The other day, I realized that my sisters and I actually have something in common. I know that sounds silly, but some days it feels like we couldn't be more different from each other.
We've all, in some way or another, been convinced that we're unlovable.
We all react to that in different ways: Chelsea thinks she falls in love with any guy that gives her the slightest bit of attention, Holly places her entire worth in and centers her whole world around her boyfriend/relationship, and I ran away from everyone, certain that even the people who swore a million times that they loved me couldn't possibly really be telling the truth. I find it happening less and less as I grow in my faith, but still, sometimes the broken and scared little girl I used to be shows up and scares me to pieces.
I actually talked about this with Taylor once, how even though I know that he, Kyla, Caitie, Bruno, and others truly are my friends, sometimes I get so caught up in my own head wondering what they see in me that I forget what I know about them. I forget that I can tell any of them anything and not be judged. I forget that they believed in me when I could barely look at myself in the mirror. I forget that they faithfully see who I am beneath all the times I do something wrong and forgive me. Sometimes I still see myself as the girl I was in high school, and I hate it.
The truth is, I'm still the girl that cares for people so intensely that it gets me hurt sometimes, I'm still the girl who just wants to be like everyone else - to be liked, to be treated like I'm not different, to be seen as lovely. And like I said, that voice that asks why these incredible people care about me has shown up less and less as I focus more and more on my identity as a child of the King, but it's not gone. And I don't know if it ever will be totally gone.
I'm reading this book "Captivating" right now, on the recommendation of Kyla, and I've only made it through Chapter 4, but the beginning of the book talks about how little girls just want to be seen as lovely, and the first person they look to for that reassurance is their dad. The book talks about a lot of different situations where girls didn't get that from their fathers, but they left out my situation - a daughter whose dad left not by his own choice, but still leaving her to grow up without learning what to expect from men. And I think that's a huge part of the reason I see myself the way I do now. Because at 21, I'm finally beginning to learn what it's like to have a Father who sees you as perfect and lovely and a princess.
I asked Matt once why he had never, in all the years that we've been close, told me I'm pretty or beautiful or I looked nice or anything like that. And when he told me that that was because "that's something a guy says to a girl he wants to be his girl, not what a brother says to his sister", the truth is, it hurt. I thought to myself that if he didn't even think I was pretty, maybe all those lies were true and I really would be alone forever.
Then again, I was still crazy about him at the time. Now I know he just didn't want to give me the wrong idea. It was when I stopped listening to the things I'd been told all my life - that I was worthless, that no one would ever love me or notice me or want me in any sense - and started listening to him - that I had worth and sooner or later I'd find people who'd show me...when I started believing what Matt was telling me, that was when I let myself trust other people, too. That was also when I started finding a security in us, when I stopped telling him he had to be lying to me and couldn't possibly when the whole world hated me. I knew we could go weeks without talking and everything was still fine. I didn't realize I'd even hit this point until he called me one day and said, "Is everything okay? You haven't contacted me in weeks!" I had to laugh at the role reversal. That was when I knew I was secure in who he is and what we have and that he really was telling the truth when he said I could never get him to leave "unless I tried to kill him or something."
I think that's why I spent so much time wrapped up in him. Not only because he made me feel wanted, but because I felt like he was just as broken and scared as I was. He told me time and time again that I shouldn't care about him, and all that did was make me that much more resolved not to leave him just like everyone else had. I tried so hard to "fix" him, to make him see himself the way I saw him. I tried with everything in me to make him believe he was worth more than the world told him he was. I still don't know if he ever believed me. Despite all that, though, I believed the feelings he said he had for me. I felt security with him just like I had with Matt, only of a different kind.
But I couldn't let myself feel that security with everyone else. I was so used to people leaving, I didn't want to let myself believe they were actually going to stay. It was why every time one of them told me I'd done something to hurt them, my heart would race and my palms would sweat in terror that I was going to lose them. But I didn't. I still haven't. These people have stuck by me even when I questioned them and their intentions, when I was a flat out pain in the ass, when I stuck my foot in my mouth, when I was scared I was taking too much from them and not giving enough.
But just like with Matt, I know in my heart and soul that those lies are just that...lies. That when I freak out, it's not because I don't actually trust them. It's because I get scared I'm not good enough for them. These friends, though, they loved me at my worst. And every time they showed me they weren't wavering or going anywhere, the more they showed me Christ. And the more they showed me Christ, the more I trusted in Christ's love for me. The less I get scared. The less doubt I have. The more security I have in this family that God has placed around me to draw me closer to Himself and show me the way He sees me.
"We accept the love we think we deserve." That's a line from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", and it is so true and evident in my life. The less I questioned the love in my life, both from my perfect Father and the people who surround me, and just took it, the more I found my identity in the Truth, the less scared I became of falling for more lies, of getting my heart stepped on again. But I guess that's just what love does.
1 John 4:18 "Perfect love casts out fear."