Yesterday, I heard a song on KLOVE that I don’t like especially well, but a truth shared in it sort of came home to my heart in a fresh way. The Lord calls us–the church, His people–His “Bride,” His Betrothed, His Beloved. Jesus is the Bridegroom.

I wonder…if I related more often to God as Lover and myself as His Beloved, if it might not revolutionize how I approach food, eating, denial of self, and …well, everything?

In my experience, “parent/child” relationships have not been the most positive. I do, of course, hope that I have offered my children a different experience than my parents offered me. If I relate to God as parent and myself as child, given my earthly experience as a child, it is no small wonder that my willingness or desire to surrender, to trust, to choose what He wants instead of what I want chafes, grates, BUGS me.

I have been blessed with a wonderful husband. I can really identify with the Beloved/Lover relationship. In my relationship with my husband, I am chosen out of all the women in the world, cherished, protected, nurtured, provided for. When my husband desires change for me, I have no question that it is with my best good in mind. It is because he honestly longs for me to experience the best God has in mind for me.

With my parents, I wasn’t safe, I wasn’t cherished or chosen. I was an inconvenience and not accepted. I was an extra expense. When they wanted change for me, it was because I annoyed them or worse. (I know that God used my childhood for my spiritual formation and I can actually thank Him for it now!)

I have voluntarily read books about being a better wife. I have attended seminars and workshops, led and attended bible studies on the subject. I have *wanted* to change. My motivation has been because I have no question of my husband’s love and, as such, I want to be my best for him. I want to honor him, esteem him, understand him, respond to him.

In my role as child, I never read a book, attended a bible study or seminar, or even cared about how to be a better child. I had no motivation…not even fear of my parents could motivate me to truly change. If there appeared to be any changes, they were external only. In fact, I might hold it together for a brief while, but rebellion was brewing beneath the surface, read to explode in an opportune moment.

I know my husband delights in time spent with me. We love going to lunch together on Sunday afternoons, or riding the horses together out on the trail. Even just hanging out together on our back deck enjoying the evening and talking. I respond to this kind of relationship. God knows this.

In His Word, God says that He chose me before the foundation of the earth. In love He predestined me to be adopted–to be chosen. He says I am for the pleasure of His will. In Zephaniah, I am told that he delights and rejoices over me with singing. The psalmist tells me that the King is enthralled with my beauty. He calls me to come away to the wilderness with him.

When I resist God’s call to me to let go of food (when I am not hungry) and to allow Him to be enough, I think I am relating to Him as parent and myself as stubborn, unwanted, unapproved of child. My earthly experience sets this up to be something that isn’t positive. I hold it together for a while…the “changes,” though, are external. Then KABLOOEY! I rebel for all I am worth. Sure, those “Kablooey” moments may not be the all out binges like in the past, but I see them as they are…a direct “IN YOUR FACE” to God…something I might do to my earthly parents, but would NEVER feel in my relationship with my husband.

I wonder…might I experience something new in my relationship with the Lord and what He wants to do in my life if I stopped feeling like the child all the time and started relating to Him as Lover? Some might be horribly offended at this thought…saying God IS Your Father. Yes, He is. But I wonder…perhaps I must extend grace to myself. Is it possible that one of the reasons God gives us so many names for Himself or so many characterizations for Him is because He knows that our human experience is bound to blemish any one of them at any given time? He even characterizes himself as a mother nursing her baby…something I can only identify with in the most wonderful way. And as a bird gathering her young beneath her wings…and as a shepherd gently leading the sheep who have young lambs tagging along. Perhaps the Lord, who is ALL of these things, intends that I might adjust my perspective so that I can truly rest in knowing, serving, living in Him in whatever characterization(s) that most speak truth to my heart.

For now, I delight that He has given me a wonderful husband who God has used to bring home to me that God relates to me as His Betrothed, His Beloved…I get that. I follow it. I love it.

Today, when I reached for something when I wasn’t hungry, I heard the familiar self-rebuking “You shouldn’t have that.” It was the child hearing the voice of the parent…which caused me to instantly get my dander up. Fortunately, I was able to take these truths home to my heart that God caused me to write in my journal this morning. I chose to change how I viewed God in that moment…from unapproving (which he isn’t, of course) parent, to loving, passionate, caring Lover. When I thought of my Lover, my Bridegroom, asking me to let HIM satisfy what really was lacking instead of turning to food in that moment, I was able to respond with an open heart and open arms… “Absolutely, Lord. I am yours. Your will be done.”

The difference was HUGE to me.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me this today.