I’ve written about how my husband and I almost got divorced a few months ago. Recently, I realized I still had some baggage about that. Here’s the astonishing truth I learned: I was angry at Him because I felt unworthy. Part of my anger was because I felt guilty.
When I got married I was already practicing taking inventory of my thoughts, my motives, and my actions. Yet my inventory seemed to be missing an important segment. I knew my flaws and my emotional baggage. I felt broken, and lucky. I felt lucky to be married to a wonderful man who treated me with kindness and understanding, listened patiently (truly patiently, not trying to be patient and seething beneath the surface) and created safety for me to process things and heal. He also never leaves the toilet seat up, cleans up after himself, does all the laundry, grocery shops (better than me at times), is active in our church, leads our family in prayer and scripture study, takes the kids to the park, takes me out on dates, etc. Sounds pretty great, huh ladies? He is. He is great. I felt lucky.
Here’s how I viewed myself in comparison: grumpy, messy, scatter-brained, broken, a burden, hard to understand, hard to live with. It was a huge surprise to me when I stopped blaming him and criticizing him and realized what a great guy he is to realize that I am pretty amazing myself. Even with my flaws, there had to be someone who loved the whole package of me and didn’t find it a burden to live with me. This may seem like common knowledge...but it was like the heavens opening up and angels singing hallelujah to me when I realized this. Do you feel LUCKY to be married to your spouse or to have good friends? I felt lucky because I felt unworthy. There is a difference between felling grateful and feeling lucky.
When I realized this my whole world changed. I believe I began to see myself as God sees me. I saw the whole package without pretending away my flaws or exaggerating my strengths and it was not so bad. I realized I had been staying with my husband because I believed I was so unworthy that no-one else could stand me. While I may be unworthy to enter God’s presence without Christ to cover my sins, I am of infinite value and worth in God’s sight and never below or above any human being. This morning I get to revisit this again because there were some left-overs of it in my soul that I get to release now. My worth and value are incalculable and I am blessed to have a great husband and other great loved-ones, and they are likewise blessed to have me. Our weaknesses and strengths both serve each other in this process of growth in mortality and we are all blessed to be in each other’s lives because life is a gift.
On the flip side: are there people in your life who you deem "lucky" to have you? Do you feel yourself a "cut above the rest"? Why do you think you need to feel that way? Why does anyone need to feel lucky to be with someone? In my egocentric moments I thought my husband was lucky to be with me and I created this to counteract how unworthy I felt to be with him, I also created the "lucky to be with you" to balance the egocentricity. All of this is a comparison issue. It's none of my business how another human being is doing in their progress in comparison to me. I believe there will be a day of judgement and that I will have nothing to do with any one's but my own. God will judge us individually according to his perfect knowledge of us. It will not matter how we fared in comparison, just what we did with what we were given.
This life is such a gift when we let go of pain, resentment, fear and justifications we can see the beautiful masterpiece God created. Half of the conclusions we draw about other people are in defense of something we are uncomfortable with about ourselves. We create caricatures to justify ourselves, we label others motives to discredit them because they point out something we are unwilling to see, unwilling to acknowledge and change. We inherently know that when we see a problem in our behavior (outward or inward) we are responsible to change it and we go to great lengths to avoid it sometimes. Let it go.
We assign so much shame to things. It makes it hard to recognize that all that is needful is to acknowledge and change course. We get to feel guilt (pain) just long enough to recognize error, change gear and let it go. Beyond that guilt becomes shame and damns our progress by skewing our view, we are continually looking for a way out of a pit that we are no longer in. Have you ever had a child beg and plead for something you are more than willing to give them? If they'll just stop long enough they'd realize it's in your hand right in front of them and all they need to do is stop begging and take it? I think that's what it may be like for God when we are constantly trying to be forgiven from something and sinking into shame. Acknowledge, ask forgiveness, accept healing through the atonement, change, let go, move forward. It's that simple. We just overcomplicate it.
I am so grateful for the love and acceptance I feel as I recognize who I am and declutter all I am not. I am grateful to know that I am of worth because I am of God. As I remember who I am, it becomes easy to recognize the rest for what it is and to let it go. I am enough without it.
Liz King Bradley
Public Speaker, Healing Coach, Author