Today I have had the pleasure of meeting the Methodist Youth President, Thema Tara Commey, learning from her wisdom, and welcoming her to our Youth Led Circuit Service, she was amazing in reminding us that Jesus loves all no matter what our background, race, creed, colour or sexuality. All are loved, all are accepted. All.
It was amazing to be with the young people of Sheffield Circuit as they led us in prayer and praise of the God who holds the end from the beginning and holds us all in love.
Thelma reminded us that loving ourselves is often the hardest thing we might be called to do. Loving others is much easier than loving ourselves. So often we find our value in another, and while there is nothing wrong with being valued in relationship with others, and perhaps particularly with a significant other, perhaps we need to learn who we are in Christ, unique expressions of God’s amazing creativity, perhaps we need to learn to love ourselves in order to be truly free.
The truth is you are called precious and honoured, you are loved beyond your deepest imagination, and, the same is true for me, no matter how much I call myself unworthy of such love, still God calls me worthy, I am enough even with my faults and flaws because embracing and working with them somehow makes room for miracles beyond my deepest dreaming!
So often I hear people, especially those coming out of long term relationships, be that through mutual decision, bereavement, or not chosen at all, voice the need to find another significant other, state that they need to find another partner before taking the time to heal and discover themselves. I am not criticising them, nor am I suggesting that that is wrong, we all need love and affirmation, but am simply reflecting that maybe sometimes we need to know ourselves, to accept ourselves, to love ourselves, and to find ourselves in God, before we can offer than to another, and to the wider community together. Knowing ourselves fully is often a work that we fear and shy away from because it demands that we encounter our shadow selves, our dark and often hidden side, and yet shadow work often reveals to us a deeper gift of who we truly are.
My own journey told me so many times that I was not, am not enough, and yet I have come to believe that I am, I am loved by the God who loves me for me, and does not count me valued by my relationship with a significant other. I have many friends for whom I am very grateful, but currently no significant other, and not worried about that. My value does not lie in who I am in relationship with, but simply in who I am, who I fully am. This is something I have had to learn, and it has required encountering the me that I have worked hard to deny and hidden from.
I am enough. I still find that challenging, even at the age of 57, the demands of our culture so often ask me for more, for a relationship that proves that I am loveable/ desirable, and yet my wholeness is actually hidden in Christ with God where I am made whole and found real. Richard Rohr tells us that, stating this is what it is to be in Christ;
“Our outer world and its inner significance must come together for there to be any wholeness—and holiness. The result is deep joy and a resounding sense of coherent beauty. “
For me this has been a significant revelation, and while I would never criticise anyone’s relationship, the need to learn to love and accept ourselves is huge. I am still learning that, and suspect that it is a part of my healing from often self inflicted wounds.
I am enough, I am loved, I am being made whole and holy…..
But that is my story, yours might be quite different