A few weeks ago I stumbled across the following quote from a nineteenth-century journalist named Ludwig Börne: “You are not loved when you are a lovable person; you become lovable when you are loved.”
This quote came to mind a few days ago after an event that tested my skills as a teacher-in-training. Then, as often, I asked myself: do I have what it takes to be a good teacher? Instead of a clear reply, the memory of the scene I had just left—and many others like it—provided the overwhelming feeling of being ordinary.
For a long time, I have subscribed to the lie that to be lovable, I must be extraordinary in some respect: whether physically, athletically, academically, socially or otherwise. I feel least lovable when I fall short or fail. This was one of those times.
That was when I thought of this quote. Now, I know very little about Ludwig Börne and cannot pretend to know his intent when he said these words. But viewed in a Christian context, this quote is quite powerful.
From the moment that Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden, all humankind was marked for failure, having “sinned and [fallen] short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Without God’s help, none of us were lovable people. We lacked the ability to love anyone, especially God. We had nothing to offer, nothing to make ourselves more beautiful or our piety more palatable in His sight. The burden to change that was completely on Him.
We became lovable not because of anything we did but because God chose to give His love—the greatest love, in fact, that ever existed—to us.
Isn’t that freeing? We can be secure in God’s love, no longer needing others to affirm that we are lovable. Undoubtedly, we will sometimes be ordinary. We will fail too—that’s just part of being human. But in those moments, remember this: we are not lovable because we made ourselves that way; we became lovable when God first loved us.
 Börne, Ludwig. Gesammelte Schriften. Tendler, 1868. Google Books. 24 January 2018.
English translation taken from https://thatswhywelovegermany.tumblr.com/post/116535112427/nicht-wenn-du-liebensw%C3%BCrdig-bist-wirst-du