Thursday, February 13, 2014
"Now, what if you really believed that you were loved? Not just, like, know it in your head, or you've been taught that your whole life, but actually believed, deep down in your heart that you were loved. That you were wanted. That you were pursued, cherished."
"What if we actually believed that we are who God says we are, and that we belong to Him? All these desires that we have bubbling up in us are good desires, that we want to be loved, we want to be wanted, and that, ultimately, that is fulfilled in Jesus, that HE satisfies us, that HE loves us regardless of what we do or what we don't do, and it's a scandal to believe that in this day and age! But let us be women that do that, that believe Him for what He says is true over us. And if we're gonna be women and ladies who change our communities and change our schools and are examples for this next generation of girls coming up behind us, we have got to start believing in what God says about us. We have to believe that we, as women, are SPOKEN FOR."
Does God's timing ever just make you laugh? Do you ever just want to go, "Okay, God, I get you're trying to tell me something here"? Because that's what happened when I watched this video, and then had a 90+-minute phone call with my sweet friend Lauren, the vast majority of which centered around this topic.
I'm going to try to be as concise as possible with my thoughts, but just bear with me. This has been the biggest struggle of my life, obviously very much so before I was a Christian and when I was in high school getting bullied so much. Matt, that dear sweet patient best friend of mine, was the receptacle for my bottomless pit of fear that he didn't love me for so many years, all the while he fought to prove to me just how wrong I was. But even when I found security in my friendship with him, that didn't stop me from questioning everyone else. Even if they didn't know it, I was questioning them.
In the months after I became a Christian and got baptized, I started questioning things less. More importantly, for the first time in possibly my whole life, I felt like I actually loved myself. That was when I stopped trying quite so hard to please my family, because I intrinsically knew that I was at a better place than I'd ever been. I fell in so naturally with people, most of whom I still talk to today, and I began to see that I wasn't as awful as I'd believed I was for so long. One of the things that Lauren said to me during our conversation tonight when talking about my life and my friends is, "Girl, you are CRAZY loved!" And that's been reverberating around inside my head ever since.
She's right, you know. I am crazy loved. I could not ask for better friends, more loyal, patient, faithful, or loving. I know that. I will tell anyone that. I know every single day that these are the kind of friendships I longed for when I was a little girl. Somehow, though, I've lost sight of that. More and more, I look at my friends and simply wonder, "Why do you love me? How can you love me?" Sometimes, I've even flat out asked them that. I didn't understand why they stuck around. I didn't understand why they cared when I was sick, why they'd rather check on me and talk to me than be around people whose lives weren't so complicated. If I did that with my friends, people as broken as I am, you can just imagine how much worse it's been in my walk with the Lord. I said it here; I don't believe I'm worthy of being loved. And as Alyssa says, even though I know in my head that God loves me just as I am, I don't believe it in my heart because I can't understand how a God so good could love me when I am so screwed up. I hear far too often everything that's "wrong" with me, and I let those hurtful words seep into my soul before the words of the Lord who delights in me no matter what.
That's what is holding me back from the rest I seek, the difference between knowing something in my head, knowing something is true when I say it out loud, and believing it in my heart without a word being spoken. This reminds me of when Reafe asked me if I'm close to God, and how careful he was to point out the difference between that and being a Christian. "When you're close to God, what everyone else says won't matter. You won't care." I know God, I love God, I know who He is, but I have so much further to go. Jesus doesn't satisfy me right now. I'm looking to people for the satisfaction that only He can bring. And that's why I'm still so lost and confused.
God says I am beautiful, even though I have (a lot of) weight to lose. God says I am wanted, even though I am intense and try too hard. God says I am pursued, even though I feel unnoticed more than anyone realizes. God says I am cherished, even though I tend to hear the voices who tell me why I'm not good enough first and most clearly. My Father doesn't speak with corollaries attached.
Lord, I pray that this is the year I learn to hear You first and believe what You say is the truth over me all the way down in my heart, so it's a part of me and I can't lose sight of it. Thank You for loving this broken girl, and for giving the world people like Alyssa and Lauren and countless other friends who help me see me how You see me.