I have quite the confession to make. I have been living a lie. At first, I was stopped in my tracks. I did a double take. I even raised an eyebrow.
My heart was pressed with the question, “Do you love yourself?”. Immediately, I thought, “How silly. Of course I love myself.”. But then the question persisted. And I realized my answer was actually a resounding, “NO!”.
I love God and love others well. So, it appeared that I had loved myself. But even I was fooled.
I’ve long carried around fake ID’s that made it appear as if I loved myself. Those ID’s were labeled ‘Perfectionist’ and ‘Controller’. I thought that being lovable could only be acheived by striving for perfectionism in ‘doing’ . I believed that if I could just control situations, outcomes, and even other people, then I would have value and be enough.
Except every single day- actually, all day long- I was beating myself with these lies. Because I could never achieve those expectations I placed upon myself. I was a failure at being a perfectionist. I was a failure at being in control. Therefore, I constantly told myself, “I am a failure.”
Even more, I blamed everyone else for those unmet expectations. ‘If only you could see how hard I’ve worked to make this as (close to) perfect as I could. If only you would just listen to my advice and follow what I know is best.’ I was infuriated with those people on the reciprocating end of my relationships. ‘If they don’t value my efforts, they must not love me’. Therefore, ‘How can I even love me?’.
I have spent many days crying from the hurt and anger. Until I finally chose to pay close attention to the right insight. I had to stop interrogating everyone else and myself.
I finally got it in my mind that perfectionism and control are not expected from God. Therefore, I should never place those false expectations upon myself. I had to bring those fake ID’s under the interrogating lamp. I had to look into the mirror to see the real enemy looking back at me.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.- 2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
I didn’t love myself. So, how could God truly love me? I didn’t fully believe. I was an unbelieving believer. Except, there is no such thing. Either I was going to believe or I was not.
I decided I was going to believe. And in order to do that I had to review the case of the real criminal who was already put on trial long ago:
- Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made…- Genesis 3:1 ESV
- The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”- Job 1:7 ESV
- …your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.- 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…- John 10:10 ESV
Next, I reviewed the Word (Truth) that has come forth from Jesus:
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.- John 14:27 ESV
- …I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.- John 10:10 ESV
- I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.- John 14:6 ESV
- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.- John 15:9, 11 ESV
I have chosen to believe (in full) Jesus’ words and works on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The case has been closed. Through His sacrifice, He made salvation and freedom possible. I have an Attorney, Jurer, and Judge through the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus, and God Almighty. Yes, the entire rest of the courtroom is on my side (Romans 8:31-39). In fact, those people on the reciprocating end of my relationships are not against me. And I do not even have to be against myself.
I no longer have to be held hostage to those condemning fake ID’s of ‘Perfectionist’ and ‘Controller’. In fact, I “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we [I] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.- (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). They have been exposed and disposed of. I thank God that Christ gave me a new ID when I accepted Him into my life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.- 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV.
I choose to believe. I choose to live free as a new creation. I choose to love God, love others and love myself. In that order; yet all at once.
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. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.- Galatians 2:20-21 ESV