It didn’t take long to become a failure.

At this point in my life I’m a pretty sarcastic person. I think I’m hilarious. Hysterical, even. A riot. See what I did there? I’m can also be seen as a cocky person, but it’s always sarcastically cocky. There are a few who think I’m sincerely cocky. A few who think I feel I’m better than most. There are a few who think I’m judgmental, probably because my sarcasm as viewed as something truthful instead of the joke it was intended to be.  Or maybe I do something else to offend them.  I really don’t know.

No matter what people are saying or thinking about me, it’s got nothing on what I feel for myself. We’re the hardest on ourselves, aren’t we?  If you’ve read my last post, you know how I’ve struggled with hatred toward myself.  I may not have said it explicitly, but the hatred was usually for me.  Even now, I find a lot of things about myself that I associate with failure. Like it’s just part of who I am – a failure.

Seriously, please don’t start saying things like, “Oh, no way, honey, don’t think like that.  Too hard on yourself.  You’re amazing, like the best ever.”  Okay, well, that last thing you can say, but the rest, just skip it.  I already know that I am too hard on myself.  I already know that I shouldn’t think that way.  I get it, okay?  But just because you get or understand something doesn’t mean that you will always act like it.  Also, I’m not saying this stuff to get that kind of reaction.  I’m sharing this because the struggle is real, and I know some of you out there feel the same.  I want you to know that you are not alone; you’re never alone.  I struggle with self loathing.  There, I said it.

I struggle with self-loathing.  I struggle everyday with thoughts that I am not good enough.  That I’m not good enough for my kids, for my husband, for my friends.  I bet I’m the only one, right?

When I say I struggle, though, I mean that those thoughts creep in every day and it’s hard.  It hurts.  But it’s not all day every day.  We have a choice.  In everything we do, we are given a choice.  Our emotions and our feelings are changeable and controllable.  Everyday I have to decide to change that thought, to change that opinion of myself.  It’s not easy and it would probably be easier of I just allowed it to remain, but that wouldn’t be the healthiest thing, would it?

What I want to ask, though, is when did it become okay for me to feel that way about myself?  I wouldn’t (and don’t) allow anyone to talk to me that way, but I abuse myself daily.

I’ve never felt better in my entire life than I did the moment I made the decision to choose Jesus.  That was the moment I knew.  It was the moment that I found out who I am.  I am royalty.  I am daughter to the King.  To Him I’m worth dying for, and die for me He did.  I was on top of the world in that moment, but I slowly lowered myself until I had days where I had the same thoughts about myself that I had before Christ.  At first I didn’t know how to fully get out of that hole.  I sort of hovered between whole and broken for a while, until one day.

One day I was on my knees worshiping.  I was at a Sunday church service.  I had been a Christian for just over a year or so, and I had been in this half-broken state for a few days.  As I wept on my knees I kept saying, “I’m not worth it, God.  I’m not worth it.  I’m so unworthy, so unworthy.”  In the clearest voice I’d heard from Him, He said (without exasperation, without malice or annoyance, but with concern and sternness), “But you are.  You’re worth it to me.  You were worth to me.”  That’s all it took to break me out of that state.  I was whole again.  That was quite a few years ago, and I find myself returning to that statement time and time again.

Even after being a Christian for as long as I have and knowing the truth of that statement, whenever I mess up or make a mistake my mind goes to that broken place – the place of failure.  Every time I yell too loud at my kids.  Every time I nag my husband or criticize him.  Every time I lose my cool at the person going 15 under the speed limit (in my defense, fifteen under the speed limit, people, FIFTEEN).  It’s immediate that my mind tries to tell me I’m a failure or that I’ve failed.  In an instant I go from feeling secure and sure to useless failure.  When I come out of that place, all I can think is, “Well.  That escalated quickly.”

On Father’s day we had special speakers at our church, and at the end of service they were asking different questions about people then asking them to come up for prayer.  When Jan Moore asked if there were any entrepreneurs in the church two of us came forward: me (obviously) and my boss/friend.  My thought was that we were going to be praying over my book that is about to hit its nation wide release date, or one of the other businesses I have on my heart to start.  When it was my turn, he looked at me and took a step back before he said, “What is troubling you?”  That took a surprisingly awkward turn.

I don’t like to cry in front of people, and talking about that was going to make me cry.  I began to fidget, pretty noticeably.  My response was, “Probably a lot.”  He, thankfully, let me know that he had no intention of making me expose those things in front of the church, but God directed him to pray over me and have me repeat it.  I was fine repeating it until he got to one part.  “I am not a failure.” I actually had to bite my lip.  Not to stop the words, but to stop the tears.  I didn’t think I could say it because I didn’t believe it.  So I didn’t say it.  He didn’t continue except to say, “Say it.” One simple command, but it was oh so gentle.  I did say it, but it was hard.  I cried.  It was the ugly cry, too.  And you know, in church, when you’re praying over or with someone and they start to cry that you’ve hit your mark.  You start thinking, “Yes!  They’re crying!  Hallelujah! I made ’em cry, my prayers are awesome!”  If you’re looking for direction on how to read that in your head, do it in a sing-song voice.

It seems so backward to have those thoughts, but it’s true!  When that person starts to cry it’s usually because God just steered you to what they are struggling with the most and what they need most to hear.  That’s not a fish you throw back, folks.  You hold onto that fish.  And you pet it and….well, maybe a fish was a bad example.  I’m trying to say that once those gates are open, you keep going until the Lord tells you to stop.  So Jan went on down that line of thought and had me repeat hard thing after hard thing and it was exactly what I’ve been struggling with and it was exactly what I needed to remember.

You know what those thoughts of failure are?  They’re a lie.  They’re changeable.  They are feelings I know I have the ability to control.  If you are like me and go from good place to bad place in no time flat, I want you to know this (and remind yourself of it frequently):

You are worth it.  You are worth it to Him.  You matter.  You are not useless.  You are not a failure.  You are not your mistakes.  You are someone worth dying for.

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Check out this song while you’re at it.  While you’re listening, close your eyes, lay back and listen to the words.  Just let them wash over you.  Actually, the video is pretty powerful to.  Maybe relax but watch.  Or, keep your eyes peeled on the screen and sit in a hunched over, tense position.  It doesn’t matter how you listen, just listen.  Really.  I won’t steer you in a wrong direction; I’m the best there is, remember?

Here are the lyrics:

“You Are More”

There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide, she says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love,” But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

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