So…this post has been brewing for a while. It’s one of those vulnerable ones, that I can’t decide if it should be a page in a journal or if it should be a blog post. Somehow, though, as God works on my heart and gives me peace, I kind of feel like someone out there might benefit from hearing this. So…here it goes.
I have needed validation for my existence and my attempts at anything I do, most of my life. I will work in a crummy job for a long time, and give it my all, if my boss says “good job” occasionally. I suppose that’s probably a good thing in the work place. Most jobs have a crummy aspect, even if it isn’t an entirely crummy job.
But I look for validation in relationships. I have to know I’m doing a good job, and if no one is saying it to me, then I start doubting myself. I quickly begin thinking that important people are going to leave, because my performance isn’t up to par. I’ve struggled with this for years, and I’ve heard lots of message on grace and I accepted that when it came to God, I am a sinner and fall short of His glory. But the fact that He offered grace and forgiveness was not enough. I still long for the people around me to let me know that I’m doing okay. I have a hard time with the very verses that my 6 year old is working on this week – from Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I mean, yeah, God is for me, and He created this spinning earth that we live on, but people can still be so quick to judge. And I tend to think that I’m always being judged and I’m never measuring up, and those little “Hey, good job” moments tend to ease the fear of failing.
I am deathly afraid of failing. Like…writing about being afraid of failing is bringing tears to my eyes, because I desperately don’t want to fail. And I’ve failed so many times, that sometimes it scares me to try anything, ever.
So, I hit one of my own nerves a couple weeks ago, while dealing with homework issues with my step son. I am part of a beautiful blended family, and most days I couldn’t ask for more. My guy, our boys, and we blend really well. But, I irritated the oldest of the boys – the 13 year old – over some homework assignments. And I got a bit of an earful (you know, the “this is stupid” kind of stuff) and I held my ground and we got through it and the work got done. But I had never made him mad before, and I really wanted to know that he wouldn’t be mad forever (which, for the record, he wasn’t). Worse, though, was the fear that by making the teenager mad, I was going to be making his dad mad, which I haven’t really ever done before. I don’t know why these things turn into my fear of people leaving, but that is what happens. And it happens so fast, that sometimes I don’t feel like I have time to take captive those thoughts and send them away.
And as I am writing, I can see just how irrational it is, because teenagers get mad. Kids in general get mad, especially when they are being coerced into doing something they don’t want to (homework, chores, etc!) But I know just how much it means to me that we all get along like we do, and somewhere, this turned into the meter that measured how “okay” me and my guy are. I can tell you all day long that as their mom, I know I will make my kids mad, and I will spend much of my time standing up to them/putting my foot down. That is okay. But I never accounted for making my step son mad.
So, we got through that, and I locked all of this away in my head. I certainly don’t want to sound crazy, and I know that some of my issues are just that, they are issues that I have to find a way to work through. I mean, people get mad, it’s not just kids. And people work through that, especially when they care about each other and are committed to their relationship. And I’m not about to pack my bags if I get my feelings hurt. I want this life, with these people, way too much to give up over a little spilled milk. But somehow, I get it all messed up in my head, and I think that people are going to give up on me over the same little things. (And for the record, my guy knows that kids get mad, and he wasn’t even a little bit unhappy with me. So all of those fears were even more irrational.)
Then, we got some pretty profound messages at church, and I realized that I am not trusting God enough – because He is enough and Jesus is in control. And I realized that I was trying to perform my way to God’s love, too. Because when my performance slacked off, I assumed I was off of God’s radar. And if I can’t make God love me, and (here comes the part that is really hard to admit…) if I can’t do good enough to make my Dad want to come see my sheep, my horses, my grades, then how will I ever be good enough for anyone else to love me? My dad has worked hard my whole life, but we never saw much of him when it came to all of our activities. And I cannot tell you how many times I have held my breath as an adult, and hoped that instead of telling me how to do something better, he would just let me know that he’s proud of me. That I’m doing okay with his grandsons. That I grew up into the kind of woman that makes a dad proud. And he’s said it. More than once, he has told me he is proud and he loves me.
And writing has been my therapy for years, and as I’m writing this, and soaking in the reminder that God loved me even while I was still a sinner, I never had to be good enough to close the gap. He closed the gap through His Son, Jesus. And I am growing into the woman, the wife, the mom, the step mom, the maid, and taxi-driver, the homework nazi, the cook, the ______ that He has called me to be. And there is enough grace for me, even when I slip, or fail, or mess up (which happens daily, despite my fear and avoidance of it).
So…if you’re still reading this, and you’ve made it this far, let me tell you that God loved you, even while you were still a sinner. He has a plan for you, and He wants to help you grow into the _______ that He created you to be. It’s not about being good enough, it’s not about performing your way to the throne. He loves you just the way you are, and He knows what you’ve been through. You don’t have to hide it, cover it up, or conceal it. He loves you enough to rescue you, and He hates that you feel lonely inside without Him – so He sent His Son, so you wouldn’t have to live this life, or eternity, without Him.
One of the messages from church that really hit home can be found here: http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/love-and-hate/2