Monday, June 18

deserving and undeserving


I've discovered a little something about myself, and something that is probably true for you, too.

There are days that I feel very entitled. I feel as though I have worked hard, I've been a good person, I'm kind and generous, and I'm young and vibrant, so, I deserve to have it all. I deserve lots of money, a stellar, happy, perfect marriage, all the best shoes or bracelets, a trip to the beach, etc., etc.

Then I start feeling like everything is a little too unfair. It's too unfair that my life doesn't look like hers, or it didn't work like that, or this big thing is still missing. This just turns into frustration and anger, which all stems out of and pours into and balls up into fear--fear that I'm stuck in this twilight zone of hardships and difficulties.

So to tone this down, I bounce the other way and start thinking about the families and homes being destroyed by the fires, I think of the woman who has breast cancer, the young child who lives in an abusive home. And I think about my older brother who lived in a wheelchair his entire life. He never experienced even a fraction of what I have--he was bound up by far more hardships than I was.

So now I'm on the other side, feeling like I deserve nothing short of hard jail time or to live in a box. That attitude I had where I wanted it all? Well now I’m feeling guilty and icky for ever even thinking that. What is it that I've done to deserve so much, or what makes me better than anyone else? So maybe, just maybe, I deserve to have tons of things wrong in my life.

See where I'm going with this? There is a fine-fine line between these two extremes, and typically that line is camouflaged in the woods of deep-rooted and brand new lies. One day, I can feel entitled, jealous, and angry, while the next day I can feel defeated, low, and inadequate. One attitude tells me that I'm too good for all the mess, and the other says to me that I'll never be good enough for the good that comes out of the mess. One voice tells me that I deserve it all so I'd better find it, and the other says that I'm so undeserving of a good life.

Finding the balance between these extremes is not always easy. In fact, it's one of the biggest spiritual battles I face. But when I think about Adam and all his years in a wheelchair, I think about how much he was loved. We doted over that boy day and night, spoke about him to everyone, and adored his every wink and smile. Maybe he didn't know anything of the world--the wars, Hollywood, murder, deceit--but he knew love, he felt love.

All the times throughout the day that I am crippled by anxiety, I still know love. Each moment that I am bound up by anger and disbelief, I am aware of love. It's there and it's real, it just takes some hard listening to remember that neither of these attitudes or messages is from God.

1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

God is in me and God is in you, He loves me and He loves you. These attitudes are never pretty. The entitled one has zero humility and 100% arrogance, and the undeserving attitude leaves you in places of abuse, bad relationships, and self-harm. You cannot fall for the lies of either argument, because neither of them is very loving. Love yourself, yes. Love yourself enough to treat your body, your heart, and your mind well and demand others do the same, yes. Love yourself so much that you become ungrateful for your life, probably not. But do remember that any time you have ever been down, any time you have ever been hurt or abandoned, there was someone (I pray this is true) that was there to kiss your cheek, hold your hand, sing to you, make you smile or laugh, and to love you.

God loves you more, Jesus loves you more. Jesus was no stranger to bad attitudes, harmful thoughts, or weary human-ness. He was also no stranger to comforting and healing the weak, and confronting the struggles. He did all of this with such great passion.

We know struggles, we know pain, we know hurt, and we know anger and fear. But we know love and love is always greater, always better, and always the truth no matter where you see yourself today.

A little something about never putting yourself down for wanting more.

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