Reality Check.

Through a combination of beginning to go to counseling, reading Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son, and going over John Ortberg's youtube series in our small group on "Soul Keeping," I can officially say that Jesus has been wrecking me lately, in the best way possible. If anything I say in the following post interests you, I encourage you look into everything I mentioned above.

I will start by saying that the Lord continues to graciously humble me. For much of my life, I have sought the praise and respect of people in my life to validate me. I have measured my own worth by my successes and my ability to make a positive impact in the world. God is so beyond me, because even though much of my motivation to "be good" in the past was motivated by insecurity, he moved through me anyway. He reached through my imperfect service to him and brought people to Himself.
We all have pain in our lives. We all have a yearning to be accepted and worth something. Depending on a variety of things: personality, childhood, biology, opportunity, among other factors, we all look to different people/places/things to offer us that acceptance and significance. I looked to the approval of people I respected. I looked to being praised for being smart enough, talented enough, kind enough. I had been praised for being a "good kid" all my life, yet it was never enough. I am relentlessly hard on myself, always insisting to myself that I must do more and be better. Like a drug, success and approval from people can never satisfy. Though not as obvious, my form of medicating my own pain has cost me deeply just like every other attempt to validate ourselves (drugs, alcohol, sex, wealth, popularity, ect.). 

The reality is that I have not fully received the depth of the Lord's unconditional, non-comparing love towards me. Though I know mentally that I can do nothing to make him love me more, I am compelled to prove to him that I am indeed worthy of his love. I think to truly recieve love requires utter vulnerability. To let someone really love me, all of me, is to be bare before them and allow them to see everything ugly and unpleasant and to allow them to say, "Just the way you are, you are loved. I love you because I choose to, not because you earned it."
I have been struck by the realization that I often spend my energies on the wrong aspirations. Ultimately, my life is not measured by whether I am a good student, mother, wife, or counselor. What will change the world is if I am fully surrendered to God, living a life that ebbs and flows with his heartbeat. Without leaning on him, all of my efforts are truly futile.Without leaning on God and allowing Him to be the good in me, I am impossibly hard on myself and I allow other people to look to me to fix and save them- a job that I simply cannot fulfill. 

I wrote the goals of my life in my journal after one of our Bible studies. This is WHO I want to be:

1. To rest in God and accept his love.
2. To be at peace with myself.
3. To be present with others.
4 To be unhurried and purposeful in my actions.

I care little for the praise and admiration of people if I have a dried up soul. I cannot extend healing grace to others if I cannot forgive and be gracious to myself. I cannot be an effective minister of the gospel if I allow myself to stand in the place of God. I cannot truly give anyone anything if I am not being continually filled by God. On my own strength, I can do no good. In fact, on my own strength, I cause harm to myself and others.

Father, continue to help me to cling to Your love and to set my eyes on WHO I am in you, not what I can do or accomplish. I am overwhelmed by your patience with me and I adore you.


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