“I care about you, I like you a lot.” I said.
“Why then?” he responded in confusion, “Why did you push your cousin and me together?”
I took a deep breath and turned to face him,
“Because I never thought that you could like me. That you would like me after you saw her.” The words that came out of his mouth have reverberated in my mind for years, and during the summer I turned twenty-eight came back to haunt me with a vengeance.
“It’s too late now Nema. I like your cousin. You know before you pass judgment and push guys away you need to give yourself a chance. Tach is chill, fly in fact, but you’re special and until you stop bugging and realize this you’ll be with losers like Mike forever. Tach can take care of her own love life, she doesn’t need your help cause you feel like no one will wanna kick it with you. But you’ll be kickin’ it alone if you only focus on how fly she is and how fly you ani’t. You don’t know how good you are, do you?”
....I spent the remainder of my teenage years and early twenties storing Ralph’s words in my heart, involved in one unfulfilling relationship after another. As a grown woman I have consistently attracted men who have seen a weakness in me. It was a weakness that I struggled for years to seriously overcome. The weakness that drew them to me was the weakness of not loving myself enough..."
Oh sweet Lord.
Like looking in a mirror.
So many times I have found myself in this same situation. Always the girl who's funny. Always the best friend. Always the butt of the joke. But never the first love. Never the girlfriend. Never the desirable. In reading this passage from "Confessions of a Big Girl: reflections on fat, faith and femininity" by Dr.Naima Johnston-Bush, it struck a very deep chord of hurt in my life. I have, in so many relationships, pushed people away out of fear, hurt or shame. I was always on the defense, never believing anyone could ever really love me. I was always suspicious. I was always in doubt. I never felt worthy. If truth be told, I still do this.
I have a string of unkind men attempt to enter my life. I have had a few guys that I knew liked me and that I promptly pushed into the arms of someone else. The bad guys could smell it on me, smell the desperation, and wanted to wrap their grimy hands around it. The good guys wanted to love me through my brokenness. I would have none of it.
In the end though, and through the hand of the Lord, I'm sure, they all faded away almost as soon as they emerged.I am discovering, as Dr. Naima did, my weakness. I didn't/don't love myself and I am desperately afraid of rejection.
I have spent the last few months going to counseling after realizing that tackling this weakness was too much for me to take on alone. It was time to overcome and it was OK to admit I needed help. (its okay for you to admit that too. Jesus still loves us). I remember after my first counseling session, I looked at my roommate and said, "Thank God. I am so grateful right now. I am so grateful I am not married and I don't have children. I'm not a whole person. Everything I had to offer them was broken and discolored. It was lies and self-hatred. I am so thankful. He spared them....and me. He is allowing me to heal. I will have so much more to give and it will be good and will be truth and it will be real love. I could never love them rightly because I don't love myself."
Ladies (and gents), we have wasted so much time. We have let so many beautiful things slip through our fingers. We have thrown away so many resources by feeding the demons of self-hatred and unworthiness. We have the infinite depths of love from a man who calls us worthy...who calls us lovely...who desires us...who pursues us. His name is Jesus. And though we may "know" it...do we own it? Can we forgive ourselves and embrace our individuality? Can we let go of the comparisons we have bound ourselves in and believe that the world cannot even comprehend the depths of value He puts in even one strand of hair on our head? Instead of the running tally of flaws and imperfections and focus on all the reasons someone could never really love us, let's first make the choice to love ourselves even if the only reason is because He loves us first. That's a pretty good reason.
Jesus wants to kick it with you.
You fly girl. You fly.
The excerpt above was from Confessions of a Big Girl,Reflections on Fat,Faith and Femininity by Dr.Naima Johnston Bush available now at www.amazon.com.
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For more information about Naima visit www.facebook.com/ministryofnaima .