Last night, I had a vivid dream. I was watching myself walk through my life and make the poor decisions as I made them. I felt the emotion of those events, as well as the emotions I faced after the events happened.
It wasn’t a “you idiot” kind of dream. Not even a little bit. It was a heartwrenching “oh, sweetie – you have no idea” dream.
As I retraced my steps of the past, my heart shattered several times, but it also danced with joy on occasion. I watched a young girl – desperate for acceptance – face her defeats – and her victories – from an outsider’s perspective. Since I was that girl, I also experienced every emotion as she faced these events.
My entire life was a struggle for acceptance and needing to feel like I was enough. Even the victories came from that place. The drive, the fear, the panic, the anxiety. They bombarded me as I slept.
I watched as this younger, thinner, prettier version of me repeatedly fell for the wrong guys, then faltered as she tried to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Even as a thin (yet muscular) teenager/twentysomething, nothing was ever enough. I was never enough. I was terrified of being second best (or worse).
In a class of 398, I was upset that I wasn’t in the top ten (I think I was 17 in the rankings). I went into a frenzy if I didn’t have straight A’s. I panicked if I was second chair in band. I saw a fat chick in the mirror even when I could see collarbones (I remember collarbones – and I miss them terribly). I never gave myself the benefit of the doubt.
As I watched this replay, I repeatedly thought, “Oh, honey. You just don’t understand. You don’t see how much you are loved. How much you are enough. Look up. Just. Look. Up.” I didn’t judge my younger self, though. I just wished she had seen herself for who she was then: a child of God, created in His image.
I think that’s the biggest issue: we don’t see ourselves for who (and whose) we are. We don’t understand that being created in the image of God makes us beautiful, amazing, and incredible. It makes us enough.
God sees us for who we were, are, and will be. I’m pretty sure He smiles at us. I’m positive He laughs and has a sense of humor. He must have a sense of humor if He created that quality, right?
I’m learning that all we have to be is His child. If we seek Him in all we do – taking our issues and joys to Him daily – then He will take care of the rest. The hard part is understanding how to trust Him with it all, but He created the universe, so I’m certain He can handle it all. But, oh! It’s so incredibly hard! We want to handle it all. We hide when we make mistakes. Maybe we feel insignificant in this huge world. Perhaps we are angry with Him over what has happened.
We can take all of these things to Him in prayer. Even the anger, confusion, and uncertainty. We just have to lay it down and let Him pick it up. He knows anyway, and hiding only increases the distance between us and God, so talk to Him.
This is a journey, but one that we don’t make alone. He is beside us. He shows His love for us in so many ways. A smile from a stranger. A breathtaking sunset. (I hear sunrises are pretty awesome, too, but I tend to sleep through most of those unless I’m at the beach). The face of a baby deer peering at you with curiosity. The love of a pet. Those are all gifts most of us take for granted, but they are His love in action.
When you think back on your past, give yourself some of the grace He has shown you. You’re forgiven for what you have done. Those mistakes form the person you have become, as well as equip you for your purpose. Nothing is wasted in the hands of God.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV