After a time of sweet fellowship with a dear friend, I saw her out the door. As soon as she left, I had a cloud over my head matching the turbulent weather outside. I said to my husband, “I just don’t like myself. I don’t find myself interesting, funny, kind, or skinny.” He gave me that deer in the headlights look of one who again found himself with nothing to say. “Don’t worry babe,” I continued. “I’m not asking you to fix it. I’m not asking you to tell me all the good things about me. I think this has just brought the fears and insecurities in my heart to the surface. If you could just pray for me and give me some space to sort through this, that would be great.”
I spent the following hours in my room, avoiding doing the heart work–much like I avoid pulling off a bloody bandage. I didn’t want to see the mess, and I was afraid of it hurting. Losing myself to a good book and an avoidance nap didn’t help matters.
After a few quick texts asking friends to pray while I went deep, I began writing. “Lord, I know this is silly. I know it isn’t about how skinny I am, how interesting I am, how proficient I am in the local language, or how clean I keep my house. Yet, I am undone again by the unrealistic standards I put on myself. Help me to see myself the way you see me.”
I spent some time confessing to the Lord for not loving myself and for being unkind by comparing myself to others. My mood began to lighten, but I needed to replace the lies I had spoken over myself with the truth of how God sees me. I wrote a list of different verses that show how the Lord relates to us: he delights over us with singing, he sees us, he hears our prayers, he guides us, he knows how we are formed, he loves us.
As the rain lifted, I stumbled upon John 15:9, that says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” The lightbulb clicked on. Jesus loves me the way the Father loved him. I am loved completely, without surprise, without reservation, and without disappointment. I had no business comparing myself to anyone but Jesus. I would never measure up to the fake standards I could set on myself. But since God loves me, I could throw those standards away and rest in his love.
Do you have areas where you feel like you don’t measure up? How do you address those moments–or seasons–of shame?