and echoes in our hearts. -hillsong, “no other name”
For some reason one a.m. seems to be prime blogging time for me. That, or it has something to do with the hour and a half nap I took today that’s preventing me from falling asleep before midnight like a normal human being and I just needed something to do.
It’s been a while since I made a quality post, and so many things have happened since then that it would be impossible for me to even try to tell you about them all. Well, not impossible. It would just take more time than I’m willing to give at the moment.
So instead, I’m just going to leave you with this picture and this Bible verse reference: 1 John 4:18- “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” I’m sharing this with you because God is currently changing my life with this verse, and that’s really not an overstatement.
Since coming to this amazing school two months ago (which is an insane thought because I honestly feel like I just unpacked my giant red suitcase- but maybe that’s because I got back from fall break two weeks ago and I literally did just unpack my giant red suitcase), I’ve gotten involved with a wonderful Christian group full of wonderful people who are showing me what it really means to live in Christ.
Part of that means loving without fear, and also being loved without fear; both of which are things that God’s recently been revealing to me that I struggle with. Big time. I have a hard time grasping the concept of unconditional love, even though I know in my heart that that’s exactly how Jesus loves me.
I just don’t see how He could when I’ve screwed up so many times, said and thought so many ugly things, had such a selfish and jealous heart, put so many other things in my life above Him, downright walked away from Him when He was reaching out for me, and lived my life in ways that I know probably hurt Him to watch.
And if I can’t believe that He, the definition of forgiveness and mercy and grace, loves me unconditionally… then how can I believe it about other human beings that are just as messed up as I am?
I feel like I constantly have to put on a show for other people. I constantly have to prove to others how funny, smart, clever, talented, caring, fun, kind, unique, fill-in-the-blank positive adjective I am. I constantly have to prove that I’m a person worth loving. And when I feel that I’ve failed to do that, I feel like I have to make it up somehow. I’m constantly weighing the scales of other people’s love for me, and I’m constantly falling short.
And that’s where the fear comes in. I’m afraid- no, I’m straight up terrified of not being good enough. I’m afraid of not being accepted. I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of being the girl who laughs too loudly or causes the awkward silence. I’m afraid of being the girl who people talk about when she’s gone. I’m afraid of being the girl people make excuses for not to hang out with or leave mid-conversation to talk to someone with more interesting things to say. I’m afraid of not being loved for who I am.
So it’s a lot easier and safer for me to pull an Elsa and shut up, shut down, and shut people out. I’ll give a little of the love I have, but not too much just in case it isn’t reciprocated. I’ll open up and be myself, but only in small doses just in case someone finds that self annoying or unlikable. I spend most of my time alone in my freezing palace of crystal ice, but it’s okay because I’ve adjusted to the cold and it’s pretty and safe and even sometimes cozy in here.
But then Anna (aka Jesus) came along, knocked on my door, and asked me to build a snowman with him.
Not really. But that would be pretty freakin’ sweet.
No, what He did is even better. He wrapped his arms around me in a warm, Olaf-esque hug and started to thaw my frozen heart. He brought the right verses and the right songs and the right people in at the right times, when He knew I most needed them, and began to show me what I’ve been missing for so long. How being afraid of not being loved has kept me from truly loving others and, in turn, accepting the love they offer me.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” -The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still melting. I’m still healing. I still have days where I’m tempted to crawl back into my shiny ice castle and lock myself away from the world. But every time He keeps coaxing me out, showing me through various and wonderful ways that unconditional love really is a thing, and it’s something that has always been held out to me- it’s just taken me a while to reach out and take it. But that doesn’t make it any less real.
I hope, friend, that you also will reach out and take it. Know that you are precious and beautiful and special, for no other reason than you are His. Know that you are good enough, because His blood made you so. Know that whoever you are, I love you.
And Jesus does, too. 🙂