“The longer you entertain what’s not for you, the longer you postpone what is.”
That hit me. I wonder where I would be with my life right now, had I not held on so long to the things not meant for me. I wholeheartedly believe in God’s perfect timing, but I also believe that I royally screw up His plan for me, a lot. I get in His way and my own way all the time. That “free will” thing is tricky. Not that it’s all bad. I hold on to hope, which is a positive thing. But sometimes it’s false hope. We think we can change people. We internalize every heartbreak, every unrequited love, every trust that has been broken when we have no control over any of it. We make it about ourselves. Why weren’t we enough? What should we have done differently? Reality check: It’s not about you. I have begun to realize that it’s not about me. It’s out of my hands so I have to stop grasping for control. The more we hold on to, the more space we fill with things that don’t serve us, leaving little room for the things that will. We just keep adding more unnecessary baggage, when we should be dropping it.
We reach, we chase, we hunger for more, more, more. We want what we can’t have and sometimes substitute it for what we can temporarily get by with. More “junk” piling on. More picking up what we should be putting down. Not only do we fill ourselves up with hurtful untruths (because we are our own worst bullies), but the temporary fixes leave us with shame and regret. We need to drop (and stomp on) all of the hurtful self-talk once and for all, because they are lies. When we fill our brains with these lies and negative thoughts, the enemy rejoices and we continue the pattern of hurting ourselves over and over. We literally create our own hell here on earth. We might as well toss the key to the chains that hold us back from finding what is meant to be ours. We feel unworthy so we live unworthy. We allow disrespect, we abandon our own integrity and we break our own hearts, repeatedly. Why? Because we think we deserve it.
One thing I am always working on is believing that I am enough. Because whenever my heart hurts, I wonder why I wasn’t enough. And when, when will I be enough? It’s the little dark place I go to when I just need to be pitiful and self loathing for a minute. The enemy thrives when I go to this dark place. Shame is his strongest weapon and he wants me to stay deep down in the pits because he knows what might happen if I let the light in. I could be a force to reckon with. I could be happy and I could share that light. Which is why I share my truth. I believe that there is a reason for everything. God knew the tribulations I would face and He has armed me with everything I need to get to the other side of it. What has happened to me, what made me stay in the dark places for so long, happened so I could help someone else make it through. I firmly believe that. I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, yet shame has held me back from living in that truth.
The common theme in my past self-esteem and self-worth issues stem from shame and I believe this holds true for most people. I am self-deprecating too as a defense mechanism, because why not make it funny? As I get older, the more humorous it all becomes anyway. That is the best part about aging. I get over things quicker and realize more and more every day all of the ridiculous nonsense that truly doesn’t matter. I can be bullied, I can be called names, be gossipped about and hated and I no longer lose sleep. But when it comes to love…accepting that it’s time to move on is usually a tough pill to swallow. It’s not because I NEED to be with someone. But because I NEED to know that I am worthy of love. I always hold on for too long. And in doing so, the weight of rejection becomes unbearably heavy. Trauma in our most formative years lays the groundwork for what we believe about ourselves. As a child, it made me feel so damaged and worthless. Survival mode took over, leaving me in the prison that I created for myself. Shame had me locked up. Shame delayed my happiness. It can affect future generations if we don’t break the cycle.
Our worth doesn’t come from other people. What others might think or say about us should have no bearing on our love for ourselves. Just like we can’t change the outcome of a failed relationship, we cannot change what someone might choose to believe about us. With age, the desire to be liked starts to diminish, which opens up more space for authenticity and living unapologetically. That is something we can control. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of apologizing for who I am or who I’m not. I’m me. A million puzzle pieces, some black and some colorful, but all put together perfectly by God. The same God who gave us His son, to set us free from shame. If we could only stop doubting His work. If we could only purge all of the lies of the enemy that have become so deeply embedded in our souls. Luckily for all of us, we have a rescuer who specializes in saving souls.
I will always be a work in progress. There will still be hurts, aches and pains. But I choose to see them as growing pains and at least that means I am moving forward. It’s much easier to stay complacent and comfortable but it won’t change the end result. We have to move. We have to grow. We have to fight back against the mindset that feels we don’t deserve good things. No matter what has happened years ago, or even yesterday, with each sunrise we are made new. God doesn’t hold on to our past, so why should we? It serves no purpose other than tearing you down. If, for a moment, you can take your feelings out of the picture and imagine God as being the artist who is molding you, we can have faith in what He sees in us. He sees His perfect treasure. He created you, exactly how you are. And He loves you more than anyone could ever know. He doesn’t make mistakes. He just keeps teaching us and stitching us back together in a way that He knows we need. If we could only trust Him and accept His love, we would never feel unworthy again. Navigate each hurt with optimism that there is a greater purpose. This is temporary. If we trust in Him, this is all worth it.
So get out of your own way. Stop believing the deceiver. No matter what you’ve done in the past, or what has happened to you, it is laid to rest at the bottom of the ocean floor. How can we ever find peace when our minds are diluted with such disdain for ourselves? Not only does that greatly hurt our creator, who took such time and care with us, but it hurts us in ways we don’t even realize. We can say “what if” about every possible outcome. “What if” is a limitation. Just as God’s love for us is limitless, so too is our ability to make peace with ourselves and live in freedom. When darkness creeps in, we need to take a stand against it. We need to look at ourselves with new eyes (the way God looks at us) so that we can see the beautifully flawed and imperfect humans we are meant to be. And love ourselves even more because of it.