In this, I am my own worst enemy. I am highly self-critical and am prone to daily self-analysis and rebuke. Oh Carl Jung. I understand that my introvert personality is in conflict with my heart convictions about doing life in the context of community.
Being at home, alone with my thoughts and God, is sanctuary. Being with people, verbally processing, is vitalizing. And I struggle to find the right balance and combination.
I deeply crave to do life WITH people. To share our journeys. To intersect and intertwine. To learn and grow in community. My StrengthsFinder report on my Connectedness strength says I am “guided by the notion that no one can live life without some help from others.”
It’s true. I believe that I cannot live life without some help from others. I seek out mentors and wise people to glean from. I look for the feedback and insights of others. I want to team with people. Collaborate. Link arms. Co-labor. I open my heart and lay out my life journey. I am looking for others who want to do the same.
But often I walk away regretting my attempts. Wishing I hadn’t tried. In my pursuit of intertwined community, I have become scarred by rejection.
My incredibly wise and caring husband has advised that I cut certain people out of my life. He says I should carefully choose who I listen to and who I share life with. He says that I thrive with health when I’m around people who speak into my life with exhortation and encouragement. He’s right. The problem is, I have a deep conviction that community takes a lot of work and that you have to commit to walking through hard stuff as well as enjoy the joy of the good stuff.
Recently a wonderful wise godly mentor said that she likes who I am. She said that I am a source of great joy in her life. That the thoughts that I share impact her life in deep and good ways. She said that she loves me.
I am actually tearing up right now. It feels like her love has healed past rejections. It feels like a grew wings and I’m soaring above the brambles of criticism I’ve been hacking my way through for far too many years.
There is so much power in her love. Our relationship is slowly breaking down my cage of self-critique. Her words are injecting life and vision and joy into my identity. Her encouragement is exposing just how powerful and damaging judgement and criticism has been. I have been carrying a torch for contempt.
This is such a layer-upon-layer issue for me. I highly regard honest feedback. I prize self-reflection and growth. I want to always be instantly sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But I keep ending up in the bondage of feeling judged, condemned and unloved.
“Do everything in Love.” (1 Cor 16:14 NIV)
I do a lot of things in Love. But here’s something I am lacking Love for: me. I am not a fan of me. I do not love myself. I will pour out my all for people and for visions and for projects. But, it seems, I don’t deem myself worthy of the same level of care and love.
Once again I’m desperate to find the balance of having a strength of identity and a joy of loving life… AND being receptive to growing, turning and changing. My pendulum has swung too far and is stuck.
So here I am today, sipping coffee and thinking about love, being loved, and loving myself.
When will I believe all that Yahweh says about me? Oh Father God help me be free.