This summer I read Richard Rohr's book, Everything Belongs, and this sentence continues to speak to me:
“To succeed in the first half of life we usually have to deny our shadow and unacceptable self. The burden of the second half of life is often the reclaiming of what we have denied, feared, and rejected.”
Ok, there were countless one-liners, but this one spoke to me especially. I think about my childhood and how much I wanted to please those around me so much so that I became what I thought they wanted me to be.
I was obedient.
I was judgemental.
I was a "good girl."
I followed the rules.
I was all these things not because I wanted to be those per se, but because I was too scared to get into trouble. I did not want to get caught. I did not want to be rejected.
My greatest fear had everything to do with not being enough for others so I compensated by putting on the persona I believed was required of me in order to be enough for them.
This Richard Rohr quote reminds me of how I lived to survive as a child and now, how I am choosing to live well as an adult.
This includes facing what I denied, feared, and rejected in order to earn the love of others and feel as though I was enough in the eyes of those I wanted to love me.
Which is no fun task by any means.
And yet it is vital to becoming a healthier me
...I find it to be a sort of stripping off my old self so I can find my truest self.
This journey inward has taught me that I have needs, wants, and desires.
And that is ok.
This journey inward has brought up some painful memories, where I have had to learn to forgive those who have deeply hurt me.
And learn to forgive myself.
This journey inward has taught me how much I need others in my life who will listen empathetically to me as I share my story with them and who will hug me when I don't have the vocabulary to say what my heart is feeling.
This journey inward has taught me how important it is to take a deep long look at the lies I have lived by so I can rout them out and replace them with the truth about who and what I am.
You see, we are not so different, you and I.
We all have adopted a story in order to survive.
We all have struggled with lies we have believed about ourselves.
We all have doubts, questions, and fears.
We have all been hurt by others in one way or another.
We all have felt misunderstood, misrepresented, and misjudged at one point or another.
The sad, the silly, the wanting to remember, the hard, the fun, and the beautiful…
Who we are as children and the stories we lived by do not have to define who we are as adults.
The beautiful and the ugly.
The comfortable and the hard.
The serious and the fun.
It's in the remembering the stories we survived by and then being willing to take a really deep and hard look at them...
...that is where the true healing begins
...that is where we begin to see the truth of who we are
...image-bearers who are uniquely, beautifully, and wonderfully made, worthy of respect and love.
May you know that God is here with you, no matter where you are in this journey.