Our church starts a new series tomorrow. I am part of the creative writing team responsible for the weekly devotional The Journey. I thought I’d share the intro video and what I wrote for this week’s devotional here.
As a young woman I felt desperate for a man’s love. In order to receive this love and affection, I pretended to be whatever I thought would attract and keep his attention; occasionally compromising myself because that seemed easier than compromising the relationship. Accepting less than ideal treatment became all too frequent if I felt that he “loved” me. Internalizing these situations, I asked myself what I could have done to inspire better.
Growing up I didn’t have an identity in Christ. I suffered from low self-esteem and felt that my relationships and achievements formed the foundation of my identity. I truly feel this caused me to constantly try to fill my life with those things. Due to my desperation, I found myself in undesirable places, with undesirable people, doing undesirable things. Partying, underage drinking, and older men were used in an attempt to fill the large void I felt in my life.
Even after finding the love of my life, I was still high-maintenance. I required a lot of time and attention. When this didn’t happen, I felt abandoned, and even betrayed. The expectations I placed on this relationship defined unrealistic. I thought it was my significant other’s job to please me, fulfill me, to make me feel loved. Boy, lookout if this seemed unimportant to him! Because I equated my own self-worth to the status of my relationship, I experienced great emotional breakdowns. I would suffer the emotional equivalent of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. I also had about the same thought processes as a two-year old during those times. I was inconsolable. Life seemed hopeless. He didn’t love me; and if he didn’t love me, then all was lost.
As I matured and our relationship matured, things improved some, but not much. I still felt desperate for his time, attention, and craved his affections. These things did not seem important to him. I learned what I thought were better ways of coping. Communicating my needs, suppressing my needs, and even finding others who could satisfy my needs, but none of these filled the hollowness I felt.
Our relationship suffered breakdown and, in spite of our love for one another, it looked like we were headed for divorce. We sought out counseling, which helped immensely with my issues. The desperation I felt seemed to lessen as we worked through our differences and our desires for each other and our marriage. But nothing helped quite like finding my identity in Christ Jesus. The exploration of my self doubts encouraged me to examine my spiritual doubts. With a supportive church and mentor I pressed into these issues and found new ways to define myself. With the solid foundation and security in His love, I found the same in my husband’s love. I’m no longer “that girl.” Praise the Lord!
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 (NIV)