The 8 Words We Most Long to Hear

By on February 9, 2015
8 words we most long to hear

By Kit Tosello –

Unless you slept through the 80s and have never attended a wedding, you’ve probably sung or even smooched to Billy Joel’s Grammy Award-winning lyric: “Don’t go changing . . . . I love you just the way you are.”

More recently, Bruno Mars scored a hit with another single titled “Just the Way You Are.” New song. Timeless theme. Why do lyrics like these make our hearts swell like nothing else … and sell a ton of records?

Early on in our romantic relationship, my now-husband focused his sea-blue eyes on mine and said “I love you.” But his eyes communicated something more: “I love everything about you, and you are worthy of my love.” Yowza. That kind of talk, spoken or unspoken, is irresistible. In my case, it probably clinched the deal. (Cue the wedding march!)

Don’t go changing

Nearly thirty years down the road, I see a reflection in the mirror that’s altered. I’m no longer a glowing bride with flawless skin and flat abs. It’s not just my body; the passing years have also transformed my mind and soul. I’ve given birth, learned excruciating lessons, and collected a few regrets.

The things I now think are important look less like the ideals of my younger self. It’s probably safe to say that my most flattering changes are those places where I yielded to God’s work in me instead of fighting it.

So, apologies, Mr. Joel, but none of us will “always be that same-old someone.” We will go changing, and that’s not a bad thing; it’s by design.

Just the way you are

Isn’t it a constant battle to look honestly at ourselves without being discouraged? It’s impossible to love well or feel lovable while we’re wrestling against insecurity, shame and self-condemnation.

If I draw my self-acceptance from my husband, from what source will he draw his? How could he meet that need all the time? It’s a recipe for relational disaster. We were meant to draw our ability to love ourselves and others from the infinite well of our creator’s adoration.

After Jesus was baptized, he heard the Father’s voice say, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

In Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen tells how those words “reveal the most intimate truth about all human beings”—that we too are God’s Beloved.

Nouwen writes:

Beneath all my seemingly strong self-confidence there remained the question: “If all those who shower me with so much attention could see me and know me in my innermost self, would they still love me?” That agonizing question, rooted in my inner shadow, kept persecuting me and made me run away from the very place where that quiet voice calling me the Beloved could be heard.

We find in ourselves a paradox. We long to be fully known and deeply loved, yet inwardly and often unconsciously, our hearts simmer in a sour broth of unworthiness. When we acknowledge that our Heavenly Father is always focusing his eyes on us, saying he knows and treasures us as we are, our ability to love others has an origin. Like the headwaters of a river, it’s where love begins.

Nouwen puts it like this:

We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives . . . . That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, “You are my Beloved.”

Good thing I didn’t marry a man who expected me not to change. My beauty is, shall we say, mellowing, and I’m sure not the same old someone that I was. Today, when his blue eyes say, “I still love you, just the way you are now,” it means more than ever.

But it’s only a glimpse of the way my Father knows and adores me. He expects and encourages me to change . . . although he never will.

I like to think I’m becoming more beautiful each time I bathe in those headwaters, comfortably nestled in my true identity as an unconditionally loved child of God. It’s like a holy spa day, every day. I am God’s beloved.

Wherever you’re at today, bask in this: he loves you just the way you are.

 

Kit Tosello is co-author of Fifty Shades of Loved, a collection of essays, quotes, and poetry written by women who share a central vision of who we are, of what it means to be female and what it means to be loved, that is rooted in faith in God. Available at Amazon and other retailers. Find more encouragement from Kit at AnotherBrokenHallelujah.com.

Kit Tosello

About Kit Tosello

Kit Tosello is the editorial director for Deep River Books, a wife, mother, writer and avid power napper. Formerly a kitchen designer, she now writes features for the local paper and contributes articles to ezines with a central theme of hope. Kit is co-author of Fifty Shades of Loved, available at Amazon. Her days consist of taking delight, giving praise, stomping on her fears and avoiding housework. Follow Kit on Twitter and on her blog, AnotherBrokenHallelujah.com.

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The 8 Words We Most Long to Hear