Monday, April 10, 2017

I am Invited

In the summer of 2016, my MIL and I had a discussion one night about feeling left out, uninvited, and simply not thought of or remembered.  We talked about our feelings of inadequacy and rejection among various groups of people.  While I remember thinking, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these feelings, I was overcome with a sadness that I can't even put into words.  As I listened to her hurts, I could clearly see the devil's attacks on her.  It made me want to take all of her hurt away and assure her that she WAS wanted and always invited.  If you know her, you know how beautiful and sweet she is.  Her mere presence is simply a blessing in her sweet spirit and my mind couldn't even bear to think that she'd been living all of that time believing she was anything less.  And all of a sudden, it was like the veil was lifted.  In my own feelings of inadequacy, I always thought there was something wrong with me.  I wasn't pretty enough, funny enough, didn't wear the right clothes, live in the right neighborhood, etc, for people to want to be around me.  I simply thought I just wasn't good enough. I never once saw all of these insults I hurled at myself as the devil's attacks in my own life. 

Why is it so easy to look at someone else and know exactly what their problem is and how to fix it, but when looking at ourselves, we can't see it the same way?  Please tell me I'm not alone in this.

A couple of weeks after this conversation, Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, was released.  I immediately went to Lifeway and bought a copy for the both of us.  She read hers quickly but mine got shoved to the bottom of my book stack.  I wasn't currently feeling less than, left out, and lonely, so no need to read it yet.

That all changed rather quickly.  I don't even know what caused this shift in my thoughts, but I suddenly began to feel very isolated and withdrawn from everyone.  Maybe it was hormone related from recently having my daughter, maybe not.  All I know is I was heading into a dark place of feeling very lonely, left out, and less than.  From the outside looking in, I'm not sure if anyone could even tell.  I appeared to have it all together.

To cope, I began to immerse myself in God's Word and cracked open Lysa's book.  I even posted the picture above on Facebook and I had so many women respond to that post either through a comment or personal message.  Our church has already offered two Bible studies on this book and I would not be surprised if the demand is there for a third.  That many women are seeking comfort in dealing with these feelings. 

Over 600,000 copies of this book have been sold from August 2016 to March 2017 making it a #1 NY Times bestseller.  That's great and all, but that tells me that a whole lot of us women all feel the exact same way.  We all hurt and want so badly to feel loved and accepted.  How did this happen?

In my search for answers, God has been opening my eyes to the lies I believe about myself and the truths I should know about myself.  I'm only to chapter 5, so about a quarter of the way through the book, but I felt I needed to write this now and maybe readdress it again when I'm finished.  It's totally possible that I may talk about something she discusses later in the book and that's okay.  That's just  further confirmation that the Lord is leading my thoughts in the right direction.

From what I've gathered, I see three major lies that us women tend to believe about ourselves:

1. I am not loved (enough).
2. I am not good enough.
3. I am not invited because of something I did or didn't do.

We often think we are not "enough" in many circumstances whether it be in the way we look, how much we weigh, clothes we wear, foods we eat, how we raise our kids, the decorations that adorn our homes, exercises we didn't do, you get my drift.  We measure ourselves against standards that are unrealistic and unattainable.  NO ONE can be all of that all of the time. But it sure looks like it on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat.  It's EXHAUSTING to try to live up to that!  We don't feel loved (or loved as much as we want to be) because we read about what our friends' significant others are doing for them and well, that's never been done for me so I must not be loved. Or we seek love from someone who's toxic to us and can never love us the way we so desperate need it.  And those pictures your friend just posted of her amazing weekend with all of your other friends're not in fact, you didn't even know they were all getting together.  Yeah, it must've been because they didn't want to be around you. It hurts. That's what you're thinking, right?

All of these are LIES.  And it's such a vicious cycle because the more we believe these lies, the more pain we unintentionally inflict on others and ourselves because we are so desperately trying to feel good enough, loved enough, wanted enough, that we start posting our pictures, telling our friends' secrets to gain that "in", and so on that we cause this cycle to start with someone else. Let's break these chains. Please.

Out of these lies come the three major truths that I want to leave with you:

1. You are loved.  You are so loved in fact that Jesus came down to earth because He didn't want heaven without you.  He was willing to die for you because He loves you that much.  And He wants nothing more than for you to return His love and to show others His love.  Love is a big deal to Him.
As Lysa says in her book, "Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love."

Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love. - Lysa Terkeurst, from Uninvited, the book. (Simple, but not necessarily easy.):

2. You are more than enough.  As I stood at the crib watching my beautiful girl sleep, I prayed, "Lord, she is so beautiful.  I praise You because she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works.  Oh how my soul knows it well." (Psalm 139:14)  And He whispered to my soul, "So are you."  If we don't start seeing ourselves; our bodies, our minds, and everything in between as enough and perfectly created by God, what kind of message are we sending?  There are many things about my physical appearance that I wouldn't mind changing, but why?  I challenge myself and you to live in the peace of knowing that you are beautiful and perfect the way you were made.  Measure yourself to God's standard of you.  Not Cosmo's or the latest and greatest beauty trend.  It's all so fleeting and ultimately won't leave you fulfilled.  I speak from experience.

Psalm 114 "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Wallpaper Download Free from Life By Elizabeth:

3. You are always invited.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me..."  I'm sure you've heard this verse before because it's a well-known verse about turning your troubles over to Christ, but don't miss the first part.  Jesus says, "Come."  That's all we have to do.
Lysa says in her book, "The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others."  This is so true.  Seek Him first above all else and let His love pour over you, calm you, and reassure you.

My prayer for myself and for you is that we will be able to discern the lies from the truth.  I pray we will return to Christ over and over for fulfillment instead of seeking that from someone else.  You are loved, you are enough, and you are always invited.