God Loves Me...
“God Loves Me, Screw Tim”
The above title may seem a bit irreverent or even a tad unchristian, but I beg you to bear with me and read through this entire musing before making your final decision. I believe this phrase was given to me by God (really) and that this truth can lead you to greater personal transformation and life-giving freedom as it has done and continues to do for me. If you are still struggling with this title, remember the words of Jesus when He said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters…he cannot be My disciple.” These words seem a little extreme and even a tad unchristian yet contain great truth.
As I said above, I believe the phrase, “God loves me, screw Tim” was given to me by God. It was given as a key that has afforded me the wherewithal to escape the prison of my own insecurities, self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness, feelings that have hindered me from becoming the one God created me to be.
The seminal event which eventually birthed the phrase, “God love me, screw Tim”, occurred during a seminar I was attending a number of years ago. It was during this seminar that my knowledge of God’s love began to traverse the great divide between my head and heart. It was then I found that I was able to begin to move beyond my theological understanding of God’s love for the world and begin to embrace and experience God’s one-of-a-kind, unconditional love for me. The moment was overwhelming, one I will never forget. From that time on the sense of my God-given belovedness began to gain strength. In the beginning, depending on the circumstances, great battles would rage within me. Sometimes my God-given belovedness would win out but more often than not my insecurities, self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness would stand over me victorious. As time has passed, I now seem to experience more victories than defeats.
But before I continue I want you to know that I am still in process with all this. On my good days I am able to declare, believe and hold onto the belovedness that is mine in Christ. But on other days, or even in certain moments of good days, the insecurities and self-doubts not only arise (for they arise often) but they also have their way with me, once again making me their prisoner. I write not as an expert but as one who is still in the midst of the battle. I write as one who knows both glorious victory and at times crushing defeat.
Now let me share with you the events that led to this phrase being spontaneously birthed within me. I was waiting my turn to speak at a men's retreat. I was singing worship songs and mulling over in my mind (multi-tasking) the messages I was going to give that weekend on God’s love. I was feeling pretty good about my four talks when a man, his bald head gleaming in the lights, walked past me and sat down almost directly in front of the place from which I would be speaking. I immediately recognized him as Tim (not his real name), an individual who is responsible for choosing speakers for large national events. I knew he listened to and rubbed shoulders with the best and brightest speakers in the United States. He was not there to evaluate me but rather to enjoy the weekend with the men from his church. However, knowing this truth was not enough to hold at bay that which was beginning to take form inside me. Instead, I immediately began to feel panic rising and sensed the stirring of my self-doubts, insecurities and feelings of unworthiness deep within. In a matter of moments I knew a battle would be raging within me – my God-given belovedness fighting it out with my insecurities, self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness.
It was my insecurities that dealt the first blow and sent me staggering. They screamed at me, “ YOU ARE NOT A GREAT SPEAKER OR EVEN A GOOD SPEAKER”. This was countered by my own weak left jab of, “God is sovereign and He chose me to be the speaker.” This jab did no foreseeable harm but merely served to antagonize my opponents. Blows began flying back and forth. My self-doubts, insecurities, and feelings of unworthiness would land punch after punch: “WHO ARE YOU YO SPEAK TO THESE MEN? TIM IS GOING TO MAKE FUN OF YOU! WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT GOD’S LOVE? YOU CAN’T EVEN PRONOUNCE WORDS CORRECTLY! LOOK AT YOU, WHAT GOOD IS GOD’S LOVE DOING YOU NOW? YOU ARE PATHETIC!” Their barrage seemed endless. I would counter with affirmations of my value, God’s love for me, my place in Christ, etc, but these jabs had no power and were missing the mark. I was in bad shape. The attacks continued in full force, as those around me sang worship songs declaring God’s goodness and power, unaware of this battle raging within me – a battle that would shape the weekend, my talks, my interactions with those attending and in retrospect, the rest of my life.
After the final song ended the pastor got up to welcome the men and introduce me. By this time the battle had reached it zenith, frenzied exchanges were taking place, and I found myself on the ropes, one punch away from certain annihilation. Then from somewhere deep within the words, “GOD LOVES YOU, SCREW TIM”, exploded up to the surface of my consciousness, dealing a death blow to my insecurities, self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness. As I looked down at my feet I could see my internal enemies lying beaten, bloodied and motionless on the floor while Jesus standing next to me raised my arm in victory. In that moment I knew, embraced, and was able to hold onto my belovedness. As the pastor’s introduction of me ended I strolled forward confidently, still not a great speaker but able to embrace myself as one deeply loved, unconditionally and without reservation, by God.
As I took my place in the front of the room, Tim was sitting right there, head gleaming in the lights, eyes squarely focused on me, and once again I could feeling the beginnings of yet another battle taking shape. In that very moment, as I stood before the men of the retreat, I internally declared with passion and conviction, “God loves ME, SCREW TIM”, and began my talk. I must admit, isolated battles continued throughout the weekend, but each time I became aware of the inner turmoil I firmly declared the truth of God’s love and the fact that in light of that truth, nothing else really matters.
Since that fateful night the words, “God loves me, screw Tim”, have become a kind of internalized mantra that has led me to an ever greater freedom to be the unique creation God created me and re-created me in Christ to be. As I affirm God's love for me it frees me to live out of who I am in Christ and to sidestep the expectations and demands of others, myself, society, and even the church. I do not always do this well and sometimes I am not able to do it at all, but I have found that when I can recall to my mind and heart the truth of God’s love for me, I am freed to float upon the unforced rhythms of God's grace as I live my life.
In my journey God has opened many wonderful doors for me, doors I would not have even stuck my head through if I had not been able to internalize God’s amazing one-of-a-kind love for me. Don’t get me wrong; I still struggle with my own insecurities, self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness. But when I do, I recall to mind my God-given mantra, my breath prayer, “God loves me, screw Tim”, and it thunders through my heart and soul, bringing strength to my inner person, empowering me to go forward, trusting in the amazing love God has for me.
I encourage you to try out this phrase yourself (and if this works for you make it your own by exchanging the name Tim with something or someone else) not because I believe it to be magic but because it is a tool that can help you recall to your heart and soul the transforming, life changing truth of God’s love. This experiential truth when internalized enables you to be more than a conqueror, enlivening your spirit, bringing courage, confidence, boldness and hope to your soul. The phrase “God loves you, Screw Tim” reminds you that God loves you and that is all that matters – end of story.
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