We struggle with trust when we don’t believe we are worthy of receiving love.
– Brene’ Brown
Not long ago, I was watching a video of Brene’ Brown on YouTube and heard those words. A bright light snapped on inside me. It was my a-ha moment. I began to feverishly write in my journal – quick, scribbly pen marks racing to capture the thoughts zipping through my mind.
My #OneWord for 2018 was Trust. On this blog, I confessed that I have difficulty trusting. I second-guess. I self-protect. I over-think. Last year, someone told me that I sabotage my own happiness because I don’t truly believe I deserve to feel happy. I don’t believe I’m worthy of receiving love. I conceded that this may be true, but I didn’t really connect the dots between worthiness and trust until I heard Brene’ Brown say this.
As I scrawled a prayer in my journal, thoughts came quickly, as if a curtain had suddenly been rolled back.
For most of my life, I sat in church week after week where (among other, more uplifting things) I was reminded that I’m a sinner, unworthy of God’s love – a person whose very best efforts are a pile of poo, a person whose goodness is no better than nasty, bloody, used period rags. Though I certainly understand why the Apostle Paul would need to offer this reminder to a bunch of pharisaical people trying to earn their way to God, to a girl already struggling with insecurities this repeated message was a bit much. Combine this with an unhealthy dose of perfectionism, some unresolved issues from the early teen years, lots of sermons about sin, and it all adds up to plenty of shame and trust issues. Of course I have a hard time believing I’m worthy of love and happiness!
I’m sure I’m not alone.
The thing is — none of those things I was told are completely untrue. But taken out of the full context of scripture, they are dangerous. While it’s true that I’m not All That, I’m also not a pile of poo. While it’s true that I’m not impressive enough to earn favor with a perfect, holy God, I’m also not a heap of nasty, bloody rags to Him either. I don’t repulse God. And the fact that I’m a sinner is only the beginning of my story. My achievements don’t add up to earn me anything with God, but my person, my soul, my entire being is relentlessly beloved by God. My broken, sinful soul needs God’s healing and loving presence, but it isn’t grounds for shame and disqualification for happiness.
I fear that too many young women in the Church are living fearful, broken, shame-filled lives, unable to trust because they feel unworthy of love. Because they’ve been told again and again that they aren’t worthy, that there is nothing good in them.
Friends, listen – God has been healing me. He has held fast to my soul, whispering love, whispering security. He has been so faithful and kind to me, so patient, so good. As I’ve doubted and flailed about, as I’ve hidden behind walls, as I’ve pushed people away, God has remained steadfast, rooted and grounded beside me. God has faithfully loved me. God has whispered within my soul that I am valued, that I am worthy because I am made in God’s own image. Simply because I am alive, because God made me. I am worthy of love. Because I belong to God, because I bear God’s image, because God has rejoiced over me and poured out His love onto me, I am worthy of love. God has made me worthy. I have value.
And you have value. You are worthy because God has made you worthy as well. You also bear God’s image. God has rejoiced over you. God looks at you and calls His creation good. He faithfully loves you. He is steadfast, rooted and grounded beside you, loving you with gentleness and kindness. You are worthy of love because God has loved you and continues to love you. You’re worthy because He is worthy and has chosen to pour out His love and mercy and grace onto you.
As Brene’ Brown says, “we can’t ask people to give us something that we do not believe we’re worthy of receiving.” We can’t trust other people or expect people to trust us if we don’t trust ourselves, if we don’t believe we’re worthy of love. As God continues to heal the shame-filled, broken, insecure parts of us, we begin to believe we’re worthy of love, we begin to trust ourselves, we begin to trust other people.
I believe. Help my unbelief.