Affection is a key part of any meaningful, enjoyable friendship. By affection I mean the feeling of genuinely liking someone, of wanting to spend some amount of time with them, of being interested in their well-being, of accepting them as they are. Affection is one of the building blocks of love. My life totally changed 28 years ago this week, when I (finally) recognized that a certain young lady from Marietta, Georgia, was paying attention to me, and I chose to receive her affection.
Even more life-transforming is the moment we receive God’s affection for us. Many of us struggle to accept that God likes us, is on our side, is proud of how far we’ve come, and has our back. We may think instead that God is perpetually annoyed by us, always judging our faults and imperfections and devising painful ways to make us pay for them. These unhealthy suspicions and inaccurate assumptions interfere with our ability to have a growing relationship with God—and they can prevent us from receiving all that God has in mind for us.
One of the most important things we can do for our personal health and wellbeing—not to mention our spiritual growth—is to truly believe, receive, and embrace God’s infinite affection for us, with no qualifications. Just as the affection of a friend or spouse can lighten our load, receiving God’s affection for us can bring us peace, hope, security, and a whole new perspective.
This generally requires that we stop trying to impress or prove ourselves to God. It can help to slow down, clear our minds, sit in silence, and just learn to be mindful of God’s presence in our lives—not as a critic or judge, but as a friend.
What would it look like for you to receive God’s affection? Many people have discovered it through some form of prayer or meditation, especially when they are silent in God’s presence. Find your way to receive God’s affection and you will rise to heights you haven’t yet experienced.