Friday I almost caused my life to end, I destroyed friendships and for what?
I’ll tell you for what.. all because I couldn’t see the struggles inside of me fighting to come out and be dealt with. Since I was 12 never dealing with issues and just ignoring them till I didn’t feel them anymore seemed to be such an easy thing to do. The older I get the more daunting that task of never facing my struggles seems to get.
We hear so much about what society says people should be, but what about the church? I grew up in a world where a church told me who I was suppose to be… along with the world, and they never lined up. On one hand I had society telling me to I was never pretty enough, or skinny enough, because I didn’t look like models or my friends would stop hanging out with me because I wasn’t “cool” enough (does anyone really know what that even means). A world telling me from all directions that I am to be perfect on the outside on the surface. Yet on the other hand I had my church, telling me to be perfect all the time but this was not surface level perfection no this was inward perfect, because everyone around me always acted like they had it all together. If you came forward with your struggles like you are invited to every Sunday after sermon then you were one in a million, and half the church saw you as this imperfect person they didn’t want to be around. Then the other half saw you as a problem to be fixed… a way to make themselves feel better about the things they’ve done. Don’t get me wrong then you also had some that truly cared and genuinely were doing the right thing trying to help but…. then no one ever forgets.
Society tells me to be physically perfect, and a church that shows me I am to act like nothing is ever wrong, and that just like every other “perfect” Christian I have it all together and I’m not struggling.
But the thing is… I was.. I am… I struggle everyday to face the demons inside me. The demon that started when I was 13 when someone hurt me, and then said I was suppose to be better than that… because I was baptized in Christ so therefore I cannot make mistakes, and this mistake was my fault because I allowed it to happen. Believing this lie stuck with me… in all honesty it’s still with me to this day, and sadly it may always be in the back of my mind, but that doesn’t mean it can control me anymore. I struggled to share with my family or friends what had happened to me because I was told it was my fault and I knew it was wrong, so accepting the blame simply because someone told me made it near impossible for me to share. Because sharing meant I was admitting my imperfection and I wasn’t living up to who the church says I should be. Internalizing how imperfect I thought I was this would soon turn out to be the most dangerous road I could go down, because instead of resenting him for what he did to me, I resented myself for what I thought I had let happen. Taking the blame meant taking the anger that would come from it as well. For years I hated myself, thinking I deserved nothing, I deserved to be treated badly, and when anything bad did happen I would justify it or give myself a reason. I would make myself outwardly imperfect and injure myself to say “there you deserve to be treated like that because this who is you are… you are unworthy of love.”
For years I went through life trying to give myself a reason why I did not deserve to be loved, all because I thought I was imperfect, but really because I didn’t know how to love myself, and I didn’t know how to forgive myself..
Loving myself… that has been one of the biggest struggles of my life. Sounds so silly sometimes saying that, but it couldn’t be harder to admit. Forgiving myself for what happened, and admitting to myself that my fault or not it happened, and I have to forgive myself. In church we always talk about how God’s greatest command is to love… but how hard it is to admit that my biggest sin.. my biggest imperfection is that I don’t love myself, and I don’t know how. I can encourage others everyday, I can recite to them what God says they are loved, but when it comes to myself… I believed it was my own fault.. I believed those things couldn’t apply to me, simply because how do you wrap your head around the fact that there is a perfect God, who loves you by no reason of your own. The only reason He needs to love you is that you are His.
I thought for the past 2 years I had overcome this struggle, this lie inside of me that I had believed for years, in fact I just allowed the love of my friends to help me love myself, so in reality that hatred, that unwillingness to forgive was still inside of me it was just being masked by my friends love. I took a job where my boss, treated me the way I had treated myself for years, where everything was my fault, where I was never good enough, never worth anything, and always worked to dead. I didn’t realize the reason I stuck with it for 2 years was because it was easier to let someone else treat me the way I’d been treating myself. I realized it was unhealthy, so I figured just getting away from that job would be enough, but sadly not dealing with those resurfaced feelings from my past, not dealing with the fact I had let someone treat me the way I had thought I should be treated my whole life, not dealing with it.. would almost kill me, and scare my friends half to death. If there’s one thing I have mastered over the years.. I’ve mastered how to be seem happy and okay, even when inside I cannot even tell for myself that I’m dying inside.
Letting others love me has always been a struggle… even more so of a struggle because I struggle to love the person I see in the mirror, so I cannot understand why they would.. I push away everyone that loves me.. and for what? Because of what? All because I cannot see the good inside of me… I cannot see Jesus… I cannot see that I do deserve to be loved and not by others but that I deserve to love by myself..
I am not good, I am broken, I am shattered, and sometimes I make huge mistakes…
BUT He is good, He is a healer, He mends the broken, and He saves lives… I’ve realized it’s not about loving myself because that will come. It’s about the fact that I need to work on loving Him inside of me, because He is inside of me, and for no other reason than that… I am made in the image of a perfect God, it doesn’t mean I have to be perfect, but it does mean I have to love even the imperfect parts. If Jesus could come and willingly die for my imperfections then why can I not willingly love myself for the imperfect parts that Jesus took on and said these are mine, I take on these imperfections myself “it is finished”. If a perfect man could come and do that all because I was worth loving, then who am I to stand in the way…
I have realized that in order to love myself.. I cannot look through societies lenses and see only outward appearance, and I cannot look through the lenses of the church and see only inward perfection… No… I need to look through the lenses of God, the lenses that show love no matter what the outside is like, and no matter how broken and imperfect the inside maybe, because He can fix it, He can heal, and He forgives. But most importantly He IS LOVE…