I Learned Something

June 18, 2019

Feeling loved and safe is, and always has been, my number one priority. Feeling disapproval equated to not being safe and therefore needed to be avoided at all costs.

It was explained over and over to me in Church that I could not earn God’s love. The only way I was comfortable receiving love was through earning it. So hearing that I couldn’t earn God’s love was not comforting. I couldn’t accept any free love because it wasn’t dependable. God was like a parent who obviously loves their child, but is never pleased with them. Never being enough and not being able to do anything about it became a major theme in my life.

But I did know I could please people. I watched the people around me and knew how to predict positive emotions, I was an expert. I didn’t think about it or try, I just did it, constantly. I knew who to trust and who to avoid. I was drawn to people that made their needs clear so that I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to receive their approval. This wasn't healthy but it was an intrical and subconscious part of who I was. 

Another thing I heard about God over and over was how much He loved me. I believed He loved me, and I had felt that love, but after the worship music ended I was returned to my cycle of “not good enough” thought life. So I knew God loved me, and that I couldn’t earn that love, but I didn’t know how to access that love on my own. There was the short list of things I “needed” to do, read my Bible and pray. But no matter how much I did that it wouldn’t be enough to earn God’s love. So I would return to the approval of people because there I could do what I needed to do, relatively consistently, satisfy others and feel loved and safe in the process.

(I talk in detail in a previous post about when I first started to actually receive and understand God's love for me.)

So since I got here, without taking adequate time to pray and receive my love from God I was turning to the people around me for the love I needed. Since I have been actively developing my personality in Christ and trying very hard to not shift who I am depending on who I’m with in order to receive love from them. I was having a huge inner crisis. I was losing the will to live without my need for love being filled. These last two weeks I can remember myself starting to cave once more to what I knew could get me love from people. My tank was empty but my new found sense of self was incensed that I was throwing away my hard won personality for fleeting human approval. I did not have the words or awareness to know this was what was happening at the time. So as I battled with myself I also began to heavily resent the people closest to me who were not meeting my needs. It of course was not their responsibility to meet my needs for love, but my sleep deprived mind needed to put the blame on someone. A few months ago I would have blamed myself completely but this “in progress Emily” wouldn’t accept all the blame for the misery I was feeling.

I could no longer live separately from God’s love, self reliant on my ability to please others. My human reflex to revert to my old ways only caused me more pain. I am so thankful for this clarity because another week without this knowledge would have continued to undo months of difficult work.