As I contemplate my life and my daughter’s recent birth, I realize that I am in a very active process of learning about myself. I’m seeing things that I was blind to before or that I just blatantly ignored; I’m dealing with those things, and I’m learning to accept myself as I see myself in new ways.
This whole process started before I actually delivered my daughter. I was was preparing for labor and looking at a website that was describing the process of labor. The website, birthingnaturally.net, talked about how you may not ever be more yourself than you are in labor. When you are in labor, you “supposedly” lose the ability to act nicer than you are feeling. This description of labor is probably one of the most scary things that I read about labor. I was fine with the descriptions of the physical aspect of things, but I was not ready for the mental aspect. I was not ready for the actual me to be unleashed.
You see, I don’t like me. I like the fact that I have learned how to act nice and learned to act like I love people. I want to have relationships with people; I want to be loved. I have tried to learn to act loving (to a point), but I find myself lacking so very often. I have tried to bury that part of me that I do not like. I have tried to bury my selfish, unloving feelings. In the process, I created a monster that lives inside of me. One that comes out every now and again leaving others hurt and defensive and me guilty, remorseful and despairing.
My mom was wonderful enough to be with me for all of my labor and then even for the night that we brought our little girl home from the hospital. As I was able to process some of my thoughts on my labor with my mom, this whole subject came up. It also came up when she took me out to dinner several days later. She said that she kept hearing me say things that told her that I believed “I’m not worth it”. I cried…because I did believe that.
I looked back on my behavior in relationships that I’ve had and I see myself asking a lot of people “Am I worth it to you?” and they had no idea that is what I was asking. I might seemingly just want to go out and get a bite to eat, but what I was really wanting was for them to say that I was worth making time for. If I wasn’t asking others, then I would ask myself “Why didn’t they invite me?” or something similar, and I would answer it for myself “I’m not worth it.” I have lived with this destructive pattern of thinking for years.
As I pondered on the conversation that my mom and I had while we were out to dinner, I was convicted that I did believe that I was not worth it and that I had ignored what God said I was worth. To some extent, I know that God loves me and that He said I was worth going to the Cross. I’ve never taken this part of me that I kept trying to bury to Him. I found a lot of things out about myself that I wanted to hide from God because I knew that they wouldn’t please Him. I couldn’t fix these things myself and I was ashamed to bring them to God.
As I am writing all of this, I think about how dumb it all is because this is exactly what Adam and Eve did. They did not take that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to God. They did not go to God and say, “I want to eat this. The serpent gave it to me and he said that I would be like You if I ate it. I know You said ‘no’, but I really want to eat this!” They just ate and then tried to fix the consequences themselves. Which, for the record, did not work out so well. That path of action didn’t work for me either.
I have allowed sooo much sin in my life. I ate of that fruit that Satan dangled in front of me; at times I even feasted on it. I’ve avoided and hid from God. I saw who I really was; I realized what my heart looked like naked, just like Adam and Eve realized their nakedness. My heart wasn’t pretty. I wanted things that God said no to; when I could not understand why I could not have them (after all, did not God make me this way?), I was deeply hurt. I compounded that hurt by going after some of the things I wanted.
I see so much of what went wrong as I look back. It was a terribly vicious cycle. My heart was hurting because I was taking my important question (Am I worth it?) to other people or to myself. I wasn’t taking that oh so vital question to the only One Who could really answer yes. So, as I tried to deal with this hurt, I discovered sin and ugliness which led me to temptation and to more sin because again, I didn’t believe God.
So, as I had this revelation that I don’t like me, I realized that I need to take that hurt to God. I needed to let HIM answer my question of “Am I worth it?” because I have been desperately searching for someone who can say YES and someone whose yes will fulfill and satisfy my heart.
In the past year, I told my best friend “God wants ALL of us, the good, the bad and the ugly.” But I never fully believed it. I never lived that. God wants me to give HIM all my heart. Even the parts that are not up to His standards, the parts that still cling to a sinful inclination, or the parts so prone to wander (who am I kidding, that is all of it!). There are still parts of my heart that struggle and long for things that God doesn’t want, but He wants those parts and He still loves those parts.
Once again, I have God’s grace given to me. I don’t live with guilt because I have grace. “No guilt in life, no fear in death/This is the power of Christ in me” (“In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townsend & Keith Getty) I want that power. I want to know it and then I want to be able to channel it to others.