I used to hate myself. I am not sure I knew it. I don't think anyone else would have known it; although, there were well camouflaged clues along the way. However, I always felt guilty - never "enough." I saw my mistakes, weaknesses, and short-comings and they were so magnified that I carried a heavy weight in my heart. I was pretty sure my husband did not "really" love me. I am not sure I felt totally secure in my parents love. I felt that I needed to "do" and "be" a certain person in all my relationships - including my relationship with God - and that somehow I was always just missing the mark. I was working - very hard - and I was also failing and floundering and depressed. For me, this depression was somewhat cyclic and I had "seasons" where the cloud would lift. It involved a dance of pursuit and distance, highs and lows, basing my worth on my performance, and I am not sure when it started, but I do know when it ended.
Sometime in the Spring of 2012, while the tulips and daffodils came to new life, so did my heart. God spoke truth, love, and grace into my heart and set me free from my own self-loathing. He also gave me Zoloft, a fantastic Christian Counselor, and relationships where I could be 100% open without fear, Praise Jesus. My life has changed, my relationships have changed, my marriage has changed, and I have so much more freedom in life. The dance looks different these days and involves a little more of Mommy shaking her booty in the kitchen while cooking dinner. Oh, things are not always tulips, daffodils, and booty shaking, but now I recognize the cycles and both have tools and accountability to notice when a downward spiral begins.
There has also been a down-side to my freedom. Somehow, in my mind, the legalism, self-loathing, and lead weight of all my guilt - a life full of unending unmet self-expectations - got bound in with, I hate to admit it, my Bible. During this Lenten season (the 40 days leading up to Easter), I committed myself to go through the life of Jesus with a daily reading plan. This has been an exercise in discipline for me; however, I have begun to find a fresh relationship between my mind and God's Word. I love God's Word - but, I have somehow also been wounded at times by legalism that called itself God's World.
So, I have been rediscovering the Bible, reading through a lens of love and with a willingness to wrestle with it when the wrestling moments come, and they will come. I am beginning to find a place where I worship and yearn for Christ and can study His Word with a pure heart. I have lived a "moral" Christian life - making "good" choices, there is no doubt that my life is better because of that. However, Jesus has lead me to a place where being "good" is not enough - I want to be radically changed by Jesus. I want my life to be different because He has made me new. I want the world around me - the people who come into my life - to be different because Jesus is a part of my life. Thank, God, for being about the business of making everything new, and especially, for a new kind of dance.
Middle J-Crew was in Kindergarten and at a weekday children's program at Church. At some point during the evening, my then darling little 6 year old daughter, said to her teacher, "My Mommy shakes her booty in the kitchen." I must have been in an "up" cycle!