Recently, The Chase is Real hosted a local live event where much of the content that we are honing in on during this Masterpiece Series was presented. One of the activities that we did that evening was to take a look at a list of statements, and circle the ones that really defined the conversations that we have with ourselves from time to time. These statements weren't exactly the affirmative, warm and fuzzy variety. These declarations were what one might consider the "ugly voice." I glanced through the long list, receptive and open to discovering which words really struck a chord with me. The following is what I starred...
God has more important people to tend to than me.
I'm not worth it.
My opinion doesn't matter.
I don't fit in.
They don't like me.
It doesn't feel good (at all) to read those back again now as I type these words for this blog. I feel heavy-hearted as I see the words that best describe the dialogue that so often plays in my head. But then I think to myself, "What the heck!!?? Where did I learn this and how did I buy into this crap!?" It's not like I had my parents telling me I was worthless throughout my childhood. And I certainly haven't had any friends tell me that my opinion doesn't matter or that they don't like me (at least to my face). But somehow, these statements have managed to overrun the way that I feel about myself. They have tainted how I perceive myself in relationships with the people close to me. Even with God. It has sucked to feel like an outsider and like I could never really fit in. Any unanswered text or email that I send has my mind automatically thinking that the only logical explanation for that is because so-and-so no longer wants to be my friend. Or that I'm very, very, very low on their totem pole. The time that I have spent believing that my prayers weren't actually being heard, or that they weren't worth saying because God has bigger problems and better people to worry about, is sadly regretful.
I'm afraid it would take my therapist more than just one session to really help me unpack all the answers to my loaded question. But I will say this: Human beings learn best by observation. I've heard it and read about it and discussed this core truth with others. Even as infants, when we don't yet have the language skills or reading skills necessary to learn something the "traditional" way, we learn by observing. So, somewhere along the way, I must have observed something about other people's behaviors in relation to me and applied it as factual and true.
But a funny thing happened when I started learning about something else that is factual and true. When the seed got planted in my head that I am FULL OF WORTH, and that my opinion DOES MATTER, and that God really does want to LISTEN to me and HELP ME, I began to realize that those other thoughts were actually.....lies. A lie is an inaccurate or false statement made with the deliberate intent to deceive. Sometimes, it is packaged so beautifully that we can't even see it as an untruth. Not until we step back and place it right next to what actually is true. That's when we begin to see the stark contrast between a lie, and the truth. So what are those lies trying to hide? Well, quite simply....that I am LOVED. I am loved beyond measure and beyond understanding. And there's NOTHING in the world that I have done or will do that will ever change that TRUTH.
I am currently rereading one of my favorite books on the planet. It is Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander, M.D. and it is one of the most captivating and compelling true stories I have ever read or heard about. Essentially, it's the account of a neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife. He writes about meeting our Creator and seeing many wondrous, glorious, beautiful things. During his time in heaven, he received a message. It was communicated without words, but it was something that his entire being registered and understood. Here's what he wrote:
"Love is, without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard to fathom kind of love, but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows. The kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and our children, or even our animals. In its purest and most powerful form, this love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities. The incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or that ever will exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it and embody it in all of their actions."
That's what will help us all banish those awful lies that we carry around with us everyday. God already knows that I will keep messing up and continue listening to the wrong statements. But little by little, I will get closer to seeing the Masterpiece that He sees.
Valerie admires truth-seekers, yearns to learn more about God and herself through life's circumstances, and believes that good food plus good wine plus good company equals happiness. She and her husband are high school sweethearts, and they have the privilege of raising two beautiful daughters. She is not a huge fan of talking on the phone, but would much rather catch up with someone in person. Most days, you'll find her in yoga pants and a ponytail.