Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Each year I ask for a word or phrase that will start the trajectory of the coming weeks and months.  I know many people do.  My word came in a conversation the other day....

A friend of mine and I were talking on the phone, and she made a statement about her husband, 
"He's never had the option of not being good".

Her commentary about him meant he's always had to be the "good boy", to do the right thing, to please others, and be a shining display of an exemplary citizen in whatever role he found himself in (child, student, husband, father).  My first thought was, wow! that's a lot of pressure and a tough label to live up to.  My next thought was a sinking one because I too have often felt that crushing, suffocating burden of having to be good

As she and I talked longer, I was reminded of a song...

"You're a good, good Father
It's who you are
It's who you are 
It's who you are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am 
It's who I am
It's who I am

See, I think the reason "be good" feels like such a weight is because we were never meant to wear it.  Good is who God is....not who I am.  (Even Jesus, when approached by someone calling him "good teacher" responded with, "Why do you call me good?  No one is good - except God alone.)

So, if God owns good (and he doesn't share it), then I can embrace the word "loved".  That is my name - my identity.  I am free to not be good but to be loved.  And I find that very freeing, because "be good" is a trapping corner that holds a pass/fail outcome and judgement (whether from someone else or just the voices in my head!)  But "be loved" is a far more spacious field and full of grace.  (And perhaps, doing good things may be contained in that field, but success or failure at those things are not the terms that define it.)

Be loved.

That is my phrase this year...and my newest adventure.
I hope you'll join me!