I shared on Sunday the word for my 2020 focus is Behold! If I am being honest and looking back on where I started 2019, there is so much that I could behold from the past twelve months. What I learned is to allow myself to look to myself, my value and my purpose for all I seek. The key here is knowing myself, my value and my purpose.
I began 2019 with loss unexpected and a deeper heartbreak and disappointment that I never dreamed I would experience again and that I certainly didn't see coming. I mean, I've had relationship loss after relationship loss in romance, in family and in friendships so maybe I should have expected it, but I didn't. I thought this was the one, but he wasn't. I felt that I had found my forever, but God had different plans. I found myself having to heal myself, again!
No problem, right? I had done it before, I could do it again. But this wasn't like before and I didn't want to do it again.
So what's a girl to do? Join a dating site, of course!
There's other fish in the sea.
Get back out there.
Mask the pain.
Fake it 'til you make it.
Suck it up.
It's totally his loss.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Insert eye roll here.
Oh, the strong woman meme's are never ending in the midst of deluding yourself you're actually feeling strong. Didn't I just say I went through this before so what's different this time? A lot was different. I was different, and I knew the old ways of trying to masquerade as a whole, complete person when I was physically and emotionally dying inside was not going to work. I could not allow myself to look to dating sites, friendship or family to do the emotional healing work I needed to do. This was going to be a hard painful journey, alone.
I once again found out who I am when the emotional chips are down and I'm running out of chips. I experienced whose I am when my heart is devastated and I am depleted.
When you lose what you thought was a beautiful relationship, when abandonment steals the joy of your heart, when your marriage falls apart, when the job that defined you is gone, when the people you counted on turn their backs on you, when death takes a loved one - there's no question that transforming your thoughts and heart about your situation is key to creating a strategy for improvement and healing.
We all have stand-down moments that require us to stand up and stand in the center of ourselves, and know who we are. My choice for the past almost nine years has been to stand in the truth of who God says he is. I've been transformed by that and it has held me together through severe pain, loss and difficulty. This time was no different. I have personally experienced His immense love, comfort, strength and grace in times when all I really wanted was the answer to how could he have me experience emotional devastation over and over and over again if he truly loved me? Trust me when I tell you, he has collected many bottles of my tears, enough to water all the gardens of heaven. Which is appropriate as it says in the bible that he plants eternity in our hearts.
In 2019 I learned that yes, I trust who God is, but I ultimately didn't trust myself to take care of myself. My emotional self. My mental picture of myself. I didn't trust myself to love myself and I wasn't going to find that from all the fish on dating sites (ironically, 99% of the men have a proud picture of themselves with their prize catch, bizarre and yet, metaphorically useful for me in this moment.) I needed to cast my net in my own pond and hope that when I did, I would catch my value and purpose.
I have learned that God needs us to love ourselves. It's critical to our ultimate success as christians which is to love others. Jesus said, the second greatest commandment is "Love thy neighbor - as yourself." Matthew 22:39 Ok, so as I studied this verse let me be clear - this verse is not commanding us to love ourselves - if you read it in its context and origin, Jesus was assuming we already do love ourselves. The reason we are to love ourselves is to give that love to others. One depends on the other just as our love of ourselves, depends on the number one commandment "love God with all your heart, soul and mind." Without loving him and he loving us, it's impossible to find our value and purpose.
As I started 2019, I loved God with my whole heart soul and mind but I did not love myself and thus, I had no business being on a dating site. How could I ever give love to someone if I didn't first find it within? I had to figure that out and I had to put myself first in becoming whole.
I did that hard work this past year but not alone. Jesus was my guide and friend. But I have a little more work to do and thus, my focus for 2020. I want to love, trust and value who God says I am - because of what Jesus did for me. Therein lies my purpose, to give that love, hope and encouragement away to many, many fishes. Not just the one I someday hope to snag on a dating site.