Monday, December 19, 2016

On Not Being Enough

(BE AWARE: I don't usually share these things, because I don't want to hurt people that are or have been close to me. I still won't mention names, but since there are only about 100 of you who read my blogs, I'm sure you can puzzle things out.  It is not my intention to shame anyone, but to share what I have learned. Thanks)

     I wasn't enough. Ever. I grew up with that idea being constantly reinforced. I wasn't thin enough, I wasn't pretty enough, I didn't sing well enough, I wasn't smart enough, I didn't follow directions well enough, I didn't learn fast enough, I wasn't considerate enough, Or I was too much of something, which was not enough.  Then I got married, and I was enough for a while. And then I wasn't.
     That isn't to say that I was never complimented. But I'd been conditioned well enough that I didn't believe it. I'm sure the people that were giving me my identity were not intending to do so. I'm sure it was a by product of having received a negative identity themselves, in most cases.
      I was told, often, by the wrong men, how pretty I was. Men that were adults when I wasn't, and that were married and had children. I feel rather lucky now that I wasn't physically violated by any of these men. I did feel sick to my stomach sometimes, though. I wondered what I had done to encourage the kind of attention I was getting. I was sure it had to be something I had done wrong, because of course, I wasn't good enough.  It was years before I realized that I hadn't knowingly  presented myself in a way that would invite such attention. So I wondered instead if I had some sort of mark, or aura, or body language that shouted vulnerability. Did I exude the need to be accepted? Was it abundantly clear that I was lonely in need of affirmation?
     Then I met someone that accepted me. He accepted who I was when we met. He continued to accept me as I grew and changed. Changes in my physical, intellectual and spiritual self were not merely accepted, but encouraged and celebrated. In turn, I learned that affirmation from my spouse is priceless and lovely, but I need affirmation from God. He's my ultimate measuring stick. As I pursued a relationship with God, the relationship with my husband grew, too. And for each other, we are enough. Finally.
     I know this idea could be fleshed out, almost infinitely, with specific stories, but I don't believe that is necessary, here. If you struggle with being enough, look to Jesus. He makes you enough. People don't. Most people won't every be pleased with anyone that isn't themselves. Unless they find their own worth with Christ.  That's why my husband saw that I was enough, and that's why my children will learn that they are enough.
Go, be enough.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Will I be Accused?

     Over the years, whenever I  become aware of some truth, I wonder why I wasn't aware of it before. I mean, I've been going to church for my entire life! My parents, my friends' parents, the people we spent time with, they were all church people. The read their bibles. They prayed. They Preached! I went to Sunday School, Wednesday evening services, Youth Group, two Sunday services, and attended every other event that took place at the church. How could any of these truths be new? Worse, how could my understanding of those truths be different than what I had learned growing up?
     I noticed a major trend among Christian authors, bloggers, and speakers. They would introduce some truth that they had begun to understand deeply, and mention how the previous generations had failed them by not ensuring that particular truth had been understood. Obviously no one else had understood it correctly, and the church had failed it's future generations. So, I began to have the same attitude.  I would be sad that I had wasted some years with a misrepresented God. I began to search for truth myself, because obviously everything I learned had been skewed in some incorrect fashion.
     I have learned things that I wasn't formerly aware of. I believe I have matured in my faith. I believe that I am now a stronger, more confident person because of what I currently understand about my relationship with Jesus. I also know that I will always have more to learn and understand. That there is infinitely more spiritual wisdom than I could ever attain in a lifetime on this world.
     I have also learned that my former lack of understanding, wisdom, or knowledge, was simply lack of maturity. Oh, I may have been a mature person. Street smart, well aware of the things that I did know, but somewhat unaware of the things I didn't know. Not cocky, exactly. Of course I knew that as a young person, there was still plenty to be explored, and that I wouldn't ever get to every corner of every idea. That's a given, I hope. What I am sure of now, I realized because of teaching. Parenting, sure, but come on, teaching is a large part of parenting, a part that not all parents choose to embrace. That's another post.
     Teaching my kids over the years has taught me that some of them learn some ideas more easily than others do. For a few, their interests may ease or might complicate learning certain subjects. They learn basic ideas, first. As they mature, they learn more abstract ideas. Their heads are so full of learning, sometimes, that some ideas don't seem to make it into their heads at all. I have been an eye witness to a child asking me, "why didn't you ever teach me that? It seems to basic, and it would have helped me to learn this!", when I did, in fact, teach them that. Else, I tried to. For whatever reason, that particular child wasn't ready to learn that particular thing at that time. No problem, it was retaught, the child progressed, and learned the new concept.
     I've chosen to continue my education in God's word, learning all I can about His character and how to live this life He's given me here so that when I transition to eternity, I will be confident in it.
     If you've believed that your church let you down in their teachings, I won't argue that maybe they have. There are some kooky churches and nutty preachers out there. Search for yourself, and ask someone that you might trust to help you. Watch for people who live their life selflessly, mostly. Maybe they don't walk around preaching, but you know they aren't in it for themselves. You'll know.  If you message me, I'll pray with you to find the right people. I want you to grow in wisdom and grace, too.
     Pray with me, too, that I will communicate with my kiddos, and whomever else seeks my advice, that they won't one day want to blame my church, or my generation for letting them down with unwise or immature teaching.  Thanks.

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