When You Aren’t Sure if God (Or Anyone Else!) Likes You {A November to Remember — 11.19.2014}

November 18, 2014 | 20 comments

Today’s Scripture — 11.18.2014

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ~ 1 John 3:1



I’m driving down the highway to a friend’s house. I’m due at her house at 3:30. We have a later-afternoon shopping trip planned, and I’ve been looking forward to this all day.

I’m not a woman who’s into the “retail therapy” thing, but what I am into is this: quality time spent with my people. I needed people time.

The whole day up to that point had been an ugly one. It was one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. I had no bread for the school lunches. We had arrived late – again – for the bus. I had shrunk two of my daughter’s favorite shirts. My hormones were doing crazy things, like they do every 28 days or so.  And I was feeling this deep sense of aloneness that creeps up on me every so often, especially when the days get shorter.

So I drive to find a friend.

I need friend therapy, I say to myself. I turn into her driveway, hopeful for a remedy. But when I get there, she says there’s been a change of plans. Here’s what I’m thinking on the inside: She can’t fix me. I wanted her to fix me, and now she can’t.

I stand on her back step, wanting to cry. I’m embarrassed at how my insides are reacting, and my adult self can’t keep the little kid inside of me in line.

I hear my voice say to her, “It’s okay, really.” But my tone sounds sharp; my words taste bitter. I feel wildly disappointed, achy, and alone. And there’s no doubt she knows it. She can read the signs, the body language.

I turn to leave, before she sees that I’m ridiculously close to tears. I fake a cheery, “We’ll make it work another time!”

But I hear the pain etched inside of her goodbye. I’ve made her feel bad.

Now there are two of us feeling awful.

Hurt People Hurt People

Driving home, I remember the saying, “Hurt people hurt people.”

I am the hurting. And I am the hurter. I hurt her, my friend whom I love.

All the way home, my sadness widens. Grief opens a wide chasm underneath me. Guilt rushes in with a ferocious voice –

“What kind of sophomoric friend are you?”

“When will you ever stop messing it up?”

“When will you get to the point where you really know who you are in Christ?”

When You Don’t Like Yourself

These are the days when I don’t like myself. These are the days when I hurt myself with accusations, and then I hurt someone I love in the process. Usually, it happens all in the same day – a perfect, furious storm of disappointment.

Sometimes the most impossible person to love is your own self.

I drive home, into the fuzzy gray air, feeling terribly sorry for myself. And I reach a hand to the  radio knob, to turn up the music.

A recital of truth streams out of the speakers.

“Tell me once again who I am to You, who I am to You,” the singer sings. “Tell me lest I forget who I am to You. I belong to You.”

That’s when the tears fall. The lyrics swell up inside of my heart, and suddenly I re-remember what I re-forgot. (I know, those are not real words, but they’re the most legit ones when you find yourself re-treading old ground. Again.)

I sing along with the song — each lyric an exhale of released hurt: “Tell me once again who I am to You.”

And my knower, which had re-forgotten, began to re-remember.

Believe That You Are Beloved

It seems that God is whispering these words to each of us: “I named you My Beloved. Believe that you are beloved.”

This whisper sinks me deeper into the heart of God – this all-knowing God who loves the unlovable. He knows me better than I know me.

God knows what’s behind the sulfur in our words, and what’s under the pain in our loneliness. He causes us to peel back the top layers, to go farther in to the places where the hurt really started. The only way this can be done, is through God. The only way OUT, is through Him. He moves our hearts to a place where we can hear His questions. The questions come easy, slow, unaccusing:

“Do you know that I love you?”

“Do you know that I like you?”

“Do you remember that living PreApproved requires a daily starting over?”

“Do you know that your friends can’t fix this, your husband can’t fix this, your good works can’t fix this? Do you know that only I can fix this?”

I arrive at my driveway, emptied out, ready for a new refilling. My soul becomes a cup. I marvel at the fact that He chooses to fill it. He chooses to make me sacred, a vessel.

The chasm below me closes up. My words don’t taste so bitter.

I breathe.

I re-remember what I re-forget.

And I walk into the house, the door falling shut behind me.  I dial her number. She answers. I say, “I’m sorry.”

This post is part of our month-long series, “A November to Remember: Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.

How You Can Be a Part of This Movement:

1 – Print out the Scripture sheets. (Click here for printable versions.) Each of the 30 daily Scriptures are quoted in Love Idol, and each one ties back in some way to our identity in Christ. (You don’t have to read the book to participate in this study. But of course, you’re welcome to! 


2 – Find the passage assigned for today’s date.

3 – Consider how God is speaking to you. How does the verse help you remember who you really are, outside of all the cultural noise?

4 – Visit us on the blog, or the Love Idol movement page on Facebook, to share what the verse means to you.

5 – Share your insights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your blog, to add more soul to your scroll. #MoreSoulLessScroll 

 Tag me, so I can find you. (Or feel free to follow along silently! No social-media presence required.)

I’ll post my own response here on the blog every morning at 5 a.m. Sometimes, you’ll find a story, maybe a few short words, maybe a series of photos. That will happen every day, for all of November, God-willing.

Follow Along

If you want to follow along, visit us here every day. Consider subscribing to my blog by clicking here to get these reflections in your email inbox.

The Printables
(Download for printing from Google Drive)

Let this be the November that we remember who we really are: Loved. Preapproved. His.

Find all the posts in the November to Remember series by clicking here.  


So, what’s your Story? (#TellHisStory Linkup)

A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.

You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.

Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.

Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.

Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.

A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?


For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here. Share the love of story by visiting someone else in the community!

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by | November 18, 2014 | 20 comments


  1. Candace Creates

    Music can be so healing and brings us immediately into a new perspective. I’m glad you turned that radio knob so He could fill you. Our emotions can run wild on us. Mine do it often! Beautiful story, as always, Jennifer.

    • dukeslee

      Yeah. Music transports me into His presence. Thanks Candace

  2. Mary Bonner

    Hurt people hurt people…I’ve never heard that, but I know it to be true. And I have found myself doing the hurting more than I care to remember. Once again, your raw, lyrical writing has touch me in my secret place…the place I don’t like to go to. The place I do not like to remember, but one that I must deal with…slowly, this series is helping me do that. Peeling back one layer at a time. Slowly, carefully applying the salve of His word and your words, praying and asking for forgiveness…sometimes a painful process, but one that needs to be done. Thank you, Jennifer.

    • dukeslee

      You are so welcome, Mary. I didn’t particularly want to go here either, so you’re not alone. 🙂

  3. Amy Jung

    Been there…done that! I long for the day when my emotions will never get the best of me again! Thank you for reminding me what the root of those moments are. A need to know and grasp fully who I am in Christ. As always–your writing has blessed me!

    • dukeslee

      Exactly, Amy! How I’m feeling about MYSELF vastly affects how I respond to others. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Katie Reid

    He’s been speaking something similar to me…that He wants to make me well (emotionally) but that for that to happen I need to be willing to be made well- which means His help in changing mindsets and habits that have held me down for years. So, thank you for this window in to help speak this again to my need for healing.

  5. ro elliott

    Don’t we all hate when the junior high girl shows up… ugh… God and I have been and i guess will be on a life long journey of Him always gently reminding me… fill up with me… fill up with me… so I don’t have to get my worth from others… how in my emptiness I don’t grab to fill up… I long to live full… and loving others out of that fullness… I heard someone say… we are either ascribing worth to ourselves at the cost of others… or ascribing worth to others at the cost of ourselves… I want to live Cross like love… and this only can come as we abide in the vine… being poured into and filled up…and we than can give out of that flow… life long journey indeed!!!

  6. Monica Sharman

    Awesome to see how God used the song. I could feel the transformation as I read the beginning (sulfur!) through to the end (“emptied out, ready for a new refilling. My soul becomes a cup”). And how it happened before you pulled up the driveway.

    God bless you. How you peeled back the layers.

    Hurt people hurt people. And also, people who feel threatened by or afraid of you could be dangerous to you. I thought of this when I read Deuteronomy 2:4 the other day:

    New Living Translation:
    “Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful.”

    English Standard Version:
    “and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful.”

    New American Standard Bible:
    “and command the people, saying, “You will pass through the territory of your brothers the sons of Esau who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful;”

    King James Bible:
    “And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:”

    Holman Christian Standard Bible:
    “Command the people: You are about to travel through the territory of your brothers, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, so you must be very careful.”

    People are dangerous when they think the other person is dangerous! So . . . maybe people would be less likely to hurt us if we make sure they know they don’t have to be afraid of us—that they are safe with us.

  7. Sheila Kimball

    I’ve been away for what seems like a million years rebranding and revising my website but it’s always so good to read one of your stories, Jennifer. And how I can relate to those”bad feelings” that God tells us not to have in the JB Phillips 1 Corinthians 13. Yet sometimes we gotta work it out in all our humanness and having a friend along side is the greatest blessing. THANKS

  8. Alecia Simersky

    Yes! Sometimes I think I am my own worst enemy!

  9. Anita

    It’s so hard to remember that we have to love ourselves if we want anything to love in comparison to.

  10. Karrilee Aggett

    Ah yes… I re-remember what I re-forgot often too! My girlie and I… we literally have “Beloved” etched into our skin so we can re-remember whenever we re-forget! Love you so, and I am loving digging in to His word with you, verse by verse, my friend!

  11. Sheila Campbell

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who has to re-learn
    and re-remember almost on a daily basis that I am truly loved. This song by
    Jason Grey was ‘my song’ not long after it came out. It spoke deeply to my
    heart during a difficult time when I was trying to sort through and deal with
    some ugly issues in my past. When guilt and shame would bombard my heart,
    I would pop in this CD and listen over and over. Oh how sweet to be reminded that we are His beloved.

    Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing so openly and honestly!

  12. Jenny

    Thank you for hosting. I am always, always forgetting what I know–especially when I’m scared.

  13. Dawn

    Isn’t it amazing how we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of expectations. Isn’t it a beautiful thing when our hearts connect, even in the hurting moments because if grace is really an existing force that connects our hearts to the One who authors it and those who receive it, then we get to exhibit a bit of that to one another when we each need it.
    I am guilty of putting so much into those moments that I have been looking forward to, planning, hoping and waiting for a sort of magic moment of relief. I work hard to be someone who keeps appointments and makes the effort, investing. When it is not reciprocated I find myself caught in a torrent of waves of disappointment that push me to be guarded and hold back from connecting. Yet, that isn’t the answer either. It is the grace we can have with one another, whether we understand or not and the running to the One who really meets the needs that send us to our knees. 🙂
    Thanks for writing real, Jennifer. I really appreciate that about you.

  14. Elizabeth Stewart

    Sometimes I think the greatest thing we can do is to speak out the truth in the face of satan’s bombardment of our mind with his lies. I love that here, you are speaking out the truth for all of us to “hear”.

  15. Mindy Whipple

    “Believe that you are Beloved” Sounds so easy and yet we make it so hard sometimes. We have sung the song you mentioned at church and it gets me every time. We belong. We matter. We are preapproved. Love your heart Jennifer…

  16. Lisa Brown

    Jennifer your post today has really blessed me. I don’t like myself today and I can relate to your story. I am overwhelmed by God’s unconditional love for me. Thanks for writing this. I am a new blogger. I get excited to post. But honestly my world has changed ever since i started reading other peoples blogs. Today while I was reading your post, I kept thanking God for writers like you. You Jennifer Duke made a huge difference in my day.



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