I recently got out all of my old journals, the first of which began when I was barely old enough to form letters. As I read this cross-section of different stages of my life, I was struck by what now seems like unnecessary angst and striving to be good. My prayers were so earnest, and I was so anxious to do what was right. I didn’t realize that God was holding me in love the whole time, regardless of my behavior and performance. I worked so hard, hustling for worthiness (as Brené Brown says), hyper-aware of my perceived flaws, trying to be “good.” I thought that to notice a flaw meant I was immediately responsible to change that thing about myself. The striving creates anxiety, and the failure to achieve enough leads to depression.
I felt a maternal instinct toward my younger self, wishing I could wrap her in an accepting embrace and convince her of how loved she is, just as she is.
The most important thing I have discovered these last few years is that all the time I was trying so hard to be good, I forgot something much more important—I was and am loved beyond measure, just as I am. This is perhaps the least complicated but most difficult truth I know. In the moments when we can accept the abundant love that is ever-available to us from a good, good God, we are transformed, and transformed people transform the world.
May you find moments to rest in your belovedness today, no matter what you’ve done or not done. You are so loved.
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