Several weeks ago, I had a meeting with the board chair of the non-profit for which I do the bookkeeping. I had made an error in one of the financial statements and I needed to go over it with him so that going forward we remained in compliance with government and organizational policy. During our conversation, I mentioned that I claim all responsibility for the error and would make any changes needed, even if it meant passing on the job to a more qualified individual.
This gentleman sat back in his chair and his face turned stoic.
“Uh oh,” I thought, “here it comes. I’m getting fired.” Instead this was his response.
“Sandra? Do you know what I said to my wife after the first meeting we had five years ago?”
Wide eyed, I waited for him to continue.
“Honey, tonight I met a woman and I think I like her more than she likes her.”
I think I like her more than SHE likes her.
In one short statement this gentle and wise man called out my biggest secret, my greatest regret. I have been ensnared by low self-image for so long I don’t remember not being bound to it.
The reason why I’ve felt less than, even as a toddler, is a bit of a mystery. There is some indication it took hold during a childhood health crisis. I’ve also always been a high sensitive. Perhaps there are other determining factors, yet the outcome remained the same. I believed (and sometimes still believe) I was less than others.
Once you are made aware that other’s see your issues, they stay in the forefront of your mind. This happened for me. At my age, I thought I’d buried my issues, but it seemed their graves were quite shallow. I noticed how many times a day I had negativity about my looks, weight, hair length, work ethic, behavior – the list goes on.
The sad truth is the time I spent in “less than” thought was out of control. And the more I tried to fight the dark thoughts the more uncontrollable the despair became.
All I could do is pray. And live. And pray some more.
Then, during my quiet time some weeks later something happened. Something that doesn’t occur to me often. I had a clear vision:
In my vision, I could see I was at a boardwalk carnival. The lights, the rides and noise that carnivals have happening all around.
And I was on the trapped on an ever-turning carousel.
This carousel looked like any you’ve seen in the movies or perhaps in real life. Ponies and other animals to ride. Flashing lights. Merry music. Going around and around.
But it was clear to me, although the carousel looked like a normal ride, it represented all the thoughts and beliefs which had held me captive for so long:
Not attractive enough. Round and around.
Not smart enough. Up and down.
Not thin enough. Round and around.
Not cool enough. Up and
Not desirable enough. Down…
Round the carousel went – sometimes fast, sometimes slow but never stopping. Never letting me get off the ride.
But then Jesus appeared beside the ride. He beckoned me to come to Him. To jump off. He would catch me.
Fear had me in its grip. Yet eventually I leapt off the ride and into His arms. He caught me. Just as He said He would.
He then took me by the elbow and led me through the carnival. I could then see that the carnival represented all sorts of sin I had dealt with in my life. He took me away from my greatest fears and He continued to take me away from all the other things that could harm me.
Finally, we reached the end of the boardwalk. From there we went out on to the beach and began to walk along the shoreline. Without saying anything I felt the deepest of intimacy with Him. An intimacy I knew I wouldn’t have been able to have while still trapped on the ride of self-hatred.
As we walked I could see off in the distance stood a man, his back to us. Jesus was leading me to him. At that moment, I knew the man represented my greatest desires. A family of my own – yes. But more than that, by taking me away from my fears and sin Jesus allowed me to see that my heart’s desire was out there, away from sin and fear, waiting patiently for me.
The end of the vision flashed forward to myself and the man kneeling in the sand and Jesus anointing our foreheads with oil.
By no means do I understand all that was being communicated to me in this vision. However, I do have some insight on some of its meaning.
I think I like her more than SHE likes her.
For many years fear has trapped me with thoughts that I am not enough for love – romantic or otherwise. And instead of facing fear and walking it out with God, I have chosen to stay on the up and down, round and round. The mantra “I am less’ became comfortable. But God, (delicious phrase – but, God) had other ideas. It’s become time to put away the lies and to embrace the wholeness and the “enough” of my being.
He is making me brave. Brave – so I may recognize I may not “be” enough for some, but for God I am plenty. In fact, my cup overflows. Brave – so I may finally, with a fullness of being, walk out His will. Brave – knowing I have much to learn, but He is leading me, grasping me by the elbow away from sin and into joy.