A few nights ago, I was settled on the couch knitting and watching some of the videos from the American History course that Munchkin will be taking in high school this year. In one of the first video lectures, the teacher said something that stuck with me. He said that God didn’t create us because He needs us, but simply because He wanted to. I paused the video, walked into the kitchen, unloaded the dishwasher, and pondered this.

I’ve spent the better part of my lifetime trying to make up for not being wanted by making sure that I was needed. That burden of not being wanted always colored how I thought God viewed me too. It’s an awful thing for a child to feel like they have to justify their existence, and when you carry that into your faith, you wind up with a works-based view of salvation. Sure, it’s by Jesus’ sacrifice that your sins can be forgiven, but you still have to prove that you can be good enough to warrant that redemption. You never can. I know this now, and I know that my salvation is not contingent upon me “earning” it.

And yet… there’s still that spot in the back of my mind that can’t quite shake the label “unwanted”.

I put plates in my cupboard and hung mugs on cup hooks. I wondered if there was something to what that history teacher said. Dare I hope that God created me simply because He wanted to? Wanted me?

It’s hard to put into words the deep sense of shame attached to being unwanted by a parent. There’s something about that label that just sticks to you like crazy glue, no matter how much you try to scrub it away. Always thinking that maybe, if you can scrub hard enough, be good enough, and prove that you’re worth loving, then you will be wanted. It doesn’t matter how much you try, how hard you work, or how long you wait, it’s just not enough. You’re not enough. Even if you can get past that a bit and understand that you can’t possibly earn your redemption, there’s still that label, stuck to you, convincing you that God only tolerates you. He couldn’t truly want you. If your earthly father didn’t, then why would your Heavenly Father? The lie that comes with that label is a powerful one. Perhaps it can be countered with a more powerful truth:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 ESV

The fingerprint of the Divine on each of us, even me. Not a mistake needing to be fixed, but rather an image-bearer of the Creator. Not lesser, and certainly not unwanted. Redeemed and refined because I am already valued.

Despite the scars left by labels and lies, the truth soothes old wounds. I was never truly unwanted after all…