It’s a tough question to answer. At least, it was for me.
And eventually, I would probably have told you yes, because that is the expected answer.
Let me back up…
As I write this, Day 3 of our church’s women’s conference has not yet begun, but the last two nights have been POWERFUL. The speakers have said MANY wonderful things, but this post is really about me. It’s about me, because I can only share with you what God is doing in my life. Sometimes you get it in the moment, like this. Other times I have to process it, and then tell you about it.
Night one, Dr. Caroline Leaf spoke. Again, she said a lot of insightful things that I will chew on and may spit out here in the future. But she said one thing that stuck with me, even though I didn’t know it at the time. She said (paraphrased) that if we dislike who we are, who God created us to be, we are rejecting the creator. Sit on that for a second.
Night two… on my! Christa Smith spoke about contrast and breaking cycles of destructive behaviors in our lives. She gave a list, which I will not repeat, but if you have a chance to hear a message by her, I suggest it (or the one from last night might be available at SheRevolution.com). She included several items I struggle with that we sometimes think of as personality traits, but are really choices. For me… self-doubt, fear, critical nature, fits of anger (not too often but sometimes), control (a big one), and moodiness.
These are all things to work on, but none of those are the most important at the moment.
As I sit here, I think they are by-products of something else — self-hatred.
Had you asked me last week, I would have denied it.
BUT GOD in His infinite wisdom drew me to this conference and had these speakers speak these messages, and I had my heart ready to hear. I ugly cried, people. UGLY cried. Even now tears fill my eyes (I won’t let them fall. I just did my makeup. LOL)
These are things I know today after a night of uninterrupted sleep (an unusual occurrence for me)… I have not liked me in a VERY long time. I think the beginning of my self-hate (and let’s be honest, I don’t LIKE saying that) began when my mother and father were walking behind me once in a mall. I was probably 8-10 years old. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I know he said something about how I walked. And it stuck. ***Parents please, please, please be mindful of your words. They stick into your children like a thorn that can not be removed without God’s divine healing.****
But that was just the beginning… I don’t know where to go from there, maybe backward. Maybe that only compounded the hate I felt for myself. Maybe I hated myself because my brother sexually abused me, and my mother knew it. Maybe I didn’t feel like I was worth protecting.
No matter where it started, self-hate is a cycle. You hate yourself so much that you do things that you hate, which only starts the process all over again.
I never felt good enough. I remember thinking…
- I was too tall (before the boys in my class hit puberty)
- My hair was too straight.
- My hair wasn’t long enough (long hair was in, and if you didn’t have it…well, then, you were not cool)
- I walked funny.
- My clothes were not like everyone else’s.
- I have freckles.
- I’m too skinny (yes, that used to be an issue)
- I’m too loud/obnoxious (usually in unnerving situations)
- I’m not smart enough.
But last night — Oh, God, thank you — last night, the cycle was broken. (More tears)
I am worth loving.
God loves me.
He thinks I’m okay, even though I walk funny, don’t have long hair, weigh too much, get angry and moody too often.
I am his daughter.
He loves me.
Even more than I love my daughters.
I don’t care how much they weigh (though I want them to be healthy). I don’t care if their hair is long or short, orange or purple. I don’t care if they have freckles. None of those things matter. I LOVE them because they are mine, born of my flesh, and more importantly born of my heart.
Nothing they do will keep me from loving them. I may not like it, but it will not stop my love.
AND God feels the same way about me.
AND God feels the same way about YOU.
Now to learn how to love myself…