“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
I met these words scrawled on the bathroom wall at a diner in the Twin Cities about a year ago. I found the statement so confronting, so profound, that I felt its truth before I had the chance to process it. All I could do was take a picture of the words, then return to my late night eats with my friend. We talked and people watched into the early hours.
I learned later that the statement came from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Days, weeks, months afterward, the words wouldn’t leave me alone. These words invited me to dig deeper. What kind of love have I accepted? What do I think I deserve?
I reflected on earlier chapters of my life and different kinds of love I’d accepted in relationships and friendships. I sometimes accepted a love that required that I gave much more and accepted a lot less in return. When that love was withdrawn, I was distraught. I’d work hard to change, to improve. I felt I needed to prove I was worthy to receive that love again. I was insecure—and it was exhausting.
That was then, this is now . . . isn’t it?
I reflected on my relationship with God. His love found me before I knew I was lost. He paid a debt I couldn’t pay, gave me peace instead of punishment. Mercy. A love I know I don’t deserve. Grace.
When I accept the love God actually has for me, I’m overwhelmed by its disorienting, relentless abundance. Love fills in the cracks in my heart. It satisfies and secures. Then it overflows, defining my relationships and my worldview in entirely new ways.1