One of the practices we encourage to work on regularly is the synonym/antonym exercise: taking short passages of scripture that speak to your heart, personalizing them (where God speaks directly to you), and then replacing some of the words that are significant to you with synonyms or antonyms. This helps nurture being loved by the Lord, and many who practice this regularly experience a deeper internalization of God’s Word. Creating an atmosphere where the Lord can speak through you and in your own voice often softens the heart to being loved by Him.
Here is a synonym/antonym version from Jeremiah 29. Take a moment to read it a few times, slowly, even out loud so that you may hear the Father speak to your heart directly…
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. When you call on me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you!” (Jeremiah 29:11-14a, NIV).
SYNONYM/ANTONYM (“Amplified”) VERSION
“My beloved, I am the Lord your God and I am with you. Because I am all-knowing and transcend time, I know everything about you and what is to come. Even the plans I have for you I am confident about, not only because of who I am but because I know your heart and care about every detail that makes up your life. My design includes you! I have spent more time than you can imagine making sure you are cared for and loved. I give you purpose each and every day, purpose meant to blossom and thrive. With me you cannot fail, even when things don’t seem to be going as you hoped. I want you to have what you long for, while at the same time I want you to long for me first—as I long for you and love you, my joy and my crown; my priceless possession. When you put your hope in me first, you set yourself free on a course away from the past and poised for anticipation to enjoy all my wonders. Don’t you see? I am the gateway to a future of complete joy where I will give you all the desires of your heart, because you will be in me and I in you . . . forever. I am the author of hope and creator of your future, so call on me and draw near to me so we can nurture our love for one another in conversation and experience. Don’t turn away from me. I see what happens when you depart from me in your thoughts and deeds and it isn’t pretty. Pay close attention to me in all things throughout your day and my peace will bind Satan’s ploys. Speak my Word(s) and I will listen; talk to me freely—I will not ignore you. See, I will never leave you or forsake you, for you are my beloved. “ – Abba