Marianna twirled into the room a few minutes ago decked out in "fairy princess" attire, hands holding out her dress curtsy style, and asked, "Dad, do you like me?" It made me laugh. Maybe she meant "Don't I look pretty?" or maybe anytime a question like that is asked, no matter the particular verbiage, the intent behind it simply to gain assurance of her daddy's approval. What I love is how it was asked: straight up, without any trace of embarrassment or hesitation.
We all need a little old-fashioned affirmation on a regular basis, but the nice thing about being a kid is that you don't have to be shy about asking for it. I can't remember the last time I walked up to anyone and asked point blank, "Do you like me?" but it's still what I want.
Being liked is different than being loved. I know I'm loved--by God, Nathan, my family--but all of them can love me and still be frustrated, annoyed, or displeased with me. That's why I want to do things that make them happy. But who do I want to like me most? The auto-response inside of me immediately says "God", yet when I think about my actions, my answer doesn't sound very believable. I think sometimes it's more important for me to get complete strangers to "like" me than it is to work at God liking me. What I mean is that I do things I know won't please God because I care more about pleasing 1) myself or 2)others. What a crazy phenomenon.
I know that nothing I can ever do will make God love me less. He tells me that in His word and I believe it! I am not saved by works--by trying as hard as I can to please Him--I am saved by grace! My wanting to do what makes God happy stems not from duty but from love. So, what does this all boil down to? I don't love God like I wish I did. Too much of the time I love myself more. I would hope that the experience of having Poppy would have eradicated this love for self from my being, but I'm practical enough to know that that's never going to happen this side of heaven. Instead, it's a process. A daily decision.
I can't make God love me more than He already does, because His love is perfect and complete, unable to be added to. But I can please God when I obey Him, and displease Him when I don't. Does this equate to Him liking me more or liking me less? Maybe. Or maybe it's better just to say that I love God, and because of that, I want to live in such a way to make Him happy, bring Him joy, and give Him honor. Whatever the case, I want to be like Marianna, basking in the approval and love of her daddy.