My friends planned to go to the theme park. They didn’t include me. Who had I offended?
How could she not have invited me to the party? I immediately felt unloved and unwanted.
Did the invitation for the wedding go to the wrong address? I felt sure I’d done something wrong.
Other friends spoke of a conversation they’d all shared. I hadn’t been included.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is from my first day of school. I was six. Outside at recess. I ran up to two girls and asked if I could play with them. They laughed.
“No, we’re not going to play with y’all. We don’t like you.” And they ran away laughing. But their words grew roots into my heart.
I didn’t deserve friendship.
By the end of the school year, those girls and I had become friends for one reason.
I changed for them, so I could fit in. The trend followed me for many years. I acted a certain way, laughed at the right jokes, went to the school bathroom with the cool girls to try cigarettes, tried alcohol so I wouldn’t be laughed at, and made fun of certain people in order to make friends with others.
Would I ever fit in as myself?
At church, I did what was expected and struggled to make sense of the continued feeling that I had to be a certain way in order to meet the approval of whomever happened to be watching at the time.
It all continued the perpetual lie that without the façade, I wouldn’t be loved, wanted, or accepted.
I remember going to college and having a difficult time figuring out how to act. On a walk with a girl from my town, I said, “I don’t know who I am. What is expected of me?”
My friend told me to be myself. Problem was, I’d tried to squeeze into other people’s beliefs for so long, I didn’t know who that was.
I accepted half-truths and full-out lies from people with the same kind of hurts and flaws I carried. And, I tried to fill a space intended for God alone by believing what was said to me.
Hurting people hurt people.
So, I began trying to figure out who God made me to be and how He wanted me to act. And the struggle to measure up continued. I focused on performance, serving, doing, presenting the proper picture of a “good Christian girl” and kept feeling like I came up short.
There was this list of things in the Bible which I believed I should or should not do. I cried out asking God to change me and help me understand. The struggle grew.
And then, I learned a truth that delved deep into my heart and soul. It began to dredge out the lies I’d nurtured.
All God wants is to share a relationship.
That’s it. Simple. Straightforward. Pure. True.
In that connection, He shows me all Jesus did for me and how He sees me. He gives me insight into what we need to work on together. He reveals His plan and direction for me. He whispers truth into my heart when I begin to turn back and grab lies of the past and the Spirit helps me let go of them. God opens up opportunities for me to share His love and truth with others. And He shows me how to love with His love not my own.
I’m still a work in progress, but I no longer strive to hold the lies and fear as part of me. In Romans 8:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) And I grasp onto that truth every day.
My friend, don’t live in lies. Don’t allow them to turn into fear. Ask God for His perspective on whatever is badgering your heart and mind today and trust Him to reveal His truth to you in His perfect time as He works in you.
Photo Credit: Unsplash-Dmitry Ratushny
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