Updated: Jan 2, 2021
"I love you just the way you are"
There is excitement coming from deep inside. You know...that feeling when you are on the verge of something exciting but not sure what exactly it is yet. Or that feeling when you are just about to reach a goal that you've been waiting to reach for months or even years. That's me right now. There's something that has been stirring up deep deep inside. Something that I have never found, but am finally starting to. That purpose and fulfillment that I have been searching and searching for, is getting closer and closer. I am finally understanding what it feels like to look at myself as worthy, valued, and loved no matter what I do, no matter what I look like, no matter what happened in my past, no matter what others think of me, no matter how many FB likes or affirmations, no matter what I do for a living, no matter what my home looks like, no matter who I know, no matter where I live, no matter who invites me or doesn't invite me, no matter what the circumstance is.
If you read my last post, you know that I have been on this journey of finding true contentment. Do you know that unsettled feeling you sometimes feel when you are all alone, just still, with no distractions around? That void that you sometimes get when you are still enough to feel it, or those thoughts of self-doubt that creep in during longer moments of silence. I don't want those feelings or thoughts to take place. I want true contentment and peace even in the midst of those still moments. I want fulfillment, not just temporary fulfillment from daily tasks, or from stuff. I am talking about the type of fulfillment where you are at peace no matter what is going on around you. The kind of contentment that doesn't just leave after accomplishing something or after buying something.
I have had multiple jobs in the past, both part time and full, in which all have fizzled after a few months, leaving me discouraged and again unfulfilled. Leaving me still searching for my purpose, that next best job or thing to bring me true fulfillment and happiness. My children bring me joy and purpose, don't get me wrong, but God created me for more. As I am on this journey, I have been reading a couple of books; one called "The Love Idol" by Jennifer Dukes Lee, which I will dig more into in another post, and the other called "Holy Discontent" by Bill Hybels. I then go to church a few Sundays ago and it was about Holy Discontent. What are the chances? I have been struggling with this exact thing, which all comes back to finding fulfillment in God's purpose for me. A coincidence...to say the least.
Holy Discontent is the type of discontentment that God puts on our hearts in order to motivate us in the right direction. In order for us to fulfill part of His purpose here. It is the reason why some of us work where we do, volunteer where we do, and how we spend our time doing what we do. I have been asking God to guide me and show me clarity on how He wants to use me. He knows my heart and the discontent I am feeling. He knows how I felt after leaving each job. He knows what my purpose is. He knows what will bring me true contentment and fulfillment. He knows. He has known all along. He has been waiting on me with open arms to show me. Now, that I am exactly where He wants me, which is; obedient, still enough to listen, wise enough to seek counsel/advice, and willing enough to learn more about who God is...things are becoming clearer and clearer.
Well...after church service a few Sunday's ago, I felt the notion to go up to the middle school/high school worship pastor to tell him I wanted to volunteer with the youth. I had never met him before and even called him the wrong name. I was nervous to talk with him, but I am learning to take risks and listen to God's little nudges. I told the youth pastor that I don't know what it looks like exactly, but it has been on my heart to help with the youth for a while. I then explained to him a little about my history and child hood; explaining a little why I feel God is calling me to this ministry. I then, out of nowhere start tearing up as I explain how God has pulled me through a lot, and how I can relate to some of the younger girls from my past experiences.
I know how it feels to want to be loved, to want to belong, to be cared for, and the need to feel worth or value. I know how it feels to want to be popular, and the things I did to get attention, even if it was from the wrong people. I know how it feels to feel alone, and to feel like no one understands. I know how it feels to not know who I am or to go through a never ending identity crisis. Even though I have wonderful family members, who tried to comfort me during hard times, it was still hard during those younger years.
"I know how it feels to want to be loved, to want to belong, to be cared for, and the need for worth or value."
I just want these younger girls and women of all ages to know that this place of feeling alone and unfulfilled is not a place they have to live in and that God doesn’t want them to. They can live in a place where there is so much joy, where they can find who they are, and be proud of it. Where they can let their true colors shine and not be ashamed of what they like, or who they want to be. Where they can wear what they want (appropriately) and still find true, loving, Christ centered relationships. For me, it is emotional writing about my childhood and past. I had some really great times don't get me wrong, but I also know how it feels to be stuck in a situation or with an issue and feeling like there is no one who will understand. As I am navigating through feelings, I feel that God is starting to make things clearer and clearer. I don't know where my place is quite yet in helping with the youth ministry at my church, but maybe, just maybe it's a start in the right direction.
Another small, but notable thing that happened was on that following Monday. The day after I just spoke to the youth pastor at church, I happened to run in to a lady who used to work with the children at our previous church. She said, I am no longer able to work with the children anymore. She was really bummed about this. I said oh, I am so sorry to hear this. She went on to say she had some sort of thing going on with her immune system, and that it was too weak, so she was getting sick all the time from the kids. She said they have done a lot of testing on me, but they really don't know what is going on. I told her I know all too well, what she is going through. I too have an autoimmune that no one really knows exactly what it is. I let her know the Dr's name who has really helped me make some progress, to the point where I can manage my symptoms pretty well on a daily basis. She also told me she suffers with clinical depression, and I let her know that even though I don’t know what that is like, I have a great counselor who could help with that as well. I let her know that I am on a journey of discovering where God is calling me next. I let her know I just wrote my last blog about it, I am seeking counsel, and reading books which are helping. She asked for my blog name, and for the books. By the time we were done with our conversation, I ended up giving her my Dr's name, my counselor's name, the names of the books I am reading, and my blog name. She really appreciated my help, and by being able to help her out re-fueled my soul like nothing else. l left feeling confident about where God has me and how He wants to use me.
I know it was not a coincidence that I ran in to her. I know it was not just a coincidence that the pastor was talking about Holy Discontent that Sunday. God does everything for a reason. It was during the conversation with the woman at Target and the conversation with the youth pastor that I learned something really valuable. I was reassured of what kind of person I am. I am a person who loves one on one connection and any opportunity to help others. God was reassuring me, that He does intend to use me. He does intend to use my experiences and I do have worth. I have value you guys! More value than I even realize. We all do. I am starting to see myself, the way God sees me, loved and worthy. I have known for a while that God loves me unconditionally and I know I am valued by Him. I've even wrote about it in previous posts, but I didn't actually start viewing myself that way until recently.
It is definitely a great start to first believe yourself when saying "You are good enough just the way you are." I know it sounds cliché to say, "believe in yourself" (something we've all heard before), but I am serious. How many of us truly believe we are doing exactly what we should be doing on a daily basis? The conversation with that lady, made me realize, God has me exactly where he wants me right now. His purpose for me is right here on the journey. He wants me to inspire, to formulate blog posts, to help speak in to others. He also wants me to keep my eyes on Him, not on me, myself, and I. He wants me to focus on parenting my children, raising these boys in to the men He created them for. He wants me to seek Him and read His word. He wants me making decisions that will create peace, not ones that cause havoc, worry, and anxiety.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am constantly slipping back in to my old ways of thinking. I catch myself being too hard on myself, feeling negativity creep back in, or self-doubt, but at least now I'm aware of it and able to switch my thoughts back. I remind myself every time I feel down on myself or feel like I'm not good enough, that I am loved for who I am. I literally say to myself... “Nope Christina…you got it all wrong, you are loved today and every day…you don’t need that "one thing" to feel a certain way…you are loved JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.” Note: The keywords there…Just the way you are! To me, that is so so freeing and I sometimes remind myself of that on a daily basis. It is good enough to be a stay-at-home mom right now. It is good enough to be a blog writer. It is good enough to be a church volunteer. This body is good enough. These clothes are good enough. Everything I am doing is enough. It is beyond good enough in God's eyes. Remember that you are enough just the way you are as well.
I'll take me as I am...flaws, short comings, and all. I will love it all. -Melissa Mcarthy
Now what happens next? I don't know and I'm not even worried about it. I can't believe I am even saying that. Me...Not worry (ha). That right there is a huge thing in itself. I am a "worry wart" at heart as my Grandma used to say, but worry no more God is telling me. It is very comforting to know that I am right where I am supposed to be...and that my friends, is where I have found true contentment. That is where it has been all along. God has me right where He wants me for now and that gives me all the contentment and peace I need. I am going to continue to make mistakes, learn from them and constantly be switching my eyes back on Him. I am going to continue to take risks, follow passions, and pursue dreams. What these discoveries lead in to someday, we shall see. All I know is, life is better when we drop the load, leave it behind, and truly lead a Christ-centered life. I am so thankful for the works God is doing in my life and I am so excited to see His works in all of you too!
I will continue to keep you updated. For now, please remember that being just the way you are is good enough and God has you right here for a reason. Ask God to use you where you are right now. Ask Him to lead you to the next step and He will in His time. I promise. I am just now starting to see this after years of searching. I was too distracted to see what He was trying to show me all along. Remember that your gifts and talents are unique to you. Believe in your capabilities and the person you are deep down inside. You are valued! You are loved! Don't give up on your passions, and live a life for His purpose.