I have been telling myself “it’s okay” for YEARS as a coping mechanism but I just couldn’t make myself believe it. I couldn’t grasp that simplest of concepts. I was so consumed with worry and not being good enough or smart enough or thin enough that the battle of self – acceptance was a constant defeat.
One of those constant defeats has been wanting to know why God made me to have a very low comprehensive learning level. In fact, I was angry about it. Why do I struggle so much with learning when I YEARN to be smart and just “get” the simplest of things. People always say, “Oh Stacey, you are so smart, you will get it.” But I don’t. In fact, when people would say those words they became a
dagger that would be inched in a little deeper. I barely passed high school and my comprehension level for reading is that of a 5th grader. Seriously. That’s why I had to stop homeschooling my son. Common sense – I got it – smarts – nope. I knew I had reached my max for my son and I didn’t want to hold him back because of my shortcomings. When I read scriptures – it takes many translations, books and questions that I search out to “get” what is happening and “what” it is the Lord wants me to take from one story.
And then there’s my weight. Talk about defeat – I want to know why God made me carry the genetic gene of obesity, a thyroid problem, and two autoimmune diseases and yet my sister can’t gain enough weight to be healthy – then there’s the words I have heard all my life from my father and even grandfather that conditioned me to hate being fat, therefore caused me to hate my physical self and never be satisfied with my appearance – and have been pivotal in my self defeat –
“Fat people are lazy.”
“Fat people are thieves.”
“Fat people are ugly.”
But the words that have plagued me more than anything came from my dad, “if you aren’t tall, thin, and beautiful you will never be successful.”
I have lived in the physical realm of self defeat and loathed myself for over twenty years because I haven’t looked good enough or appealing to one’s eyes. In fact, if truth be known, it has affected me so much I don’t go to my husband’s work because I have lived in fear of being an embarrassment to him because of my weight.
I have also wondered why God gave me such a big heart that I worry about other people and things to the point I
was am constantly in a state of worry. Constantly. I weep over children being abused and yearn to be part of the solution. I see animals being tortured and burned and want to save them all. I see missing children, parents whose children die from addiction, and families broken because of bad choices – and my heart hurts. I mean one person can only carry so many burdens – right? It is exhausting –
It. Is. Okay.
It’s okay because I have to work harder to learn and understand scriptures because that means I am seeking more. It’s okay that I can’t quote scriptures word for word because I would rather be able to apply the scriptural text and have a heart understanding and a life application moment than to be able to quote it verbatim and never take the scripture to heart.
It. Is. Okay.
It’s okay that I don’t look the way another thought I should look. And it’s okay if one’s definition of success is based on something that will fade over time – a few weeks ago God gave me my new definition of success and it has nothing to do with appearance –
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist & Poet
It. Is. Okay.
It’s okay too that I have a worry problem. Yeah I know what the scriptures say about worry, but it is those moments of worry that take me straight to the Throne of Grace – where I am able to turn that worry in to prayers and surrender those moments to my Lord. It’s those moments of worry where I can pray for the unknown child that was found hidden in a cat litter box and where I can pray their parents find Jesus – It’s those moments of worry when a dog is found burned almost to death that I can pray for the soul that is so sick that God would send someone to help him. It’s those moments of worry about my future and the future of my children that take me to the cross and allow me to lay out my life before the Lord – I have heard people flippantly quote I Thessalonians 5:16-18 but I have learned over the years the only way I have been able to combat worry is through prayer – so if that’s why God gave me such a big heart is to keep me close in prayer – then it’s okay.
This week some ladies and I were sharing our fears in a small group Bible Study – in the middle of our share time God spoke to my heart, “For each of your fears find a scripture that relates to what your fear is and apply it to that fear. Combat your fears with scripture.”
In weeks past I told the ladies I would never ask them to do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself. One of those things is scripture memory. It is hard for me. So hard I quit trying years ago. But, for the study we are doing I sensed the Lord prompting me to have them memorize certain verses with each unit.
That meant I had to do it also.
It has been three weeks – I have worked hard at memorizing our verse for session one (we are dividing each session up in two weeks) but I still couldn’t make the words flow. I was able to remember key words, but not even the verse reference would come to the forefront. But I kept trying.
The following day I was sitting at the park and reading – trying once more to recall the memory verse I had worked on for three weeks – and while this might appear to be nothing to some – it’s really something – No – it’s HUGE.
It has been years since I have been able to memorize scripture. I could recall certain ones but my memory has been so bad the last several years that memorizing anything seemed impossible. And while this is not the complete passage I am supposed to memorize, it is the furthest I’ve gotten in three weeks of trying. And it is more that I have retained in years – already He’s helping me combat my fears with scripture by helping me recall.
I share all this tonight because victories come in various stages of life. The last eight months I’ve worked through many challenges that have plagued me for years, but what has been amazing to me is when I stopped looking for acceptance, I found it. And I found it in the One whom I needed it from most.
It just took me a while to learn that it really is “Okay.”