11 September 2016

Lover of My Soul

"You've got some kinda attitude, son," sez I to my oldest.
"Yeah, that's because I'm stupid," he said back to me.
"You are not. Don't ever say that."
"Why not?" (always)
"Because God doesn't make stupid people."

pregnant elderberry, reaching for the sky and weighted down with ripeness
But in the corner of my mind? There's the automatic "except me." Which is why I was not terribly surprised to hear his words, because he's so, so much like me: so terribly sensitive, so easily overwhelmed, so easily discouraged. And, just like his mama, he feels like everything is "my fault."

Which grieves the very inmost parts of me. Did he absorb my constant interior self-trashing through osmosis? How often has he heard those self-disparaging remarks that escape my lips without my even noticing I'm doing it? How often have the thoughtlessly cruel things about him blurted out, me hardly thinking about it and him cut, scarred? He doesn't hold it as a grudge against me, I know - though I've no idea why! - but how much have I contributed to him sharing in my daily, momently struggle of self-loathing?

volunteer watermelon
Chesterton it was who said that the longest journey is from the head to the heart. In my head, even in my soul, I know Christ died for me out of love, that I alone truly am worth every drop of blood that came from His Body. There are times when receiving His Body and Blood overwhelm my whole self, when I feel Him in the very depths of my being and I don't notice that my toddler is taking off her dress in the cry room. My "revert" to the faith was hard one, and my commitment to Christ has undergone trials of fire. He is mine, I know beyond all doubt. Lord, where else would I go?

Yet, even so, my interior dialogue remains firmly entrenched: You're no good. See how stupid you are. What an idiot. How could you think you would deserve anything else? There are whole books, I know, about reprogramming our self-talk and self-imaging. Books, though, can't change our hearts. They can't take those beliefs and experiences into our every-day struggles and make it real in the way you need it, friend, because the way you need it is different even from what I need. (Not that I'm decrying self-help books. If they have helped you - huzzah!) But the problem, I have come to think, is learning to find Christ NOW.

Right now.

This moment.


As I have said for the last couple of years, there is no particular reason that you, or I, are alive right now. And today of all days, we ought to bear that in mind. Some people that we assumed would be with us are not. Which means only that God has work left to do both in and through you. Do you believe that? Do *I*? In theory, of course! In reality? Well, I am beginning to suspect it is a cop-out. If I am a worthless failure, then I don't have to step up and play ball. If I "know" that I am no good, that people talk about me with condescending sneers, that I am not worth your notice or God's . . . then I don't have to try. I have already failed, so I already have an out for not getting the laundry done, not cleaning my house, not taking that walk . . .

Someone turned one!
This is getting far longer than I wanted, so: We are accountable for every moment. If we have experienced the love of Christ, then we have no reason - NO REASON - to shirk our duties, to accept failure, to settle for mediocrity in marriage or motherhood or whatever your vocation is. He calls us out of love, and asks only that we answer with joy and trust. So often, I do not. What about you?



Anonymous said...

I've heard, from those wiser than myself, that when we hear these negative thoughts in our heads and they are accusations (beginning with "you") they are not from ourselves, but whispered by the evil one who want to keep us away from God. We must not listen to these words or give them any credence. instead, speak Scripture:
"For I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'Plans to prosper and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.' "

j'aime said...

I've heard that, too. :) I have no doubt that spiritual attack is part of it, but my main point is the soundtrack we allow in our own minds and how that affects those around us, specifically our children.
God bless.