The other night my 11-year-old knocked over my glass I’d put on the floor next to the sofa where I was sitting. She didn’t see the glass, and most of its contents spilled out on the floor. I was frustrated, even exasperated.
There was no yelling, no shaming, no telling her to be more careful. It was all okay.
Until my dear girl spoke the words, “I hate myself.”
Her response shocked me, not only because the mistake was not a big deal, but because her words were so hurtful toward herself. Immediately I rose and approached her and took her face in my hands. I looked into her eyes for several moments,
I saw in her a deep desire to believe the worst about herself.
I saw in her a deep need for absolute, unconditional love, for real, absolute truth, and for unrestricted, wholehearted acceptance.
I saw in her a strong desire to be seen and to belong.
I saw in her a reflection of me.
In that moment, as I held her face in my hands and looked into her eyes, I spoke a deep, unshakable truth:
“I am tired. I am human. I was frustrated. Even so, I love you. You are smart. You are amazing. You are creative. You are beautiful in your soul and your heart. I love you beyond words and it is so not okay for you to say you hate something I love so very much.”
I repeated these words two more times, holding that sweet face in my hands and my gaze as I watched her eyes, eyes that wanted to argue with me.
But as I’ve thought about my girl’s words, I realize how deeply we tend to believe the lies we collect as we journey through this world:
you’ve failed to live up to who you want to be;
you aren’t good enough;
you’re never going to measure up;
you’ve waited too long to get started;
you’re not as good, successful, competent, talented, (fill in the blank with the words you tell yourself way too often).
Today is the first day of the second half of 2019, and as much as I believe every day is a celebration of new opportunities and new beginnings and new mercies, I admit that I am relentlessly hard on myself. As July 1 approached, I felt led to commit to writing and posting every day for the rest of the year.
But as soon as I spoke those words to myself, I responded like my sweet girl when she knocked over my glass the other night. The lies flooded in:
you’ve got nothing worth saying;
you’ll never do it;
you’ve tried and failed before do you really think this time it will be different?
We collect lies like a child collects fireflies. We catch them and we keep them and we look at them too often and way too long, until they become our truth. A warped truth that colors our experience with bitterness, jealousy, fear, doubt.
A friend tells me she’s going to spend some time writing and I scoff and consider disengaging because I’m not writing.
I read a Facebook post about what another mom’s kids can do by the age my kids are and I tell myself I’m not as good a mother as she is.
I visit a friend who has three new pieces of furniture and I lament that we are still barely treading water.
I look around at the clutter and chaos and mess around me and I tell myself things will never get better.
I stand in the middle of my life, holding tight to my jar of twinkling lies. Lies that weigh me down and steal my joy and overshadow my hope.
And that’s when I hear it. A whispered invitation to loosen the lid on my jar crammed with lies and set myself free. Set down the jar and enter into the sacred space of this life, the space where God beckons me come.
My eyes rest on the jar, its lies spilling out and I whisper, “I hate who I’ve become.”
But God draws near to me and draws my eyes to His and He whispers a deep, unshakable truth:
“You are tired. You are human. You are frustrated. Even so, I love you. You are smart. You are amazing. You are creative. You are beautiful in your soul and your heart. I love you beyond your understanding and it is so not okay for you to say you hate something I love so very much.”
Once again, as He has done so often throughout my journey through this world, God has pierced my heart with His unconditional love for me.
I am loved.
No matter what I do or how I mess up or how many false starts I have in parenting or writing or anything else – I am loved.
Maybe you, too, need to hear this absolute, unconditional, unshakable truth. Maybe you, too, need to release the lies you’ve collected day after day and embrace the Truth. Speak it aloud. You are enough. You are amazing. You are loved.
Tell the lies that’s more than enough because you are more than enough.
I hope my girl not only heard that truth and felt that truth from me the other night, but I pray she believed that Truth.
And I hope and pray you and I do, too.