Acceptance

Self-acceptance
Acceptance.

It’s a really difficult thing for me.

For most of my life I haven’t felt accepted. Not in my passions, desires, wants, hopes, dreams, independence, or skills. I’m incredibly insecure, and I can’t remember a time that I was not. Which honestly is quite exhausting.

Why would being insecure be exhausting? Because if you’ve ever met an insecure person who isn’t able to hide the way they are feeling, you begin to be exhausted by their lack of confidence. Thus, I’ve been faking confidence since I was little because I never wanted to inconvenience someone because of my feelings. Also, the anxiety of being found out that you’re not really the confident woman you present yourself as is terrifying, and also exhausting…I’ve pretty much been stuffing my feelings deep down inside of me for as long as I can remember. Sure, I’ve been angry (I grew up with 3 brothers, how could I not?) and of course I’ve been sad, frustrated, and heartbroken. However, the deepest level of my emotions I push down—I don’t let people see me be weak. Ever.

When I studied in England the summer of 2014 I was angry with God. An anger that had been brewing for nearly 8 months. When I was expected to participate in conversations regarding the Lord, I knew I would have to fake it, just like I have most of my life. I remember thinking that there was no way I could allow any of the 7 other ministry students know how angry I was with God, because that just wouldn’t be “Christian.” A few days into our trip, one of the other students went off on everyone in the group—he called everyone out on their shit. And I immediately came alongside of him and together we conveyed just how broken and hurt we were, and how angry with God we were. It sparked something in the group—vulnerability.

For the rest of the month I spent in England, I fought what the Lord was trying to do, but ultimately He won. He revealed one word to me. He spoke it over my life. He bore it into my bones because He called me WORTHWHILE.

Of course, when He called me this I had no idea what it meant, so naturally I looked up the definition: Worthwhile – “sufficiently valuable, or important, to be worth one’s time, effort, or interest.”

Honestly, up until that moment, I’m not sure anyone had ever told me I was valuable or important. And I certainly can’t ever remember feeling worth someone’s time, effort, or interest!

All I can remember feeling is that of burdening or embarrassing people.

But of course, because I am insecure, after having a huge realization like that dumped right into my lap, I filed it away because it felt too close to emotions I wasn’t yet ready to deal with. My plan was to forget about it, and come back to it another day…

A few days ago I was texting one of my friends/co-workers to schedule him for an upcoming program. I’ve known this guy for nearly 5 years, so naturally our text turns into sarcastic jibes with one another. When I told my friend “I try” in response to his “perfect” and his retort was “doesn’t look like it!” of course I replied with “OUCH!” Now, to his credit he told me “you make it look effortless” but this is where our sarcastic conversation turned deep.

My friend said this after I responded to him with “nice save”—“just cause you took it wrong does not mean it was originally in need of saving, people only have the ability to compliment or insult you if you believe them.” Of course, I responded with “or I’m just an incredibly insecure person…and sarcasm isn’t interpreted well via text message.” His next text hit the bulls-eye of my heart: “We just need to make sure we don’t make it too easy for people to kick us. Arrogance is no better, but we can not offer ourselves to be hurt just because of minor communication error, we have too much at stake to drive ourselves manic over interpretation.”

He was right, of course. We DO have too much at stake to be driven crazy over our interpretation of what someone meant. Also, I shouldn’t be offering myself as a target all the time because I am insecure…this is when the Lord started reminding me of that word he spoke over me.

“You are worthwhile.” It’s something people from England have been reminding me of since we crossed back over the pond. For nearly a year I’ve been hearing it, I’ve had signs/paintings be made saying exactly that—hell, I even hung them up on my wall and see them every day. However, I’ve been ignoring the truth of that word because I am too insecure to trust people.

My inability to accept myself, for all of my flaws, passions, talents, joys, and desires has been THE reason I have felt stuck in the same rut for nearly a year.

People keep on speaking into my life, they keep on reminding me that I am worthwhile, but I keep on ignoring them because I am afraid. Afraid to put down my guard and let someone close enough to destroy my fragile heart. Because of my trust issues, with both others and myself, I have slowly been withering away.

Today, I saw this tweet from Elora Nicole and truly it hit me hard. In a good way. The caption in the photo says “Be unequivocally you” and if we’re being honest (which I am) I’m not entirely sure how to do that. But Elora writes this about her photo, “This is what I want you to know: you can be you — every square inch and every wild dream. In fact, it’s what we need. We need people who are comfortable telling and living THEIR story and not comparing notes with other people.”

When I read that, I couldn’t take a deep breathe for a full minute because I was so overwhelmed with the truth in that statement. The Lord started whispering to my heart, “Hannah, the world needs you. It needs your story, your passions, your dreams, every single part of you. Stop denying people from experiencing you.”

And that’s when I actually got it. The world needs me, not someone who tries to please everyone else. The world needs me, even if I am a little insecure. The world needs me, exactly as I am, with all my failings, brokenness, and pain because after all that is part of what makes me, me.

Something else, the world needs YOU.

So, together can we try and stop shoving down our emotions and actually allow ourselves to feel? Can we start believing that we are worthwhile because our Father calls us His? Let’s start kicking our insecurities in the ass because we shouldn’t be so damn exhausted from pretending all the time. Today let’s start accepting ourselves. Today let’s be unequivocally us…and tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives!

Advertisements

OneWord365

“So, everything in your life is you holding a fist to people instead of an open hand. You’re holding tightly to everything in your life because you need the control rather than allowing yourself to be open to other people and let them have a deep impact on your life.”

The words my counselor (T) said to me at the beginning of November.

The words that have haunted me since he first spoke them that Tuesday morning.

When he said those words with that picture image I got it. I realized that I have been gripping my hands together so tightly that I have forced people away from me. I have forced myself into a tightly squeezed fist and molded myself into a closed-off person. A woman so hell-bent on achieving control in her life that she literally doesn’t know how to open her hand anymore and receive.

So when T pointed this out to me I knew that I was missing out on a world of growth because I don’t let people in to my life. We began working through this and I grew quite a bit. I realized that I have been silencing myself and that I am done with that. I have also learned that I need people in my life. I got a taste of that when I was in England this summer but I have ignored what I learned overseas. But I’m through with that now.

My word this year is open because I have been living most of my life closed off from everyone and everything. I have been shielding myself from everything—good or bad—and I’m realizing that is not a good way to live.

So regardless of how terrified I am about where focusing on being open this year will take me, I will do it because I know it is for my good.

So for starters here are a few things I haven’t been open with lately:

-To say that I am struggling to believe God is good and who he says he is does not cover it. There are days that I feel like I am drowning because I just don’t know that he is there. And then there are other days when people in my life remind me of who he is and I try and believe but I’m not sure if I ever get there. It’s been a rough year and I haven’t told very many people about it and the entire time I haven’t felt God’s presence or heard his direction except for a handful of moments—moments that were necessary and good but so far in between that it’s hard to believe that he really does care about me.

-I pour myself into work, school, crafting, ANYTHING so that I don’t have to deal with emotions. Literally. I don’t want to deal with any emotions that I experience so I throw myself into other things so that I distract myself and eventually I stop knowing how to feel. Which is never a good thing. I also avoid other people when I am doing this because like it or not people have emotions and I don’t like emotions so I avoid people. (Again, I close everyone out in order to exact control over my life…)

-I have zero desire to go to a physical church ever again. Being a female I was told blatantly by numerous people that my role was to be with the children in the nursery and that since I volunteered in the youth group I could never speak in front of the students unless it was a gender specific event. I felt worthless and belittled and I have a bitter taste in my mouth to associate with people who truly believe that about women in the church. Also, I know that I have things to say and that while I don’t want to be a preacher at a church I wouldn’t mind speaking to people (even though the thought of that terrifies me). However, any time I opened up my mouth to express my thoughts or to challenge an idea I felt judgment. And yes, I know that not all churches are the same but when you have been wounded deeper than deep, in a way that you never should have, you wouldn’t want to step foot in a church again either.

There’s more, but if we’re being honest (which I am) opening up about those three things exhausted me. I know this year is going to be one of growth and a lot of a lot of healing. So, here’s to focusing on one word this year. Here’s to learning how to open myself and surrender rather than close myself and control. Here’s to experiencing change. I don’t know what this year will bring but I do know that discovering how to open myself will be painful, difficult, and a challenge. But I also know that it will be worth it. How I know that I’m not exactly sure, but I do. And in the little bit of faith that I have I am standing on the surety that God will use this for His glory and for me to discover who He is because if I’m going to learn to be open then I’m going to encounter things. And encountering our Creator will most likely be on the top of the list. Just a guess (or maybe it’s a hope).

-Hannah

So what about you? Are you living by the OneWord365 challenge?

My Daddy

Daddy and I

 

I found myself in a bit of a pickle last night. Seems I had told my dad a bit of wrong information—information that almost made me participate in a HUGE mistake.

I will not go into detail about what that mistake was because honestly it is just really embarrassing for both myself as well as the person I would have had to call when I realized what had gone terribly wrong in my planning.

When I realized how misguided my information had been I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. In fact, my stomach immediately began to be nauseated and become filled with unease and anxiety.

And what did I do about this mistake? I tried to fix it myself.

However, as I began to try and sort everything out it became more and more obvious that things were not going to be as easy as I thought they would. I also came to the terrible realization that I was going to have to call my dad and tell him what had happened.

And I fought that reality like a ninja.

I did not want to call my dad and confess my mistake. I did not want him to be upset or annoyed that I had relayed false information to him and that the planning he had so willingly taken on for me was all done in vain. All I wanted to do was hide.

However, I finally called my dad and explained my situation. And what was his reaction? He responded by calmly reassuring my heart that everything was going to be okay and that he would take care of everything.

I was not anticipating this, which is irrational because my relationship with my dad is freaking awesome! And I mean that when I say it. I can ask my dad anything and he will tell me the hard honest truth, and I can tell him anything and he has never once judged me.

So why did I become so anxious about telling him I had messed up?

Because I forgot how much he loves me, no matter how mistaken I can be at times.

This was a beautiful reminder to my heart of God’s love for me. I mess up all the time, and I make a lot of mistakes. However, He is always there waiting for me to call on Him and tell him what happened. He willingly takes time to plan things out for my life and when/if I screw them up He is willing to fix those mistakes!

My earthly daddy showed me just how much he loves and cherishes me last night, which was a direct representation of how much my heavenly Daddy loves and cherishes me.

Have you ever made a huge mistake and did not want to fess up to it?

Did You know…

Hey you…yea, YOU! I’ve been learning a lot of things recently, and honestly I think you should hear what they are because they have impacted, encouraged, and refreshed my heart so much these past few months the Lord has been revealing these things to me. So yea, here you go…

Did you know…
You’re forgiven? I mean, completely, totally, inconceivably, nothing can ever undo this kind of forgiven, forgiven? God does not look at you and see every sin you have ever committed, He sees His son’s blood, He sees forgiveness and sacrifice washed over every part of you. Your sin is forgiven, done away with, as far as the east is from the west. Forever.
Did you know…
You are completely new, a new creation, not just your old broken, dirty self pieced back together, but rather a completely new creation? God did not just patch you up, He made you new, reconstructed in the image of Jesus Christ.
Did you know…
God longs, and is jealous for, a relationship with you? He desires to be in intimate community with you. You were not meant to be lonely, you were designed to belong to a family that has fellowship and love and welcomes you regardless of anything you have ever done, or felt, or seen, or thought.
Did you know…
“The testing of your faith produces perseverance?” so, “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Did you know…
You are not, and you never will be alone? Jesus Christ, the Living God, loves you. Even when you feel as if you are suffocating because you think you are alone in your pain, suffering, anger, or confusion, the Lord intercedes on your behalf. He does this because He calls you His. You. Are. Loved.
Did you know…
“…that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creating, will be able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Did you know…
God weeps when your church leaves you feeling anything less than essential, vital, accepted, encouraged, prepared, sustained, and loved…and that God has more for you?
Did you know…
Our Father does not simply tolerate you, rather He delights in you.
Did you know…
You past mistakes, sins, regrets, secrets, shame, guilt, hopelessness, addictions, they are all tiny in the sight of the Lord because He is so much bigger than them?
Did you know…
You are restored, redeemed, beloved, righteous, holy, called, names, approved, accepted, sent, and worthy, despite how you may feel, or what you’ve been told, or despite the lies the enemy has woven and convinced you of?
Did you know…
There is no way on this earth that you can ever earn God’s love? No matter how many good deeds you do, not matter how kind you are to others, no matter how many worship songs you know, no matter how often you go to church or tithe, or memorize scripture, etc. there is nothing you can do that will ever make God love you more than He already does. He loves you for you, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what His Son did for you. You are his child. 

What new truth and new revelation of Jesus have you recently realized?