It is very hard to feel safe when your worth is in everyone else’s hands – your husband’s, children’s, friends’, family’s, the strangers’ in the supermarket watching you handle a tantrum… When that is the case, we find ourselves constantly alert for danger and defensive, as we can hear an attack in almost anything.
Am I enough?
When all my boats had floated away, when I was stripped of all my roles, beliefs, achievements etc, was there enough left to be valuable? When my worth was in other people’s hands – No way! I needed achievements, I needed success! I needed to believe the right things, do the right things, have the right things. Other people had to agree that my choices were spot-on. If they didn’t (ie they questioned or challenged me on them) they never became more than an acquaintance. In addition, my husband and children had to make me look good too.
It was a tightrope existence that required control over things (ie people!) I had little to no control over. What other people thought was very important, and what made things even harder is that I tended to non-conformity in my search for the ‘perfect’ way of living – I home-birthed, I homeschooled, I co-slept, I breastfed all my children past age 2, I wore my babies, I practiced natural family planning, I used natural medicine more than conventional, I used cloth nappies etc etc! So every conversation turned into a potential debate and an opportunity to feel like a failure if I didn’t present my argument persuasively enough. The stress of it!
A big lie that many of us believe is “I am not enough”. That in and of ourselves, we are not valuable enough to be loved. That our core is a pile of garbage that we need to put layers and layers of bright, shiny, sparkly bling around to hide, or worse, that Jesus covered up (but did not remove) with his sacrifice.
Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, our core is like a valuable diamond that has been covered in muck (as well as bling) and needs to be revealed! We have worth simply because we EXIST.
Consoling the Heart of Jesus
It took a long time for this truth to sink in, that I am valuable, and enough, regardless of how other people treat me or think of me. Children can say and do things which seem quite unappreciative, inconsiderate and thoughtless (they’re kids after all!) and my ‘I’m not valuable’ button would be pushed daily, yet I continued to tie my worth to how they treated me.
In my head I knew there was only one really safe pair of hands to put my worth in – God’s – but my heart (soul) was very stubborn about letting this truth penetrate. The key that unlocked my heart came while I was reading the book ‘Consoling The Heart of Jesus’ by Br Michael Gaitley. It is a ‘do-it-yourself’ retreat and the first meditation took me to the cross of Christ.
I was asked to imagine Jesus saying, “Behold this heart that loves so much, yet is so little loved.” I saw his tears and felt his pain. I had experienced the same kind of pain, the lack of appreciation, the endless giving without receiving anything back in return. The total indifference to the sacrifices I’d made. My own heart knew what it was like to have loved so much, yet be so little loved. I re-lived it with and in his pain, and his tears moved me deeply. Here was the vulnerable Christ, the Christ that could be hurt by me, that I had understood cognitively, but now was experiencing relationally.
At once I understood just how much he loved me, how much he ached for me, how my fear of coming too close to him wrenched his heart, and my knot of fear and distrust was loosed at the same time. I no longer feared what he might ask me to do in return for all his love. I knew. He just wanted me to come to him, to trust him, and to be his friend.
The only safe place to leave your worth is in the hands of Jesus, who wants nothing from you but love and trust. When you believe that, nothing that anyone does or says can shatter you any more, and peace can reside in your heart despite the chaos swirling round you.
More Helpful Truth Coaches
I am valuable, and enough, just because I exist.
At my core is a diamond that is being revealed.
I will not tie my worth to others doing what I want anymore.
My worth and value are not threatened when my beliefs are challenged or questioned.
Not everyone has to like me or agree with me.