Early in our marriage, Brian recognized a difference between us and we talked about it. Deep down inside, beyond all the life choices, mistakes, imperfections, criticisms and experiences, he knew that his core… was good. He could say it out loud with a deep still-watered confidence. I could not say that. Deep down inside, I knew I was flawed. Broken. Inadequate. Rotten. A failure. He couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand him. How could I have what he has?
Learning self love has been a long process of religious and cultural deconstruction. What I mean by that, is that I began to name beliefs inside myself and tear them down. Much like a renovation of an outdated house. Some parts of my internal house have been rebuilt, but many are still in the visionary stage. I am developing the vision for what I want to build there while I continue finding and peeling off bits of old ugly wallpaper. I think I’ll find bits of wallpaper for the rest of my life, but I am so relieved and happy for the major change that’s happened already.
There are more things to name than I probably can remember, but I want to try and name and memorialize some of the things I’ve torn down… and paint a general picture of my new vision.
My old internal landscape wallpaper looked like the “filthy rags” of my spiritual worth. I was, from birth, destined for destruction and God was only just to turn his back from my abject unholiness. He covered me with the righteousness of Jesus, but there was always a sense of worry that the robe might slip and my true corrupt self might show. So much stemmed from this… a belief that I cannot trust myself, that my motivations are evil, that my body and my natural urges set me on a course to destruction. I rigorously clung to behaviors and beliefs that might help keep me on the straight and narrow.
I have no hope when depending on a God who hates His creation.
This cruel God is no God worth worshiping.
This salvation is no good news.
What about a God who loves His creation? Truly loves. Enjoys. Is delighted by. A Creator who sees His creation and is delighted by its every attempt to LIVE. Righteous or not, good choices or bad, this creator sees the people made in His image and is proud of them, cheering them on, wanting the best for them. He sees me… whether I’m a Christian or not, with all my warts and imperfections and sin and imperfection and He thinks I’m beautiful! He’s proud of me! He made me… deep at my core… GOOD. Could I be? Could my internal landscape have a core of goodness? Could my body, my thoughts, my motivations… be inspired by a goodness that is built into my soul? Could I trust myself?
That would be powerful.
That thought scares me. And scares a lot of Christians.
Maybe I’m not a Christian. But I am one of the Created. It is enough.