As far back as I can remember, I performed. I never felt God accepted me, much less would meet me right where I was, the way I was or in who I was. I could not have put it in these words, I just knew I never felt good enough… something was wrong with me. I don’t think I knew I was performing, but I was. I don’t think I knew any other way to be. Be myself? What did that even mean? My Mom and Dad had so many problems with each other they didn’t have time to answer my questions or show me how to ‘be’ Teresa.
I was determined though! I went to every support group I could find and read every self-help book written. With each group I went to and every book I read I hoped that maybe this time (please, please, please!!) I would find an answer. I tried and tried, but every time I conquered one hurtful pattern of behaviours, another popped up. I became so very frustrated.
Oh, the support groups were great at first and I loved the community. I had never felt like I ‘fit in’ anywhere to the extent that I thought that was normal. Needless to say, I was excited to know there were other people who felt the same way and it was helpful for a while to talk about our problems and how miserable we were.
But, I remember thinking one day, “There has got to be more than this. After all, I’m a Christian; would God really do this to me? Did God really send His son Jesus to save me so I could be this miserable!?!” My conclusion was to try harder. Since Jesus died for me, it seemed the least I could for Him.
At my foundation, there were 2 basic lies I believed: “There is something wrong with me; I am not good enough.” So, I became an expert at performing. Any person, any crowd; I could adapt, become what I thought they wanted me to be. With this, I found out the less I said the better. That way people wouldn’t think I was stupid; they wouldn’t ridicule, belittle or put me down. Eventually, I lost my voice. I didn’t even know my own opinions, ideas, thoughts or feelings.
I thought I needed a formula so I could ‘fix’ myself. Little did I know I was hindering the very thing I wanted. I could not realize my full potential and be the person God created me to be; I didn’t even understand what being a person meant. I was not able to hear truth; I was not seeing Him correctly, myself, others or the world.
I stand amazed that I am about to say this to you, but God loved (loves) us so much and wanted (wants) to be with us so much that He entered into our world and met us where we were (are). He climbed into humanity and met us when we didn’t even know we were not living the way He created us to live. Father, Son and Holy Spirit want to be with us.
Jesus gave up His divine privileges, confined Himself to the body of a baby, was born in a stable and put Himself under the authority of an earthly mom and dad. The first 30 years of His life was recreating and restoring humanity through His faithful obedience and dependence on the Father day in and day out. In His death and burial, He took our sin and all its consequences upon Himself. In His resurrection, He defeated sin and death and raised us with Him to participate in His new life. In the ascension, He made a place for us in the heavenly realms included in His own life and took us back to where we were always met to be – part of His family, included in the Trinitarian dance.
And although I still do not understand the mystery of it all, Jesus Christ sent Holy Spirit to live in those who are in Him. Holy Spirit empowers us to take our place as beloved children of God, confidently participating with Jesus in His mission in this world through the unique way He created us. And Holy Spirit empowers us to cooperate with Jesus in lining up our minds, wills, emotions, bodies, thoughts, actions, behaviour and feelings with what Jesus has already done. We are new creations and we can become more like Jesus. This is not a power struggle; this is a ‘truth encounter’. He is with us.
Personal Reflection: Create space to spend time with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Have a cup of coffee with Jesus. Come as you are, be real; even if you struggle with ‘you’, tell Him that. When you can own who you are (whoever that is), you can make the changes you need to make through the empowerment of Holy Spirit.
Listen to this song, Lauren has a beautiful voice; but the words are words of a very wise young woman.
Song: ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle