Start at the Beginning | A Reminder of Grace for the Perfectionist

I was talking through a potential business idea with a good friend when I realized it.

Honestly, I said, I think I just need to get over the fear and do it. 

I hadn't noticed until that moment that it was just fear holding me back, I thought maybe I was being wise, maybe I was being realistic and logical, maybe the timing wasn't right, maybe I really did need to perfect that one skill before I could move forward. Talking it through though... I was just afraid. 

I'm so good at encouraging other people to act on their ideas, I shared with my friend, but when it comes to my own, I find all the reasons why this wouldn't work, why I should wait, why it sounds crazy.

She smiled and agreed, It's so much harder when it's your own thing.

Right? It seems so easy to see the potential, the brilliance, the of-course-you're-capable-of-that in other people, but when it comes to seeing it in yourself, all the doubts are at the forefront.

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We're all in process, always moving, shifting, growing, but we know the one who holds it all, who is steady and not moving. 

We're all not-quite-there-yet, but we know the one who is there.

We're always going to have fears trying to creep in, but we know the one who has no fear.

We're always going to want to wait for the "perfect" time, but we know the one who's timing is perfect.

We're always going to wonder if we have what it takes, but we know the one who provides all.

We're always going to have false views of ourselves try to show their head, but we know the one who has the perfect view of us. 

We're always going to be starting where we are, with what we have. This is all we can do. This is all we're meant to do. Accept ourselves, and do the best we can with what we have been given. We know the one who gives all and is the source of everything. We're being held. We can step out and grow and move forward in faith and know that whatever the results, things are happening for us. God is present. Love is present. Grace is present.

We don't have to be perfect. We just have to show up. We have to start at the beginning.

 

Saturday for the Soul

Good morning!

It's Saturday. Remind yourself that you're loved. Drink all the coffee. Eat the waffles. Work on your to-do list. Do something outside if you can. Let yourself create, play, dream. Rest. Be with the ones you love. Whatever it is that fills you up with life - do that. And most of all, breathe.

Just breathe. 

Also, if you only read one thing from the internet this week, let it be this: 

Susie Larson talks about shame and how to remove it from your life

This link had me SO WRECKED this week. In that good, but so hard kind of way. Just. Wow.

 

Here's a couple more goodies: 

Heather Caliri reminds us that we have permission to be SEEN. 

Summer of 69 by Angie Warren. This one's just so beautiful. 

Just Like Peter | A story of hiding and being found

I was reading the story of Peter last night; my heart completely wrung out, like a rag full of dirty water, twisted until the dirt was gone, rinsed until it was clean. I cried, talked to God about the hard things in life, about the things in my heart that I don't want him to see, the things I'm afraid to show him, the needs I'm afraid to bring forward. I didn't want to, it was opposite of every part of my natural self. I did it though. Love showed up. 

John 13:3-8

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

 

I realized I'm just like Peter as Jesus came to wash his feet. Peter felt too vulnerable, like he couldn't allow Jesus into that part of his life. I pictured Peter in that moment, so full of shame, not wanting Jesus to see his dirtiest places. This is me, I thought, the tears flowing steadily now, the realization of how I'm so like Peter. How I feel too much shame, and try to hide my less-than-clean parts from the only one who can wash them clean. How I want to run away and try to clean myself up before he sees me. My heart softens, filled with gratitude for Jesus, always coming with his love. Coming to wash us clean, to set us free, to heal us at the deepest heart level, but he can't do that if we run, if we hide. Hiding is my tendency, my go to, from a young age I've tried to hide all that could be portrayed as less than good. From getting my bike tires dirty in a mud puddle, to the angst of high school drama, to the pain of mistakes in adulthood. I've tried to hide, pretend the problems, the mistakes, the failures don't exist, pretend I'm good with God and everything is okay and I'm fine and I don't "really" need to share my mess-ups with anyone. 

Suddenly I was pouring my heart out to Jesus, risking the pain of shame and vulnerability and letting him see the parts I'd been hiding, the parts that felt unsafe to bring to him. I just started talking through them out loud, and as is his nature, love was there. Love was there to cover, cleanse, heal, wash clean. No judgement, no condemnation, no anger, just a cleansing and washing over my heart as if Jesus said "thank you for sharing, I love you." It was simple and quiet and calm and so full of freedom. Love's gentleness speaking to me, full of grace and kindness. A tender touch.

This morning my heart feels clearer. My mind is able to focus. I don't have all those "excess" thoughts and worries cluttering up my life. I laid it all out there, and the faithfulness of a God who is love came and showed up and reminded me that I belong, that love is a safe place for me, that steadiness and stability will always be there. That he will always, always, always be safe. Instead of the shame I thought I'd feel, the shame is gone. I feel loved. 

 

For When You Need to Forgive Yourself + Love Yourself.

I was pretty much screaming at my friends, accusing them of not wanting me, not loving me. I was believing that they hated being around me. That they were only in relationship with me because they had to be. My heart was breaking. It wasn’t a foreign feeling. This was a cycle I’d seen again and again in my life. Feeling rejected. Feeling like no one could possibly want me. Always striving to be “good enough” in relationship, to fit in, to prove to people that deep down, at a heart level, I too, was worth loving. 


Clarity found it's way into my heart, God showing up with the truth. I realized that what was really happening was that I was trying to prove to myself that I was worth loving. I was trying to prove to myself, to God, that I was lovable. That I could be wanted. Expecting my friends to believe something about me that I was refusing to believe about myself. Heading back into that place of performance, of striving. If I just do enough, if I just get it right this time, if I’m part of the right ministry things, if I say the right things, dress the right way, maybe then I’ll be wanted, maybe then I’ll be loved, then I’ll belong. Partly the depression speaking, partly my insecurities. All of it far from the love I’ve known to be true. 

I hear God speak to me, “you’ve rejected yourself again.” You rejected yourself. You think they don’t want you but the reality is that YOU don’t want you. You think you messed up to much, you’re the one beating yourself up and telling yourself that you’re not lovable. You are the one who is pushing yourself away. You’re moving into that performance, self-protective mode, because your heart needs to be protected from yourself. You’re not protecting yourself from other people. You’re hiding your heart because you aren’t being loving to yourself. You are feeling tormented again because your heart isn’t accessible and it’s not accessible because you are being hateful to yourself. Self-hatred is what is hurting you. Self-hatred is what is breaking your heart. 

I didn’t realize. Not until that moment. I’d fallen back into that “natural for me” state of being abusive to myself. I started pondering it; yup, I thought, I’d been smoking again, I’d been skipping lots of meals, I wasn’t doing yoga, I wasn’t writing or hanging at my favorite coffee shops or spending time in nature or with my friends. I was punishing myself. I was telling myself that I wasn’t worth loving because I wasn’t getting everything right in life. That I wasn’t worth loving because I’d messed up again. Mind blown. 

I fell on the floor in repentance, sobbing. I’m sorry God, forgive me for hating what you created. Forgive me for expecting perfection when you don’t require that. Forgive me for treating myself with hatred, for withholding love from myself. Forgive me for blocking and rejecting YOUR LOVE, your PERFECT LOVE. Forgive me for the pride, thinking that what I feel is more truthful than what you say. Forgive me God. 

“You’re forgiven. I already forgave you,” He freely responds, “you need to forgive yourself.” 

I start speaking to myself. Speaking to my heart. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry for telling you that you’re not worth having friends because you make mistakes. I’m sorry for telling you that no one could love you. I’m sorry for not nourishing you and taking care of you properly. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you I love you when you needed to hear that the most. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that it’s going to be okay after you messed up. I’m sorry for neglecting you and caring more about what other people think than what you think or what God thinks. I’m sorry I’m not giving you the attention that you deserve. I’m sorry for telling you that you’re not worthy. That God only loves you because He has to, not because He wants to. I’m sorry for telling you these lies and convincing you to believe they were truth. You deserved better. You deserve to be loved just because you’re alive. You are worthy of love and acceptance and connection just because you are alive on this earth. There is nothing that makes you more worthy. There is nothing that makes you less worthy. It just is. You are worth loving. You ARE LOVED."

Forgiving myself in this area changed a lot of things. I felt gentleness rush in. Kindness. Love. Grace. Rest. It was a breath of fresh air. My heart started opening. My eyes opened to see again with clarity instead of living in a fog. I could sense God’s presence. I felt myself come back to life as I spoke with gentleness over myself. As I spoke words of love and truth and affirmation that I was enough. I was loved. I was wanted. That it was safe to show my heart and be real, and that I wasn’t going to be abusive to my heart anymore. I relaxed. I’d been in a stress response for months, my body tense, but I started relaxing into a place of trusting myself. Trusting that I was going to keep my word and be kind to myself. Trusting that love was available to me. Trusting that I was worth loving, that I was worth being alive, not because of what I do or don’t do, but because of Jesus.

Love is always here, always present, always for me. Always for us. Always inviting us in. 

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replacing lies with truth: A Vision

The labels across my forehead spoke it all. As if they were made of duct tape, slapped on my face, the words written across in bold black. Broken. Unworthy. Unlovable. Made too many Mistakes. Not good enough. Not wanted. 

They’d become part of me. I didn’t even notice them anymore when I looked in the mirror. They just were. I didn’t know I was still believing those things, this picture coming into my head in an instant. Then staying, showing me something. 

The labels, then someone walking towards me, reaching for my forehead. I cringe and step back, feeling too much shame to be approachable. I breathe deep, surrender, let go. The figure moves towards me, gently pulling one of the labels off. 

Broken. The word floats to the ground. The figure speaks, a voice I know well: “brokenness is what lets my love in, my love is what makes you whole. In me you are whole. I love you.”

Unworthy. “I make you worthy,”  he speaks softly to me, tossing the label to the side. 

Unlovable. Another label. “It’s not possible to be unlovable. I created you. You were created in my image and I AM LOVE. It's about receiving my love. You are worth it. You are so loved. Let me love you."

Made too many mistakes. “No. The cross is for all the mistakes. Not just one. There isn’t a limit on how many times you mess up. Turn around, turn around. Rise up. I am for you,”  is the strongly spoken whisper. 

Not good enough. This one. Always creeping in to the forefront of life. "Let yourself breathe." he calms, "I never asked you to do more, to be more. I asked you to rest in me, to open your heart to love, to be you, no one else.”

Not wanted. “I chose you. I picked you. I want you. You are always wanted here, always invited to the table, never turned away. I will choose you again and again and again. There will always be room for you. Come here, come home.” 

Each label torn off with love, the lies thrown away, truth whispered to my heart. Gently. Calmly. But firm. No doubt or wavering appearing in the voice of truth. Just a steady calmness, a steady knowing. Jesus. The power of the cross. Always showing up when you least expect it. 

I breathe. I open my heart, rest back. I let myself be loved.