Last weekend I was out to lunch catching up with two of my favorite couples. As we were sitting there chatting about upcoming weddings and baby showers, I caught my mind wandering and soon enough I was completely disconnected from the conversation, deep in my own thoughts that went something like this: "They are both married, babies on the way and I'm 30 and single. Why don't I try harder to meet someone? They are probably judging me right now. I should be judging myself. I need to try harder in life. I need to work harder. I need to become something better. What am I doing to help the world? I sell leggings. I call myself a Christian but I'm unmarried with no purpose selling leggings. I'm sorry God for not living life as I should, I'll do better."
It's crazy how we allow our mind to become a personal punching bag aimed at ourselves. There was not a single thing that either of my friends said that mimic any of these thoughts. I virtually began to listen to one internal accusation and allowed that to run its course until I concluded that God is displeased with me and I need to do better.
There is something called personal freedom. It's our internal gauge on how much we truly love ourselves and live from this place of freedom. There are times when this gauge can become completely unhinged if we choose to believe the lies that sneak up in our mind. The lie usually has a name.
Shame is a freedom stealer. It causes us to live in hiding. To put on a facade. To discount who we are. To distort our identity. To think we are not good enough, pretty enough, successful enough. It sneaks up and will tell you 'they secretly think you'll never amount to anything.'
In the end it screams YOU AREN'T ENOUGH and even if you were, YOU AREN'T WORTHY.
We need to take hold of the truth so that our mind can live free. Do I sometimes get insecure about being unmarried? Sure. I'm human. Do I think I'd be fulfilled if only I met that person? No. That's not the way. If I had gotten married at 25, I would've been divorced by now because I wasn't ready. In the last few years, I've had to do a lot of internal work to find out who I am. I've had to face pain and deal with the lies deeply rooted in my identity. I made the decision to do this without going on a hunt for my 'other half'. In doing so, I realized that the notion of 'my other half' is just not true.
You don't want to end up with someone when you think you are half. You are a whole person designed to fall in love and be with someone who is a whole person. There is no reason to rush or discount yourself just because your path looks different from someone else.
I've always had dreams for my life that are a little different. Secret dreams. In order for those dreams to come to life, I needed to focus on healing from the inside before I was ready to do work on the outside.
The truth sounds something like this. You were made by God for a purpose that only you can fill. No one else can fill the spot you were made for. You may think you've got your life all planned out, or not planned out, but God has been directing you without you even realizing it. You were made to dream big. To be known. To be loved. You were ultimately made to love and be loved. You were made to let go of the things of the past and move forward with the things ahead. You were made to leave a mark. You were made to be beautiful, inside and out. You are enough just as you are and to say anything otherwise is to tell God that he messed up. Which he can't. There is nothing you have said or done that He can't work for good. He is pleased with you.
He approves of you when no one else does.
No one's opinion of you is the truth unless you tell yourself it is. The next time shame pops in your head, I suggest you take what you know is the truth and use it to propel you forward, not backward. Don't believe the lies.
In the words of Justin Bieber - love yourself.
Brene Brown has one of the most viewed Ted Talks ever. She simply discusses shame, vulnerability, and human connection. When you have time, take 10 minutes to watch this. 30 million people have found it helpful.
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