I get so caught up in what society says I must do and who I must be.
I'm a single parent. My kids have two different fathers. Strike one.
I'm below poverty level, living in low-income housing. Strike two.
I don't get food stamps, so that's a plus for me.
I'm overweight. Strike three.
I am not involved in a sexual relationship. Strike four.
My house is a mess, and I'm disorganized. Strike five.
My child has behavior issues. HUGE strike six.
I rarely cook from scratch, or eat organic. Strike seven.
I get frustrated and angry. Strike eight.
I don't have a great, full time job with benefits. Strike nine.
I have a ton of debt. Strike...oh wait, I guess that's a plus for me in society's standards.
I am a Christian, follower of Jesus. Strike ten.
WHAT A LOSER! I really need to get my life together! If I just worked harder, or if I just...nothing.
I could let you look into my life. My past, and my present. I know where I came from. I know how I used to be unable to get out of bed. I know how I used to cut my wrists, and the only thing that brought relief to my mind was imagining that viciousness. I know how the negative comments and teachings from people in authority over me used to ricochet around my thoughts, my own beliefs right with them.
"You are so stupid, Leah. You are a loser, Leah. Get it together! You are so weak! You will NEVER be more than this. You are worthless. You are a liar, and just looking for attention. You are a terrible mother, and your children would be better off without you. You don't know what you are talking about. You are so ugly. You are unlovable. You are broken, tainted, dirty, disgusting. No one will want you now. You are shameful. You are fat, you are gross, you are despicable! It is all your fault. There is something seriously wrong with you. Get out of my face! Go kill yourself."
Screaming "HELP ME" in my head, where no one could hear me.
How could I be anything more than a failure?
Oh, God, by Your Hand only am I alive. I tried to not be alive in so many ways. Literally beating my head against the wall, trying to run.
Very small, very quiet, a voice consistently spoke these words. "Oh Leah, don't you know who you are? Let me show you."
It took me years to hear that voice, and years to respond. But it only took a couple of years to accept the truth.
My regret is that it took me so many years to hear and respond. So many people are right where I have been. They hear the same things, and they believe the same things.
Unless they have the truth to hang onto, no one can handle the negative. But that doesn't make them weak. It makes them enslaved.
There are many ways to hide from that negative pain. Addiction to drugs and alcohol and food. Lashing out in anger towards people, strangers and loved ones alike. Turning anger inwards towards self. Suicide, cutting, engaging in other acts of self-harm. Searching for worthiness in relationships, work, possessions, status.
It doesn't matter if your chains are gold; they are still chains, and they lead to death.
It was only when I began to speak God's truth about and to myself that my beliefs changed. When I consistently sought Him out and spoke to Him about everything, then my life began to change. Even when I got sucked back into my chains, I called out to Him. I took small steps, big steps, backwards and forwards steps. Slowly, and surely, things changed. It sounds so easy, but it was so hard!
I am still what society deems unacceptable, but the difference is that I don't care what society says. I don't care because I know where I am going. I know who I am. I know what I need to be doing. I know that my worth is what God says it is, and not what society screams at me from every angle. This is why I do my best to keep my eyes on God, and point towards Him.
Money, power, relationships, family, education, success, opinions of others...I could never find my worth in any of these things. I tried very hard. I failed every single time. Why did I fail? Because my worth is in the Eye of the Artist Who created me, and not in what society lies about. I am not worthy because of what I do or what I own. I am worthy because of Who I know. I am worthy because God says I am.
I am no longer a slave. I am free.
We might be in different places, but all of us are on a journey.
Leah's Life Verses