Too much. Too intense. Too crazy. Too opinionated. Too controlling. Too active. Too passionate. Too angry. Too expressive. Too eager… [this self-talk swirled my thoughts down the toilet]
Someone would tell me to just “calm down” and I’d feel like screaming. I’d share my opinions and I’d get a head shake or smirk in response and want to leave the room defeated. Someone else would misinterpret my passion as anger directed toward them, and I’d wonder what was wrong with me. Believing the lies that who I was wasn’t acceptable, I learned who could handle me and who couldn’t, and around those who didn’t agree, connect, or appreciate my personality, I’d squelch it, smothering my voice–pretend to be someone else.
And it was killing me, because I felt like such a fake. Wearing masks could be the most fatiguing practice of all because you never really know if people love you for who you are or not. Since being understood is more important to me than being accepted, I felt like I was dying a slow death with certain people.
At Bible study, a couple of godly women encouraged me to work on the insecurities under the surface before I tried to “fix” the relationships. They told me I had to learn how to rest in God’s acceptance and delight over me, instead of striving for affirmation from people that may never give it. They encouraged me not to lose myself to help maintain a relationship. It all sounded good, but I didn’t know how to let go of expectations and hopes. I don’t know how to let go of dreams (I want to be loved and accepted by those I love): physically, yes, but not emotionally. I don’t know how to be dismissed and disdained for someone that I’m not. How do I rest in myself while also understanding that God puts people in my life to sharpen and refine me? What if I need really do need to “lose a little of myself” to be a better version of me? What’s okay and what is uncontrolled sin-nature that needs to go?
Philippians 4:5 kept coming to mind: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Some versions say “reasonableness” or “considerate in all you do.” Although I will never be a meek or mild person, I do need to learn the value of tempering my words and sharing my heart or thoughts when the Holy Spirit grants me the green light to do so. As I tell my daughter, “just because it pops into your head doesn’t mean it needs to come out of your mouth.” Did I feel like people had to accept all the impatient, ranting, fired-up syntax and attitudes to really love me?
What part of me honored God (His design in me) and what part of me needed pruning? Was I holding on to a part of me that was cancerous?
Then I read this in my FB feed and Lysa’s words spoke directly to my heart.
There may absolutely be something that Jesus wants to address in our hearts. But remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Jesus doesn’t use the statements, “You always do this…” and “You never do that….” Jesus doesn’t use our situations against us.
He simply brings truth to life and asks us to align with it. ~Lysa Terkeurst
When He critiques us, He does so out of the purest love that wants only our best. He doesn’t criticize because we annoy or rattle Him. He doesn’t say, “Why can’t you just be like your type-B counterpart?” He made me a Type-A, Enneagram-8, INFJ, and allow I can never claim my weaknesses as crutches to excuse bad behavior, I can rest in the fact that He designed my wiring. It’s not for me to rewire. Whatever needs tweaking is in His hands; I just need to be willing and ready to align my heart, thoughts, and actions with His truth. If I’m acting opposed to His ways, I need to get in step–that’s that.
At the root, I have to understand that God loves me and wants to be with me: that’s where my acceptance rests (not with others). Even so, I need to be sure I don’t flip my hair at the world and say, “Forget you. Who needs ya?” because we do need one another. We need to love and be loved, in a healthy, non-codependent way that gives grace to other’s and their failures.
John 15:15 – “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I have heard from My Father have I made known to you.”
Isaiah 49:16a – “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;“
Romans 6:6 – “Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.”
Ephesians 4:24 – “Put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.”
1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise You, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and You know completely.”
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Philippians 3:20 – “But our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 3:1-3 – “If you then were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
“Learning how to love your neighbor requires a willingness to draw on the strength of Jesus Christ as you die to self and live for Him. Living in this manner allows you to practice biblical love for others in spite of adverse circumstances or your feelings to the contrary.”- John C. Broger
“Love your neighbors through thick and thin… Don’t seek to please them, but to please your Master; and remember, if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your deed is acceptable to Him as if it had been acceptable to them.”- Charles Spurgeon