I listened to a sermon this morning that focused on emotional health and was blown away by the realization of how much baggage I allow myself to carry from my past. As the pastor spoke of his own testimony and examples, I mentally dug into my past and realized the underlining of why I do the things I do the way I do them.
There is one major pinpoint that has plagued me from my childhood into my adult years.
Not Good Enough – this stems from childhood memories.
- Being the second eldest grandchild, I walked in the shadow of my eldest cousin who for many years was praised and listened to. I was jealous that her center stage presence was always welcomed and good. I carried around for years the feeling of being shafted from the same praise from family, feeling that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough for praise, no matter how much I tried to out do her by word or deed; my self worth took a nose dive. I must settle for second best. This has plagued my adult years with settling in the safety zone.
- I love my dad (step-father), please don’t think I don’t. One specific year, my brother and I were raking the Autumn leaves in the backyard. Once done, dad came out of the house to inspect our work, his actions said it wasn’t good enough and began to thatch a section of the yard to show us what he expected as good. This is the reason that when I’m on the job, I feel the work I do isn’t good enough and I need to do it better, even if I’m praised for a great job.
- My parents divorced when my brother and I were young. My mother moved us from Georgia, where my father was finishing chiropractic schooling, to our home state, Michigan. Each year my father came to visit my brother and I in Michigan, usually for a couple days, though he was there for a week. I know now that he did what he knew, which to me wasn’t really parenting, but being a friend. I don’t hold any of this against him. Though, for years hated that as his child, I was only given little time in his visits, where his actions were often appeared to me as though he was buying my brother and I. I don’t know if my father ever realized that we didn’t need to be bought. We would have been fine spending quality time with him. Nor do I know that if he ever felt he needed to buy us back to him. Nonetheless, the lack of quality time in the short time he spent with us made me feel as though we weren’t good enough. These actions from the past rocked my relationship with my father. I had a hard time trusting he even wanted to be a parent and resented him because of his actions. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he started calling me out of the blue to talk and say he loved me. Though my father and I don’t talk regularly, our relationship has changed from resentment to loving friend. I will always be his daughter, I just want to feel like his daughter more than a friend.
When are we good enough? When we surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Only under our Savior are we ever good.
I still carry this baggage around with me, it affects how I speak with people and actions I take. It’s recently played its heavy hand in my job seeking. If it wasn’t for people who care for me, especially my mentor, who tackled the worthy monster early, I would’ve settled in a position unworthy. He helped me see that I’m worthy of so much more than I allow. Mostly, I’ve learned that I am good enough.
Recently a friend told me that I need to surrender, boy was she right. Surrender every piece of myself to Christ: thoughts, faithless trust, job search, desire of marriage and children, depression, isolation, quality and quantity in prayer and worship, emotions, health, money, pride, and so much more. After taking the time to journal my surrendering, I found myself emotionally drained. I was disgusted with myself and wanted to quit with this process, that would have been easier than to put myself through this life changing moment. So I pressed on, digging deeper into where God wanted me…surrendered. Giving all of me to Christ, no longer owning anything controlled and uncontrolled. I needed to be freed from slavery, bondage, baggage.
In the midst of my emotional surrendering this passage pressed upon me. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Page after page, my heart continued to scream my need for Jesus. It was as though I was fighting a battle where everything in me, though emotional distraught, I knew I needed my Savior to do anything. Without Him leading in every nook and cranny of my life, I’m sinking and out of focus, and baggage appears on my doorstep along with its friend depression expecting to stay for awhile.
Lord please “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12