The dear girl sits at my kitchen table, and her lower lip trembles.
She’s letting it all out, this frustration of performance for many years in order to gain or keep approval and love—and how it didn’t work, and she got less than she deserved.
The tears won’t stop, and they pour hot and long. And I say it as firmly to her as I’ve said it to myself, “You are not loved because you dress well, accomplish a lot, or because you love your kids. You can just be who you are—and be valued, treasured, and worth a lot.”
She sits, silent, absorbing the words. For someone who’s worked her entire life—worked for God, parents, husband, and kids—with little thought or focus on her own ease—these words are a gold mine.
She’s not a selfish person; she’s a giver. And she needs to hear it—her worth is not based on what she does or how little mistakes she can make.
Mothers, when you raise your kids with criticism for each little failure you have a recipe for a hard working performer who may crash after many years of striving.
Raise your children in an atmosphere of emotional safety and unconditional love.
Our value is based on the Son of God and His thoughts of us. It is based on the fact that we were created in His image and He wanted us. Hear this—you can work your entire life to gain approval without ever knowing how much you were approved before you ever did a thing.
Outward actions do matter, but they must be a fruit of the heart being in an approved place with God rather than the striving of a heart trying to get to an approved place with God and man.
At birth, when you laid on your mama’s tummy with wet, sticky skin, do you think you were less loved and approved of? You had done nothing, but taken a lot—and you were loved and adored as much as you will probably ever be. You were sticky, icky, squalling, and couldn’t even smile.
How then, soul, do you think that, many years later, you have to perform for love? That you need to prove yourself needless and perfect? That you crash when others see faults in you?
You were a human being long before you were a human doer.
When we know how much we’re already loved by God, we enter rest. In this rest, we show love best to those around us. We want to shed the sweat pants, get up, and serve others. We truly desire to give, and give well. We sacrifice.
All of it becomes a circle of love rather than a striving for love. Circles go round and round with no end of exhaustion, because you receive love as you give out love.
If your lips are trembling today, remember who you were when you were born, and how much you were loved and adored by God—and most likely, by everyone in the room who laid eyes on your wet, sticky, helpless little body.
You are the same human being today, and have the same value today. Jesus Christ died for YOU.
Remember to be in a state of love before you try to give out love. If we can learn this ourselves and teach it to our children, we will have accomplished much.