Many of us have adopted a skewed view of love. The belief that we’re loved for our performance or productivity starts burrowing into hearts when we’re young, and those deep-seeded convictions are hard to overcome. But these beliefs aren’t innocuous. Over time, they kill our souls by drips. Listen in as Amy and Cheri process two truths about who we are that will dismantle the lies that keep us from living loved.
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- Lynn Cowell’s new devo for girls — Loved & Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls
- Lynn Cowell’s website — https://www.LynnCowell.com
- Blog post from Lynn: “He has the Final Say”
- Blog post from Lynn: “Breaking the Score Board”
- Episode #200 Transcript — coming soon!
- Where am I planted?
- How do I go deep?
- Why do I go wide?
Featured Author — Lynn Cowell
Lynn Cowell is a member of the Proverbs 31 speaker and writer teams. As an author of several books, her passion is to empower tweens, teens & women with the confidence of Christ. Her newest book Loved & Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls is ready for pre-order!
Lynn calls home North Carolina, where she and her husband, Greg, and the occasional backyard deer are adjusting to life as “just us”. Greg and Lynn, love spending time with their three adult children hiking, blasting ‘80’s music and anything combining chocolate and peanut butter.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #200: Tapping Into a Love with No Performance Review
Well, Cheri, you gave us our lose who were not this week and it’s you’re not loved based on your performance
I know. My fingers almost froze as I was typing it out and I may have actually deleted it several times and typed it and gone. No, that can’t be true. You’re not loved based on your performance. I just you know, that is still so hard for me to to let go of to lose you know, even after all these years and you know, I’m thinking of the cover of your first book, breaking up You know, with a woman with this worried expression on her face, and she’s holding a daisy and she’s doing the he loves me, he loves me. He loves me. He loves me not kind of thing. And I just, you know, that hits me at such a visceral level because I live so much of my life that way, and really feeling like he loves me today because I did well, he loves me not today because I didn’t do so well. He loves me today because I got an A, he loves me not today because I got an F you know, just that whole, that whole roller coaster scenario. So, you know, for me, it is one thing to agree in theory that God loves me He sent His Son to die for me. But then if I’m not careful, in my mind, I add Yeah, but now it’s up to me to prevent him from regretting his decision and changing his mind.
So, you know, like, I need to totally hedge my bets here by making sure I put in a really good performance and, you know, let’s be clear. There’s nothing scriptural about this. It’s a totally human approach to love.
And but can we pause there for one second, do it? Because that totally human approach to love skews what we believe about who God is. Yes. So it’s not innocuous. No, it’s not something that it’s like, oh, well, maybe I’ll get to this tomorrow. No, we have to attack it today. So keep going. Sorry. I’m so
No, no, that’s very important. Very important. Because, yes, absolutely. And, you know, looking back now, and again, I’m just looking at this from a human perspective, I can remember. I remember growing up feeling and knowing that my parents loved me like that was that was a foundational belief and truth. But I also remember that when I didn’t perform according to their standards, I could feel as if they loved me not as if their love had been withdrawn. I’m not saying that was actually true. I’m just saying that’s how it could feel based on the responses I saw from them. And it felt like the loved one withdrawn until I got myself back on track, and then the love show back up again. And I know, just by looking back at my own behavior as a parent, and from conversations with Anne Marie, that I did the same thing with her like we had this really close mother daughter bond until she got those tattoos. And then it she didn’t. And now I’m telling you her perception, which I agree with, I’m not trying to say, Oh, she just perceived it that way. But really, she should have perceived it my way. No, she didn’t just feel like there was a lessening of love or a loss of my love. My reactions to her felt like my mom hatesme. Like she spent years feeling like I hated her because of how I responded that that human response like you said, this human response isn’t innocuous. It hurts our relationship to God, it hurts our relationships to other people. And, you know, it boils down to we have a terrible time grasping God’s unconditional love. So it’s one thing to say God loves me and another thing to really, really believe it. Absolutely, hang on. I’m gonna say that again. Because we’ve had a squeaky garage door. It’s one thing to say God loves me. And it’s another thing to really believe that God’s love has nothing to do with my performance at all. It is completely God’s love is completely unrelated to my performance. Now, let’s be clear my ability to see and receive God’s love is certainly influenced by my choices, but my performance doesn’t change God like God couldn’t hate me if he tried. Scripture makes it really clear that God is love.
Right and he couldn’t even love you less if he tried so it’s not even a love or hate it’s you know, because there’s always this sliding scale and a performance oh my god is so treated heart isn’t there.
True and God is is a he is fit. He has a fixed mark on eternal unconditional love.
Now you won’t ancillary to this.
I do and there cuz there Very closely tied to each other in mine is you are not love based on your productivity.
performance and productivity are tied together. There’s my paper bag Are you sure about this gave me
a lot done lately. I feel so lovable.
And I’ve gotten very little done lately and I feel so unlovable. So this, this was top of mind, you know, it really was I feel this has been a strange season. And it’s not that I’ve been lazy. It’s just that there’s not as much to do. And it’s made me very, very aware that if I’m not running on the hamster wheel, that I start to feel a little unloved and that’s not a healthy thing. So it really became apparent this past weekend. I was leading a breakout session as she speaks, which some of you knows some of you know as the conference for speakers and writers and leaders that proverbs 31 does and and I was leaving This community group well you know, I’m leading the community group I’m supposed to be the big girl right? The, the little bit ahead person the steps ahead. But when it came time, the closer it got time for my session to run to all these people preceded by many, many amazing speakers or insecure I was about the product, it already been pre recorded. So it wasn’t that I was nervous about being live and I felt like I felt like it went well recorded it but, but that insecurity about my product started really creeping in and I found myself being actually physically very, very nervous. So my my little community group, they had to reassure me.
What I love about this is you had stage fright, even though you weren’t going on stage. It was pre recorded and now it was but it was the the exposure factor it was the the vote the pre vulnerability hangover that you couldn’t change it if you tried like you couldn’t do any last minute. Wow, it was
it was done. It was done but it was the worry of how are people gonna perceive me except me Love me based on a product that I now couldn’t do anything about. Alright, so I’m glad you had people encouraging you. So yeah,
it was sweet. It really was sweet and I was like Sorry, you’ll have to do my job but you know, um, so but it’s that I have this red flag that when I start feeling not loved and cherished, that I have to remind myself I’m not being judged on my my performance or my product than God is love.
I love that you recognize that as a red flag because I think for so many of us when we start feeling not Loved or not cherished, we just go straight into thinking it’s the truth. Instead of recognizing Whoa, whoa, whoa, Red Alert, Red Alert, Red Alert. Here’s a problem.
Knowledge took me years to switch that way of thinking. But I think you’re in that place to that when you become aware of it. Yes, then you can start to address
excellent Alright, so let’s move on from lose who you’re not. So we’ve said you’re not loved based on your performance and I love your ancillary you’re not love based on your productivity. So let’s move into love who you are. What statement did you come up with for this?
You are a woman with gifts to share and it was so funny to come up with that because it’s kind of tied into the product. Yes, yeah. Very often our gifts lead to products but are not loved because Are lovable because of, of the product. But we are live because of the gift because it’s our Creator that was the gift into us. So it’s not because of the work that I’ve done. So for example, I’m loved by God because of his gift of joy that he has woven into me. But when I cross over to productivity or performance, I feel like I have to be joyful for God to love me. Gotcha. So it’s the healthy knowing that you’re loved because God was this thing into you and then that unhealthy side is when we cross over and we feel like we’re only loved when we’re performing in that gift and producing in that gift. So you know, it’s funny because, okay, I’m we decided we’re going to talk a little bit about gardening today. So I haven’t done a lot of gardening this year, but I have this new obsession.
You want to know what it is do tell My fiddle leaf fig, white. Okay, so I bought a fiddle leaf fig plant.
You mean that’s the name of something? Yes. Oh
yes, it’s a fiddle leaf fig. And if you know what it is and you start looking for in every decorating magazine being produced now there are fiddley figs in abundance like they’re the in plant. I know that sounds crazy right? But here’s how in they are. I did not realize that fiddly fig owners are our whole community. And so I started looking for some resources on YouTube about how to take care of my family flip fig say that fast three times this really bad little leaf leg. I federally flag that I think I said Flint again, that’s hilarious. But anyway, so I started looking for how to take care of it because I hear they’re finicky. Now so now we’re fiddle leaf, finicky fiddle leaf figs. Oh my word. And so I was looking on YouTube and I found this great YouTube a whole channel devoted to fiddle effects. And then I found out that they have a private Facebook group. No. So I went to Facebook and I join the group. Sherry guess how many people are in the fiddly fig group?
to you and one other
29,000 Oh, yes, it’s a cult. I’m telling it. It’s a cult like here. My entire Facebook feed now is people taking pictures of the friendly.
I just googled fiddly fig and some of them are enormous. Yes,
they can get very big but if you clip them at the right place, you can also propagate them and keep them from getting huge. I know more now about federally fix that I ever wanted to know. And our friend Bethany Hauer posted something the other day about hers. I thought she was part of this crazy Kool Aid drink or group that I’m part of. And then I realized, Oh, it’s Bethany. And so I entered these churches. Great. So there’s now 29th you’re a pusher.
Yeah, yeah, totally. So anyway,
everybody names their fiddly fig Bethany’s. fiddley fig is named Ophelia. I didn’t even know it was a thing when I did it. There’s something about your fiddly fig that demands a name. So because I had named mine already and didn’t even know other people, everybody thinks there’s So mine is Felicia.
Felicia little finicky.
Oh my word.
But here’s the thing that I realized about Felicia. So I have been so excited because she has grown aggressively. She’s doing great. And so I delight her when she is putting out new leaves. But I don’t just delight in her when she’s putting out new leaves I love the way she looks standing in the corner of my office just standing there doing nothing but being a fiddle leaf fig as
No I love I love where I think this is going
of the way God sees me and you and the rest of our listeners is just a delight when we’re being fruitful and putting out new leaves and growing and thriving. Of course he does. But does he love just love us just standing there too? He does. It’s amazing. What a fiddle a flick. Gonna Say fiddley flag every time
A fiddle leaf fig will teach you.
Oh my word. I love that so much.
There’s a whole long rabbit hole. No, that’s
a great rabbit trail. We’re keeping that all in. And here’s what I love. I love that your love who you are statement connected so strongly to your ancillary You’re not loved based on your productivity. And so I double check mine and it totally does. So my it’s my statement love who you are is you are a work in progress. And that totally connects to our let me make sure I get this right that totally connects to you. You’re not loved based on your performance work in progress. So Okay, back to this plant plant thing we got going on here. So last week, I got called out to help Jonathan with his overgrown tomato plants. He decided early before the shutdown even began here in California. He built a an appraiser can garden and plant got a bunch of actually free tomato plants. We’d love the price on that and he planted them. And early on, it became pretty clear that he might have planted a few too many and they might have been just a little too close together and he didn’t have any stakes for them. And so they began to grow, we had quite a bit of sun, and he’s gone out and done some tending to them. But let’s just say that some of these tomato vines were, oh, I’m going to say at least an inch to an inch and a half around like they had really leaving, they were starting to be like tree branch kind of, kind of, and they had decided that they wanted to come into the house with us. So this whole planter box was, I don’t know, three to six feet away from the house and they were just like, heading our way. And I would say that they looked like they had fallen over and fallen out of the garden space. But literally they had just that’s how they had vines. That’s how they had directed themselves. Finding is the wrong word. They don’t I discovered three and a half hours, maybe three and a half hours trying to help get these these plants under control. I discovered that they don’t actually have tendrils, they don’t find that way because he was also done pea plants, nappies and sugar peas, and those actually have little tendrils, but tomato plants, they just kind of like mesh themselves around each other. So we had a ton, a ton of little green tomatoes, and a lot of them were cherry tomatoes, and they actually look like grape clusters. And because they were so heavy and falling over, they were either in danger of the branches breaking, or they had already started to break. And especially these clusters of ripening tomatoes were in danger of just falling off. And so we’re out there and we’re trying to figure out how to support them. And I won’t go into the details of the frame we built and how much twine we use to literally just kind of lift things up so that they would all kind of be off the ground and all that kind of stuff. But here’s the thing. As we were working in, I went out there and I thought 1520 minutes, I’ll help them out and then he could keep going. But it became very clear that it was a two person job like somebody had to hold the plant. Somebody had to do the tying and all that kind of stuff. My initial reaction was so performance based. I spent like the first hour thinking all of this work could have been prevented. We don’t have to be doing this right now. If he had only had a plan if he’d only spent more time if he’d only done this sooner, bla bla bla bla bla. But I realized partway into it, you know, as my mind did the math and I’m like, oh, we’re gonna be out here for at least three hours, it became very, very clear that it was a full afternoon. And you know, so I’m saying goodbye to all my plans, my plans to do other performances, right? I realized that fretting about what I should have been what should have happened, what he should have done was a waste of time. Like, why spend any time on that? Because we can’t go back and fix the past Who knew? And the other thing I realized is Jonathan was completely unconcerned. Like at no point did he was he saying things like, I’m so sorry, I should have done this differently. He was actually curious. He was like, Oh, okay. And he kept making verbal notes of what he’ll do next time. And I realized that for him, this was nothing but a learning experience. Like to him nothing had gone wrong. There was he wasn’t grading himself. He wasn’t frustrated about the amount of time That was being spent, he wasn’t beating himself up. He wasn’t even like when when he had to get rid of a branch that that had some tomatoes, he just flung it into a pile. I’m like running over and rescuing it and stick it into water to see if we can still salvage these tomatoes because I was so stuck on performance like outcome, like, that’s what matters. And for him the process, the process was mattered. And so and I realized, I could enter into that same frame of mind that this first tomato garden wasn’t about the end result the product, but that really it was about what we were learning together and we could have a lot of fun together, or I could make it miserable. And I chose to just have fun and work together. And now Okay, maybe if it ever happens a second time, I will lose my ever loving mind. Let’s just be clear on that. You know, where did
those notes go from last year?
But it was a real glimpse into the kind of patients I think God has for us that you know, He doesn’t look at when I’m, I’m all sprawled out and not growing quite the way that I ought to be growing. I, you know, for him to go, she’s learning, she’s beat she is producing, and she’s learning and I’m training her and she’s responding to me. And it’s all gonna be okay. And so that was a great illustration for me of what it’s like to be a work in progress.
Oh, and I just thought of another thing too, that if you were that tomato plant, you are still fruitful. Yes. I mean, those tomato plants. This is why you grow things. And in California, in Cary, North Carolina, let’s be clear, those they would have been long gone dead fried in the sun. But those tomato plants were in the right environment. Mm hmm. And even though they weren’t perfect, and perfectly state, that they were still fruitful, very fruitful,
facing very, very fruitful and Can I just say that being able to get a bowl and put in homegrown tomatoes and then we’ll have to talk about my homemade cheese in another episode I am I’ve gone nuts making homemade mozzarella and it is to die for and I learned how to make a balsamic reduction. Oh,
and so are you having Caprese salad it yes all the time. Like we talked about the bottle plants it’s so easy is it? Okay,
moving on to the application portion
of all of this
all right so Sherry give us some questions to ask ourselves so we can apply all of this knowledge that Lynne dropped on us and all the plant allegories how do we put help us tie this all together please
alright so we’re gonna move we’re moving from lose we’re not love who you are to live your one life well, and so yeah, I don’t know what why somebody plant analogies, but you know, as I was reading Listening to our interview with Lynn. You know, it became so clear with her talking about what would have been like to have really grasped this when we were children. You know, the the whole idea that having a strong foundation in God’s love is is vital to everything. And to realize to really in every fiber of our being to realize he loves you, no matter what his His love is the one thing that is an absolute constant in our lives with so much change and uncertainty. That is 100% guaranteed. And I was just thinking a number of years ago, we had a huge storm go through on campus. We lost 15 trees, big, big trees went down. And as I drove around, I’ll see if I can find a picture of it and actually posted on the web page for this episode. These these trees had enormous root systems, but they had gone wide but shallow, which is why these big tall strong trees fell over and took a massive amount Have land with them. I mean, it was just, it’s really amazing to see. And it was just a great reminder that we need to be rooted deeply in God’s love reaching deep for that living water, because that’s what was happening with these trees is that they they branched out to get to water because the water was so much on the surface, but they hadn’t built a root system that went down deep, that got the water and also kept them anchored into the ground. So I’m not really a gardener. Okay, let’s be clear, but I do know that when we want a tree to grow deep roots, we put a hose on it. And right at the base and we soak it it’s a it’s just a slow constant water so that the water sinks in deep and if you just put out a sprinkler, the sprinkler coast, the sprinkler puts out a lot of water. It goes wide but it goes shallow and that’s good for other purposes, but it’s not good for getting a tree to develop deep roots.
So three questions you can ask yourself as you focus on living your one life. Well, the first one is where am I planted? And this reminds me of Colossians two seven, which says, plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life.
The second question is, how do I go deep? And what I loved the verse that the verse that Lynn shared with us is kind of the foundation of her episode. Jeremiah 31 three says, The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. And I love that last part, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness So how do I go deep? It’s not about me. God is constantly wooing us. He loves me. He loves me, he loves me. And that is what draws us to go deep with him. And then why do I go wide? Like if I go wide to get watered by other people, I’m going to end up totally dry. But when we go wide to share with others from the overflow, then that’s going to be a healthy reason for going wide. So where am I planted? How do I go deep? And why do I go wide? lead us into some action zany?
Well, and I think that these are things that tap directly into that. So number one is take time. I mean, going deep takes time. There is no substitute for time with God and not as an action item. I have to confess that recently, I feel like it’s been an action item in my life and I have when I wrote this, I reminded myself that As a source of joy and as a source of knowing that deep love in your life. Number two, savor the silence. I thought back to one of our previous interviews and our interviewee maybe you can remember who it was she Michel de Russia? Yes, she encouraged us to set a timer for five minutes every day and be silent. And I had done that for a long time, but I’m stopped. Hmm. And this and I just had an interview last week on a different podcast that reminded me I need to do this every day saver. So take time, savor the silence. And then based on your question, offer overflow. You know, for years and years, I felt like every time God handed me a blessing, whether it will talk today about just the blessing of knowing where love, I would How would receive that blessing and I’d be like, Thank You, Jesus, you’re so sweet to me, and I would just hug that blessing and Pet that blessing. You know, I just add it to my pile of blessings. But one day, I know during my quiet time Jesus whispered to me and said, you know, Amy, that blessing wasn’t just for you, for you to pass on. And love is like that, right? We have that old song in our heritage, Sherry about pass it on, you know, and we, when we receive the blessing of love, it does nourish us, but it wasn’t meant to hoard ever. It was meant for overflow it was meant to pass on.
All right, well, for me the grit in all of this is, ah, it is still gonna be letting go of that need to perform. It is it is you know, even though I told you that lovely story about you know, being in the garden with Jonathan and the tomatoes and all of that. There’s still that part of me that’s like, Yeah, but if, but if we could have just done it right in the first place
instead of enjoying the process, Instead of trusting that we are beat that we are works in progress and in process and that God loves us in all stages of our lives, regardless and so for me the grit, you know, that I, when you were saying, you know, five minutes of silence to listen to, I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate, because five minutes of silence is five minutes of non productivity. Come on, girl. What’s with that? Yeah,
yes, yeah. Well, it depends on how we define productivity. True, Yes, true. Oh, Cali convicts, so convicting
grace and all of this for you.
For me, I think the grace is just that love is received. I can’t, I can’t earn it. I can’t drum it up. I can’t strive for it. I can’t hustle for it. All I’m called to do all God calls me to do is to receive it with which has to be it that’s a place of rest, you know, from all the stress hustling and performing and productivity that we rest and receive love.