After making significant progress on some important thinking work, I nestled under my cozy red blanket to catch a breath and snuck in a few last minutes of Oprah. The topic may have been “Lessons on Becoming Me.” Oprah had some stars talking about finding themselves. Their answers interested me, but most didn’t ring true for me. Most of the stars gave variations on the theme “love myself first, so I can give.” Yes, I do love me- which gives me something to offer. However, I believe there is an essential step long before loving myself.
How can I love myself if I haven’t taken the time to explore and find my purpose here on this earth?
And how does a woman find one’s purpose? I believe it comes down to asking the Artist who made me. What did the Creator have in mind when He formed me in my mother’s womb? I am quite certain I would not give one flip about why I was made if I didn’t believe the following with all my heart, soul, and mind:
The One who made me, loves me. Intimately. Deeply.
I don’t know why. I can’t imagine how God can look into my black stained heart and find anything to love, but He’s given me a clue in my own unshakable love for my own children. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter why I am loved- I just am.
One of the guests on Oprah mentioned something like “loving and respecting myself is like a light which causes those around me to love me as well.” I see some truth in this but don’t find it always true. Yes, authentic dignity stretches out like a proud Willow Tree, but people are capable of overlooking humanity altogether despite the good kind of enourmous self-worth. Sadly, I add myself to the "overlooking" category at times.
On Oprah's show, Sheryl Crow mentioned how she really pared down to only surrounding herself with people who were positive and supportive once she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Smart woman. I really resonated with her statement of literally “making a home with people who know who you are and what you want to be.” If you haven’t found that place to make a home, keep looking! Or even better, trust the one you already have and offer the gift of forgiveness and an open heart when things get off track.
Reba McIntyre’s quotes from the show were my favorite. When asked, “What would you say to the little girl you once were?” she replied, “Don’t wait so long to love yourself.” Next came the question, “What do you know that you know?” She responded, “ I have a Creator who loves me.” Whoa, I think she gets it.
I feel like putting oneself first doesn’t automatically take a person to self awareness and love. Listening to oneself apart from the Maker, one is likely to find the crowd of self critical voices which inhabit the human soul, or worse, end up in with a complete void. The empty seeker is then left to desperately beg everyone else around, “ I don’t like what I am. Please tell me what to be. What will make me happy? You tell me.“
I find no other satisfying way to look inside myself for answers without acknowledging and listening to my Creator. Once I’ve sought myself by abiding in Him, I’ve come out loving myself, because He found great value in me first.
There are many paths I take in abiding. Silence, dancing, running, meditating, writing, reading, walking, praying, gardening, creating all work for me. And then there are the dark nights of the soul which preserve and sustain me-
One particular moment in my tumultuous life, I particularly wrestled with becoming me. I found my deeply disappointed and disillusioned self sobbing in the shower, running my clenched fists down the dripping wall, while hot water washed over the skin of my bare back. I cried out, “God just tell me who You want me to be, and I’ll do! It’s torture not knowing. Tell me who I am! Tell me now!” I got the gentlest of all answers to my question in my next breath, “True, I could tell you to be a teacher, or a mother, or a writer, but I’d be limiting you. I want so much more for you than a few titles. If you must have Me give you a name, I have only one to offer-
Peace flooded over me; a peace that still remains in the very center of my chest. What a precious name! Beloved. I can’t be or do something more to please or impress God. I already do please Him, simply because I’m His.
Knowing I am Beloved has set me free to explore my passions without fear. I write without feeling criticized. I enjoy and learn from children. I dance in front of a thousand without a care. I teach or lead with uncommon confidence.
I am free to love and forgive as I have been loved and forgiven. That’s what I’ve become and am still becoming.
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