Within the heart of every person, there is a longing to be loved. To be loved is to be known, accepted, wanted, and chosen… to be loved is to be seen.
As a person who has lived through trauma in many forms, I often find that it is challenging to allow myself to be seen- to be loved.
I say “person who has lived through trauma” because to give myself the title “victim,” or “survivor” takes me to a place in my mind where I often battle the lies of believing that the events of my life must somehow fit into a box.
For many years, I sought to place this box high up upon a shelf where it could not be accessed, could not be seen. In an effort to “belong” to those around me, I struggled to recognize that in many ways, I didn’t feel like I belonged even to myself, let alone God.
When someone first told me that I was made for greatness, I thought for certain that if he only knew what my life had really been, he wouldn’t dare think I could somehow be great.
The shame ran deep for my inner child who had grown into a beautiful woman with a happy life and blossoming career. Over many years, I had perfected the act of pretending like everything was perfect.
During inevitable moments when I was faced with the reality of my imperfection, I would repeat the words my mother used as her personal mantra: “It’s okay. Everything is fine. It’ll be alright.”
I believed that I could achieve almost anything I set my mind to, and truthfully, this sense of overachieving has been one of the ways I coped with trauma.
I sought to achieve greatness through exceeding external expectations, yet all the while, my inner critic believed that I wasn’t enough, that there was no way I could truly be great.
I would often find myself crying out to the Lord, asking Him repeatedly to “just finally heal me and make me whole.”
Within my heart, I questioned if there was a reality beyond being “fine.” I knew that I could achieve great things, and I believed that God loved me, but I still felt the need to perform and wear a mask.
The masks I learned to wear through years of trauma and abuse are so life-like and beautiful that I began to believe that if I could keep them in pristine condition, if I could keep others from seeing the “real me,” that I could achieve greatness in no time.
These past several years, the Lord has continued His work of healing in my life. Through therapy, prayer, friendship, and grace, He has been teaching me to take off the masks and break down the walls of protection my inner child needed to survive.
He continues to show me that in a call to greatness, there is first and foremost an invitation to allow Him to be the One Who redeems and restores.
The beginning of greatness is to recognize our littleness before God, yet not allow that littleness to blind us to the beauty with which He sees us.
Jesus, please let me be seen, known, loved! Show me how I belong to You and to myself; Help me walk in the way of greatness one step at a time.
As Christians, we believe that within each of our hearts is a place where God chooses to dwell.
If this is true, if the Holy Spirit chooses to dwell within me, then how could this life with God be anything but great?
If I am truly honest, there are times when the shame is still present- moments when I don’t live as my true self, when I still struggle to allow myself to be seen as I am and not as I believe I should be.
And there are also moments of grace when I believe in the goodness with which He has created me and the dignity of my body that He has restored.
This tension between the lies in my head and the truth He speaks in my heart may be an ongoing part of the journey for me.
This journey of coming to know my true self, of allowing that truth to be seen and loved by others is proving to be the daily road to the greatness of which I am called.
Isn’t it great that God takes us as we are and walks with us in the little moments that truly show His greatness?