I will never forget June 25th, 2009. It was the day that Michael Jackson died. But that’s not the reason that date is etched in my mind. It was the day that I realized that the man I loved so very much did not love me at all.
It was a horrific day for me. I had given him everything. Probably much more than he deserved. And when I tried to fight for our relationship, he told me that I was a ‘pest’, that I was ‘harassing’ him and that he would call the police if I didn’t stop bothering him. I sat on the floor in emotional pain… a pain that could not be felt but felt like the worse pain ever, as I flashed back to the day we first met, the many adventures we shared over the years, the talks of getting married… and now this conversation. How did it come to this? What did I do to deserve that?
Within split seconds, I felt hatred. Not for him. But for myself. How could I let this happen to me? How could I let him into my heart. It was not the first betrayal I had. And it was not the last, unfortunately. But it was the experience that first made me feel ugly and unwanted and that gave the enemy an opportunity to whisper death into my ears.
After crying for about 11 hours that night, I remember crawling to the bathroom. I had been too weak to walk. Dehydrated probably. But I heard a voice say “get up from this place” and so I did. I positioned myself in front of the tiny bathroom mirror, only to see that the 11 hours of crying had made my face look swollen, my eyes red, my complexion darkened and my lips chapped.
There was that still small voice again…
I want you to look in this mirror and convince yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
It was asking the impossible. Clearly my boyfriend didn’t think I was beautiful enough. Why should I? Clearly I wasn’t wearing my makeup. How could I say that to myself? It wasn’t true. Clearly , at that present moment, I did not feel like pepping myself. How could I? But here was the Holy Spirit and He wanted me to play this ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’ game?
Out of reluctant obedience, I muttered “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made”. Even as I said it, more tears strolled down my face. But I know I had to say it. And so I said it a few more times and then out of exhaustion, I fell asleep on the bathroom floor.
My hurt, my pain…did not end that day or even that week. It probably took years to be honest. But I learned something very valuable throughout the process. And that is in order to move forward and receive God’s best for me, I have to love myself.
I think the hardest thing for some of us…is not loving the God we cannot see, but loving the person in the mirror. We know the person in the mirror. We know all of his or her mess-ups, the mistakes that were made. We are the first to criticize him/her for being the way they are. But the truth is, it is impossible to love anyone else, until you have fallen in love with you.
Before you could give yourself to anyone, you have to be able to give yourself to you. Can you look in the mirror on your worst day… The day when you look as crappy as ever and say ‘I love you’?
You might have done a million things wrong. But just as God is gracious with you, you need to be gracious with yourself. It doesn’t matter how bad things were. You need to forgive yourself for the past mistakes and begin to see yourself from God’s lenses.
It wasn’t until I got this revelation that my perspective on life and love changed. An inability to love yourself is actually an insult to the person that God has for you. Essentially we are telling that person (and probably each person that we go out with) …”well…I don’t really love me. But hopefully you can love me.” How wrong is that?
I think that’s probably why a lot of relationships/marriages grow cold. We get married thinking the other person will love us enough. That they Will make us happy. And then after a few years… Reality catches up and we find that we are unhappy. Many people say that they are no longer happy in their marriages. That they are no longer in love with their spouses. While that might be true, I believe that many of us are just not happy with ourselves.
It has not been easy, but everyday despite how I feel, I look in the mirror and tell myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am beautiful. Yes, I have imperfections. But the Potter who created me knew that this Clayed vessel he made would have a few kinks. Still there is not another vessel quite like me. So everyday in my mirror, I get up and say… ‘You rock, Darlene’. I might not be perfect , but I am reaching towards perfection as the Holy Spirit shows me how. And while in that process, I continue to love my evolving self.
I challenge you today to come to terms with who God has made you. Ask God for help to Search yourself. Identify all the things that you hate or dislike about yourself, whether those things are experiences or mistakes or actual physical attributes. Once you’ve identified them, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you can learn from having those experiences or features. You see, in every experience there is something that can be learnt. And every physical quality is an opportunity to fall in love with God and the uniqueness of being you.
I encourage you to daily grab a mirror and confess your undying love for…you.
Psalm 139:14 (NKJV) 14: I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.