Some of the worst memories of my early teens were mornings I returned to school exhausted after lying awake into the wee hours, waiting for my mother to come home. I was sure that every single classmate in the eighth grade witnessed her drunken stupor in the grocery store parking lot. They would all choose to shun me.
On those mornings, I wore a favorite outfit and smiled more than usual. While my inner world churned with twenty-foot swells of anxiety, my outer appearance looked like a still lake. I read the expressions on the faces of my peers like grasping a guide book through the thick forest of my tangled emotions; glimpses of their approval illuminating a dark path back to peace.
While I understand what shame looks like in my thoughts now, it might surprise you to know that sometimes blogging makes me feel like I’m thirteen and emotionally spent. Worn out from listening to the voice I invite back into my adulthood with circumstance that whispers, “You aren’t enough.”
I’m a voyeur to threads of conversation without hearing voices of intent, to pictures without their back story. Self-doubt fills in the blanks; snags on scarcity like God’s love for me is somehow limited. Instead of finding solace in the faces of my loyal followers, I choose perfectionism to inform my identity. I control my outer world assuming my feelings will follow. And that isn’t how God created us.
God doesn’t love me or you for what we do, how many friends we gather around us. The essence of who we are isn’t determined by our definition of success, productivity, or what people think of our family members.
Approval from the masses doesn’t mean we are popular with Jesus.
He cannot love us any more than he does right now, this minute.
On my twenty-fifth high school reunion, I carried the weight of my childhood with me in the overhead compartment. I thought I would be remembered by what I assumed everyone knew; what I was hesitant about unpacking.
It turns out, I was mistaken. Wrapped up in their own teenage dramas, my friends weren’t paying attention to the one I was living. They remembered my Dorothy Hamill haircut and the silly sound of my laugh.
The one thing I don’t like about blogging is the way it triggers a shame cycle of self-doubt when I let it.
Passion can be the fulfillment of calling or a measuring stick of worth. It’s a choice isn’t it?
When I allow you to determine my value with your approval, I lose my authentic voice. And just like those exhausted mornings and high school reunions, I mistakenly assume you can hear the difference through my writing. I fear you will shun me but that is shame talking, isn’t it?
I continue blogging because it is an exercise in listening and remembering. Making room for the sound of His voice that guides me into the future and remembering nothing I do will change his mind about me.
I am enough, and so are you.
Do you struggle with finding peace with yourself, just the way you are, without judging yourself by your own standards?