At my breaking point.
Insert any negative emotion and characteristic here, and I’ve probably felt it recently and over the years. Behind the smile, there’s been these words floating around in my brain.
The words to come are more vulnerable than any blog post I’ve ever written. Not that I haven’t wanted to be absolutely vulnerable before this, but God has been working on my heart to get me to this point… to the point where I am at my wit’s end… the point where God takes over completely because I’m losing control.
Hands lifted and spread apart.
Knees falling to the ground.
Tears staining the carpet.
Anguish spreading through my heart.
Take this, Lord. I can’t bear it anymore. Take it.
I remember when it all started. I was in elementary school, and due to circumstances, I found myself going down a path that has caused me to suffer still to this day. I transitioned from the little girl with crazy blonde hair that stuck out like I had electrocuted myself to an adult in an eight-year-old body.
All of a sudden, I became an overachiever, a hard worker in the unhealthiest of ways, striving so hard for success… to prove myself as worthy, that I was a good person, that I was of value to those around me, that I mattered to the world.
My view of myself changed drastically. The words I described above were a mantra in my brain every single second of every day. You’re worthless. You’re ugly. You’re not good enough. You’re someone who is only good for being used by others. The list goes on, and it gets worse as it goes. If I didn’t have an A in all of my classes, I was stupid. If I didn’t have the attention of guys, I was ugly. If I didn’t succeed in everything, I was a failure.
I have always loved other people so deeply. I have always cared about others to the point that I would do anything to help them when they were in need, even those who had treated me like the dirt off of their shoe. But learning to love myself has been a different, more difficult journey.
Can I be real with y’all? I want to be a child again. I want to be that little girl before she grew up way too early… that little girl who was only concerned with what book she would read next… that pretended to be a school teacher and taught all of her stuffed animals how to add 2 + 2 and about volcanoes in Hawaii… that little girl who would run in the Georgia clay barefoot… who would carry her Harry Potter books around the family farm in a little red wagon with a stick in her hand that she pretended was a wand… that little girl who spent every weekend with her grandparents painting watercolor pictures for them to hang on their fridge… whose favorite snack was frozen peaches… the carefree, joyful little ball of sunshine that begged her dad for a boat ride or to go fishing or to ride the tractor while he farmed.
I want to love myself again… that pure kind of love before the world changes it and morphs it into self-hatred… that pure kind of love that mirrors God’s love for me… I want the ability to accept love without feeling like I have to earn it or be perfect to keep it or be used by someone to get into their good graces.
Our world has skewed the definition of love. Our world says that love comes at the expense of other people or that our journey to loving ourselves should be a selfish one. Love is inherently fair and unselfish to ourselves and others (1 Corinthians 13). If we are treating ourselves with genuine love, there is no way that we can treat others with anything less than what we are giving ourselves.
I need to learn…
To let go.
To do things I enjoy.
To be still.
To be proud of myself—right where I am for who I currently am.
It’s all too easy for me to be proud of my success, but what happens when I fail at something? I haven’t learned to be proud in those failures… to love myself in the midst of those failures… to love myself when life gets messy and I make mistakes.
I’m slowly getting there. I’m proud of the progress that I’m making, but I have such a long way to go. The only way to begin to love myself is by clinging to God.
I must read His Word every day. I must go to Him in prayer. Only then will I see myself the way God sees me, and only then will I be able to silence the noise of negative thoughts and love myself like the God who died on a cross for me loves me.
Only then will I be able to look around at this imperfect life and look inward to this imperfect person and thank God for what I have and who I am.
Sin is so ugly. Bad things are so dark, but God’s light shines so brightly in the darkness and His blood covers even the ugliest sins. How amazing for a sinner like me?!
His blood covers the ugliest sins that I’ve done, and His light shines in the darkest places of me.
I must give myself the grace that God gives me. I’m flawed. I make mistakes. I need grace.
I always say “I can’t wait until I start living in freedom…” “I can’t wait until this… or that…”
Today is the day. Right now is the moment. I’m free right now. God will take care of the rest… this “cleaning up of my life before I get to heaven” business. All of this hustling I’ve been doing… He’s never required me to do all of that.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Show mercy in love.
Yes, Lord. I will be obedient (even the commands that tell me to rest, be still, rely on You).
Yes, Lord. I will show mercy in love (even to myself who I’ve viewed as undeserving of it).
Yes, Lord. I will be humble (which also means not thinking too lowly of myself).
Walking hand in hand with this little crazy-haired eight-year-old blonde down a new path that looks a lot like freedom and healing… anxiety and stress and this constant need to prove myself left far behind.