Today is my birthday. About 4 years ago I began a tradition of not waiting on someone else to celebrate me, instead, I would plan to celebrate myself. And I had some really great celebrations with friends; from Starbucks trips, concerts, and fancy lunches to paint night, sushi, and late-night ice cream.
Then, one year, I just didn’t feel like doing anything. I think I was burnt out from ministry and over-extending myself. So, instead, I mostly took the time to rest. This year is weird too. Though I had been separated for about 4 years, this is the first year that I am divorced… officially single.
I am in a season of drought and burning fire. God spoke to me, He told me it was for my good, that this needed to happen and it would be painful and lonely… that doesn’t make it any easier.
So, instead of my usual, “Woo hoo! It’s my Birthday!” mood, I’ve just felt like crying all morning. I’m sitting in a coffee shop now holding back the tears. Ugh, crying in public is the worst.
Why write this blog? Well, maybe it’s because I am a known over-sharer… or maybe I just want to encourage someone who may be going through a similar season.
God has been teaching me how to love myself and how to allow myself to be truly loved by him. I’ve spent a good amount of my life codependently looking for worth and love in people. This way of living included never rocking the boat or speaking up for myself because I feared being rejected by people. I had rejection PTSD.
In my pursuit of love, I failed to love myself. And God tells me that I can’t even fully love another selflessly until I’m able to love myself and allow Him to love me. Why? Because without seeing myself as worthy and treating myself with love and respect which goes hand in hand with allowing God to fully love me, I will be looking for fulfilment in people. This means that I am not selflessly loving, I’m loving with the intent of getting myself filled up.
When I see myself as lovable and worthy and treat myself as such, I’m able to be filled up with God’s love. It’s not something I must strive for or earn. It just is. Once I can fully grasp this amazing, grandiose, heavenly love, I can extend that love to others from my abundance. Love that comes from a deficiency isn’t a godly agape love.
Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.
The past few years have been a consistent lesson on loving myself, caring for myself, and allowing God to fully love me, but this new year has felt like boot camp in these areas. Sometimes God needs to break our hearts to get rid of the habits, lies, and things that never belonged there. He is refining with fire, purifying with pressure, and pruning every branch that doesn’t belong.
And that is exactly how my heart has been feeling: broken. Not broken for a person or a relationship, but broken from letting go of the codependency, people pleasing, and acceptance chasing that my life once was. Those things were comfortable, they were a source of feeling loved and worthy, but they were the wrong source. They were broken wells that couldn’t hold water. So, I’m transitioning from that life into learning how to be completely fulfilled by God, letting him be my ultimate source of love and being content in Him alone.
The space in-between those places is barren and lonely. It’s painful and it tests where my loyalty really lies. Under pressure will I run back to the comfort of fleeting, dysfunctional, toxic relationships, or will I run towards God, hang onto His hand and ride this out with Him? I choose the latter. I choose the creator of my heart, the one who has loved me beyond anyone else in this world, the one who has the words of LIFE. Where else could I go? That’s a rhetorical question of course… 😉
In love and understanding,