Sometimes life can feel like you’re at a carnival. You’ve waited in a long line for cotton candy, watching it swirl away in the hands of others ahead of you. Yet somehow, the spinner breaks, or the ingredients run out, as soon as it’s your turn to enjoy. Regardless of your patience, or even the money in your hand ready to be willingly surrendered, you’re denied a taste of life’s sweet rewards.
In less symbolic terms, any one of us can be faithful, forgiving and flexible, and still end up with the empty-handed reality of rejection or pain. And when it happens at the hands of those you love, you can wonder if love is even for you.
It happened to me. After years of wading (and waiting) through my husband’s addictions and lies, I had to pack up the pieces of my life into boxes and bins. Feeling broken and lost, I left the home I’d loved and labored in with my husband of 25 years.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one in the neighborhood whose marriage was crumbling…but that was no solace. I still believed all my desperate spackling would make it last forever. Like the hopeful cotton candy customer, I’d offered endurance and all my heart, but I got served betrayal.
Not only did he leave me fighting for our marriage by myself — he left me all alone on moving day. He just went to work, as though it was a normal day. And on the darkest day of my life, I trekked back and forth to the back end of a truck in a haze of disbelief.
Why do I feel unloved?
Growing up through a dysfunctional childhood, self-condemnation fit easily into my baggage. And if this is you, too, you know there’s always room for more. Especially if friends, boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses wind up wounding you as well.
When we don’t feel loved from the jump, we’re an easy target for the author of lies. And whether it’s the number of years you’ve believed them or the number of loved ones who’ve hurt you, pain can fool you into feeling utterly unloved.
Here’s the truth. You being unloved is the biggest lie of all. It’s the one lie you need to unpack and never take with you.
People will hurt you. They may even have affairs, or steal, or lie, or humiliate. It can happen anywhere. At home, on the job, in your small group — wherever you show up or share.
But although we’re all imperfect and capable of hurting each other, it’s not within our power to define each other. So, if there’s one thing you can own about your identity, it’s this: You were created by God who is love, and therefore, you are loved.
How to know you’re loved
The most powerful way to defeat the lie of unlovability is to replace it with truth. A therapist I know and love suggests creating a growing collection of “truth cards” on which you name and release your lies on one side, and then replace them with a truth from Scripture on the other. Hebrews reminds us:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Meditating on what God says, and not what the world says, is the way out of that chronic loneliness some of us feel even when surrounded by others. Hearing and believing what the One who made you is singing over you is your umbrella in the storm.
To help you on your journey, here are a handful of Bible passages that prove God’s love for you.
7 scriptures that say you are loved
The Bible is a love story from its genesis through eternity. Let these seven truths be the start of you inviting God’s love to sustain you.
1. God is faithful to you
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness… (Exodus 34:6, ESV)
Whether you’ve always been single, are newly single, you’re feeling lonely, or you’re struggling through a crisis, alone time can feel so loveless. In these times of solitude, reflect on the fact that from the beginning, God was showing you who He is in your life. He is not angry with you, and His love is boundless. What’s more, He remains faithful always.
2. God loves you forever
It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:23, ESV)
God has not forgotten you when you’re feeling unloved. When your soul is parched with longing, psalms often satisfy. I find Psalm 136 particularly powerful in its repetition. Read through and be reminded — 26 times! — that his love endures forever.
3. You are never alone
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1b-2, ESV)
How stunning to hear God say to you: You are mine. He is with you when life gets deep or your heart gets burned. He will not let go and will not let you be destroyed.
I remember putting this verse on my phone’s lock screen to help me get through the first year of separation. Yes, I was in the deepest waters I’d ever known. But God summoned me by name, and I knew He was with me. You, too, are never alone, and are loved by the One who made you.
4. God is rebuilding you
…I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again… (Jeremiah 31:3-4, NIV)
Christians love Jeremiah 29:11 because we know God’s plans are best. But I also like His promise in Jeremiah 31 that He will do the rebuilding — even when plans of all kinds shatter, and you’re left feeling unloved.
Remember your God is kind. His love is everlasting. And He is both the architect and the one to rebuild you — by the power of His love.
5. You are loved beyond measure
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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)
Write this verse out and feel it take root in you as you form the words wide, long, high, and deep to describe the love of Christ. What Ephesians explains here is that a love this expansive surpasses our knowledge. It’s full enough to blow your mind.
6. God will restore you
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10, ESV)
We know that God is with us, calls us by name, loves us always, and can rebuild us from disaster. But He is also the maker of miracles. He has power to restore what’s missing. He can mend what’s broken. He can find what’s lost.
This verse is one to hold onto when you feel the rug’s been pulled out from under you and you don’t even see what remains to rebuild. God can restore strength that’s gone missing, revive dead things, and rekindle your faith in love.
7. You always have love to give
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)
Letdowns come into every life, and feeling unloved is human. But staying there is stifling your power source. You see, it’s beautiful to receive love that nourishes your heart, but it’s also a gift to give it. This is why Jesus calls us to love our neighbors — even our enemies — as ourselves.
Regardless of whether humans have made any recent love deposits in your account, God has deposited His love. You are an instrument of His peace, and a lover because He first loved you.
When you can’t shake the lie of feeling unloved, it actually helps to show love to others. It opens your eyes to the truth that even though all of us are lonely sometimes, we can still choose to show love anytime.
God never cuts off His love supply. When you remain open to receiving it, your cup can overflow.
Copyright 2021 Lia Martin. All rights reserved.