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.