demand a love that is willing to get dirty, a love that understands them despite their failures. Whenever there is a mess or a failure, arms fling wide open and they search for safety in your love. It is their basic instinct to draw closer, not farther, in those vulnerable, broken moments. I’ve held my children while they had ketchup stains on their hands and snot dripping from their noses. It’s funny how we as adults grow up learning to redefine the love we deserve to expect, especially from God.
To be chosen means that you are unconditionally favored. Despite what He knows and what He sees, He is involved. He is present. He is committed. Not because He has to, but because He delights to.
For me, the faith to believe in my status as God’s chosen child is a product of a lifelong journey of moments. One encounter didn’t do it because, even after that moment was over, my heart refused to believe that such a love can exist.  
It’s one thing for God to love you. It’s another to be truly convinced that you are loved. For me, the key to truly feeling the weight of this reality was gratitude.
It began when I was in the hospital after having had given birth to my son Elias. He was born with some complications and was immediately rushed into the NICU. Day after day, the reports came back with more bad news. Then, to hear that I would not be able to bring him home with me was heart-wrenching. Pain like this reveals what you truly think of God. For me, it felt like He either wasn’t listening or that He was a cruel teacher trying to instill in me a harsh lesson.
I recall sitting in my hospital bed, refusing to pray, refusing to ask this busy God for help. I didn’t want to be a beggar to a God that seemed to have no compassion for me. And, then, I heard Him say, “Give thanks.” My immediate response was, “There’s nothing to be thankful for.”
Then again, He said, “Give thanks.”
Reluctantly, I began to look back and intentionally seek moments to be grateful for.
Like the time when I heard the right sermon at the right time…
Like the time when financial provision supernaturally came my way when I was in need…
Like the time when He moved my heart so deeply during worship…
Like the time when He would bring the right people into my life…
Like the time when prayers were answered and lives were transformed…
The attitude of gratitude positions you to see the fingerprints of God all over your life. It’s all too easy to recall the past and see all the blessings as mere coincidences, lucky moments, or even self-earned rewards. In fact, Jesus can send you a love letter a day, and you could still, by the end of your life, feel that He does not care.  
Thankfulness gives your heart permission to believe that Jesus loves you.
Instead of resorting to assuming that He’s distant and uninvolved, seeking reasons to be grateful checks your soul to take a better look. And, when you do, you will see God for who He truly is — your good Father.  
1 Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
What a glorious call for all Christians. What an honor bestowed unto the Bride of Christ.
But if you do not choose to recognize that you are not merely a recipient of God’s charitable grace, you will still live your life as a pauper.
I have a myriad of stories of how God encouraged me, provided for me, and protected me.  However, it wasn’t until I began becoming thankful for them that I was convinced that I am more than just saved.
I am loved.
I am seen.
I am protected.
I am provided for.
I am chosen.

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