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 (or “amplified”) version from one of our “Love Verses” in Isaiah. 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…
“I say, you are my servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” . . . “For you are precious and honored in my sight and I love you.” (Isaiah 41:9-10; 43:4)
SYNONYM/ANTONYM (“Amplified”) VERSION
My child, it is I who speak Truth to all who are willing to listen. My Truth is just that—TRUTH—even when some choose not to listen. But when you listen for my voice, be assured that I speak the Truth to you and about you. So I tell you the truth: you are my servant. I have carefully selected you for this special purpose. And I have done so not as an act of authority or rule (although I would be perfectly justified to do so simply based on who I am and my sovereignty over all things), but I have done this as a sign of trust and confidence. Just as any great leader would entrust their innermost thoughts, their plans and their dreams to a loyal assistant, so I do the same with you by calling you my servant. I am entrusting the wisdom and knowledge of who I am and my mission in my Son Jesus to you. I am equipping you for my purposes because of the gifts I have given you, including the gift of faith. So have faith in me, that I, the King of the universe, Master of all things, Father of all creation, Savior and Spirit, have chosen you and not disowned you (which also would be justified because of your sin; but I am a gracious God and my Son, Jesus has paid your debt in full – please remember that!).
I realize that because of this calling, you may feel a sense of panic come over you. You must have courage and not let those feelings dissuade you from pursuing me and my calling for you. Why? Because I am always by your side, even when you don’t sense me there; even when you forget about me and get caught up in your daily routine. I never leave you. “Like a shepherd I gather you under my arms and carry you close to my heart.” You may not notice this all the time and admittedly that can be disappointing, but it is true that I am always with you “to the very end of the age.” So don’t be upset when you are challenged by life or even by my calling; I assure you that you will be alright for I am your God . . . and who would know better?
Do your best to rely on me more and more each day, to trust that I will fortify your spirit and not let you become disheartened. If only you’d turn to me in times of weakness, then I will be strong through you and in you and over you! This aid I bring comes best when you relinquish yourself and put me first.”Seek my face” and “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” When you do so I will support you with the glorious riches of the Holy Spirit. I will not let go in times of need, for you are invaluable to me. I know you don’t see that and doubt if it’s true, but believe me—the Holiest of Holies and Lord of Lords—you are dearly loved by me. Stop your thoughts of feeling worthless or useless. Look back on your life and see how much I have accomplished through you for my Kingdom! You may think you have disgraced me by your past (and future) sins, but stop dwelling on that and be content in my washing you clean “as white as snow” by the blood of the Lamb. This has been done to save you and bring you into a right relationship with me once again for all eternity, but also so that you can let go of your past and look to the future glory in My presence while “running the race” and doing my work. Remember, I SAY you are my servant, because I value you, I entrust my gifts to you, and I love