Make No Mistake About It: You’re Loved!

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

I laid on my bed and bawled. My pillowcase was damp on the edge, and I was desperately trying to muffle my sobs because I knew, I just knew, If I didn’t, that my mother would hear me, and then she would walk in and gently ask, “What’s the matter, honey?”

That always makes it so much worse.

And the pain. It would never end. Because… He… [choking]… He didn’t like me!

That, my friend, is junior high. I don’t even remember that guy’s name. His face, yes. His name, no.

*****

You’ve probably doubted it. At least once in a while. You might even doubt it right now.

Everyone has that feeling from time to time. “Nobody loves me.” Sometimes, we even question whether someone likes us.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Except for Abraham Lincoln. Man, everybody loved that guy, right?” Wrong.

“Well, except for Mother Teresa. She was certainly someone everyone loved.” Wrong.

“Okay. Fine. Jesus. Everyone loved Jesus.” Wrong.

I think you get my point. Everyone has feelings of being unloved. But most of the time, those feelings are based on things we do (/or don’t do).

People didn’t get angry at Lincoln because he was a big jerk, but because he did something jerky. Or, as this example illustrates, he said something jerky:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,”1

People didn’t think Mother Teresa was a big jerk. Probably ever. But they did (and some still do) think she was misguided (or worse, which you can see here), and some even think she’s in hell (some balderdash to that account is here—I don’t want people to think I make up everything on this blog).

As for Jesus, I think the crucifixion is all the example I need. (You can Google that, if you need to, here.)

When someone doesn’t like people don’t like someone, it’s generally because of what they do. (Cheats at poker, for example.) Not because of who they are. (Left-handed brunette.) God’s not like that. God loves us in spite of who we are.

Let’s anthropomorphize a bit here. (It makes things easier.) God never has a moment when, looking down, God says, “That Cynthia, she thinks she’s doing okay, but I’ve got news for her. She’s really quite a loser. In fact, by My standards, she does some pretty nasty things. That’s just wrong. I don’t even like her.” Guess what? That never happens. Nope. (God didn’t even say that about Hitler. I know, I wasn’t going to bring up Hitler. I hate bringing up Hitler. But, you’ll have to admit, in this case, it’s pretty useful. Because… Hitler.)

I, as a Christian, can point to various Biblical passages when I talk about how God loves me (and you).

But other faith traditions also believe this. Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener writes poignantly of this in his article, “Does God Love Me?” For a Muslim perspective, there is this lovely piece by Quthrun Nada Djamil,  “Allah loves His servant more than a mother who loved children.”

I can feel confident that God loves me. So can you. Rest assured, you are loved.

_____

1That nonsense was uttered on September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, at the fourth debate with Stephen Douglas, the transcript of which you can read here. Obviously, Lincoln’s position evolved over time.

*****

I’m joining up with the delightful Holley Gerth for her series, “Coffee for Your Heart.” You can read about it by clicking on the illustration at the top, and read more entries (or link up yourself) here.

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V is for Very

More than "just!"I live a “very” kind of life. There’s just not a lot going on that I can say qualifies as “meh.”

I’m either very depressed (almost suicidal) or very happy (euphoric). I look either very blechy (I don’t have bad hair days, I have dreadful hair days) or very hott (with two Ts). I either feel very belligerent or very magnanimous.

*****

A to Z April Challenge 2013I’m participating in the Blogging from A-to-Z April Challenge! Read about it here.

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What do you feel like doing?

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I mentioned in my previous post that even though I dreaded going to see my family, I would do so, and it would be good. And it was. We had a super time.

So often, when I feel depressed, I just feel an overwhelming sense of dread. It’s like a gaping openness that looms in the distance. An evil foreboding. I can’t really put my finger on it. There’s very little that’s realistic about this attitude. Often times, I feel the strongest sense of dread when faced with doing things that I typically really enjoy. And every single time I’ve gone ahead and gotten myself together and done whatever it is that I somehow had imagined would be so impossible for me to do—I’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes the feeling of dread evaporates once I start getting ready. “Poof—it disappears!” I don’t even think about it, except occasionally to wonder why I had the feeling of dread to begin with.

Though I’ve experienced this too many times to count, and you’d think I’d just learn my lesson, each and every time that I get that feeling, I still have to make a conscious, deliberate effort to remind myself that the dread—even though it feels so oppressively palpable that it’s almost like a hand pushing me down—is not real. That the sense of almost literal paralysis is not insurmountable. That my feelings are not a guide to what’s real or even true.

How often have I let my feelings be my guide in such matters? If I only did whatever I felt like doing, I sure wouldn’t do much, many days. This is why I get so doggone mad at people when they don’t attend functions, or church, or sometimes even parties that they often insisted they would be at, and tell me, “Well, I just didn’t feel like it.” If I only did whatever I felt like doing, I’d absolutely, positively be dead. I would’ve just killed myself. Because there were just too many times in the past when that’s exactly what I felt like doing.

Obviously, we all do things every day that we don’t feel like doing. (I don’t think I ever feel like cleaning my cat’s litter box. But it has to be done.) Most regular activities become so habitual that we don’t think about whether we enjoy them. The consequences of disregarding them are unpleasant and sometimes immediate. Don’t feel like going to work? Give in to that feeling and pretty soon you won’t need to! But pretty soon you’ll be feeling like surfing the web, and you won’t be able to because your electricity has been turned off since you can’t pay the bill, since you’re not working because you didn’t feel like it. Let’s not even get into being unwilling to change a dirty diaper—a task regarded as equally necessary as it is generally unpleasant. Just as obviously, there are also things that we don’t engage in, despite their attraction. Spending our entire paycheck on a designer handbag, or whiling away the afternoon at a bar instead of going to the gym.

The examination of my feelings and whether they are rational or not is my most ongoing, and difficult task as an adult. I don’t usually do this in my blog, because I don’t usually care for slinging verses from the Bible around to either prove a point or make a statement, but there is one that I try to remember in this case. “More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NAB) Indeed.