“There are two realities to which you must cling. First, God has promised that you will receive the love you have been searching for. And second, God is faithful to that promise.
So stop wandering around. Instead, come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. Your whole life you have been running about, seeking the love you desire. Now it is time to end that search. Trust that God will give you that all-fulfilling love and will give it in a human way. Before you die, God will offer you the deepest satisfaction you can desire. Just stop running and start trusting and receiving.
Home is where you are truly safe. It is where you can receive what you desire. You need human hands to hold you there so you don’t run away again. But when you come home and stay home, you will find the love that will bring rest to your heart.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of my life running from myself. And by running from myself, I mean doing everything I possibly could to keep certain parts of myself hidden or pretty so that I would be accepted and loved. As a little girl, I went through a period when was really heavy, and was left out by my friends, and these things created deep chasms of hurt that have taken a long time for Jesus to begin to heal. Because I wouldn’t let him heal me. Because I thought that’s just what people did. There’s something wrong with you and you just fix it and make it okay. And then you will again be loved. And so I’ve spent a lot of life editing myself and controlling myself and trying to be the best. I’ve kept quiet and proud so that people would not have to question that I was good and deserving of their love.
And don’t we all do that? I could name so many areas, but we let ourselves be named by other people as “the smart one” or “the funny one” or “the one who’s always kind,” and we shut off other parts of ourselves, the ugly parts, that we have learned that others don’t want to see.
And as we do that, we miss out on ourselves, on the person God actually created us to be.
In the last few months of my life, the Lord has been teaching me more than ever before that I can’t fix myself. All my former ways of protecting myself and fixing myself just are not going to work. Controlling my eating is not going to fix me. Purity is not going to fix me. Choosing joy and being kind and doing everything right isn’t going to fix me either. My old systems of operating are faulty and broken and they’re hurting me. They’re probably hurting you too.
I cannot fix myself. And I hate to break this to you, but you cannot fix yourself either.
From time to time over the last two years, I’ve gotten this picture in my mind of a little girl, who obviously very afraid and vulnerable. And I know that little girl is me. Because I feel her pain, her rejection, and her longing to be loved. I’ve done everything I can to ignore her and run from her, but she’s been showing up more and more and the Father’s been reminding me, “Mary Cate, my beloved, you have to love that part of you too.”
There are so many parts of me that I love. I really am a secure and joyful individual. I’m so thankful for my life, for the people in it, for my circumstances, for every single part. But there are pieces of myself that I’ve closed off and ignored. There are pieces that I have not loved, that I have not let be exposed to the Father’s love.
Because we don’t just close off parts of ourselves to other pieces. A lot of the time, we close of parts of ourselves to God.
And if we would just open up, if we would make friends with the pieces of ourselves that we’ve really tried to kill, I believe we’d experience more healing than we’d know what to do with. It’d be like Jesus kicking in the door of the darkest room in our heart and letting all the Light in.
I honestly don’t have this all figured out yet. These meditations are just stirrings in my heart. I haven’t even begun to experience the freedom that Jesus has promised, but there’s a new openness and a new love for that little girl inside myself who really needs a home. I could keep avoiding her. I could continue to shut her out. But throughout that time I would be missing God’s promise, that if I bring my full, entire self to him, I will be loved fully, in all His entirety. We miss out on some much when we refuse to let ourselves be loved. But the more and more we walk with Jesus, the more we’ll see these broken, “unlovable” places as the ones that allow us to experience the fullness of Christ. Paul had those places. And they kept him close to Jesus. They kept him close to the Cross (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
In his kindness, God offers us the opportunity to come home to ourselves, to embrace all the parts of our heart that our loved ones could not handle, that the church deemed unacceptable and dirty, that we tried with all our might to hide. He wants to welcome in that broken little girl/boy in you, wants to help you make friends with your pain and yourself so you can enter into healing and find the truest freedom and joy.
God is carving out a place for you, for all of you. It’s big enough for you to breathe, quiet enough for you to hear him, comforting enough for you to receive. It is home. It is your place. And all of you is welcomed there.
It’s so good to be able to love ourselves in our own brokenness, so stay familiar with the Cross. We are being made more and more like Jesus. And it’s a joy to trust in His process.