Maybe I’ve always carried it, tucked away into a corner of my soul, this idea I have to earn everything. Not that it was a message I ever heard, but somehow I took it as a truth. And so I’ve tried to earn friends, earn approval, earn a spot that was mine. No one else’s—just mine. Because what if someone runs out of time, of space, of patience? Then my spot is, well, gone. And then what? I’ve got to start all over again. And as a fairly solid 9 on the Enneagram where the tendency is for sloth/inertia, it’s hard to get the ball rolling again.
Only recently am I realizing how this mindset also makes it hard for me to do certain things. For instance, sometimes I find it hard to truly celebrate with or for others when they experience success after working hard at something or catching a well-timed break. Somehow, it means there is less for me. Illogical, I know, but I never claimed this all made perfect sense.
As a Christian this has, at times, made it hard for me to fully rest in God’s love. I’ve often heard and repeated the following saying: “God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.” And I understand the intent behind it—God wants to bring life and wholeness to the broken parts of me. But, weirdly, I don’t always hear it that way. It brings to mind a man I know who I once heard being told he was a candidate for God’s healing (he’d recently had some hard roads to travel in his life), and all he heard was he was a bad person.
Funny how we’ll filter things, eh? And sad, too, I know, as it can cause us to miss out on some truly good things.
I think all this jumbled-up thinking is why I so glommed into learning about Mr. Rogers when the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? came out. Here was an audible, kind, and patient voice saying to this soul I was lovable just by being myself. I wasn’t perfect, nor was I without hope – the jumble of things done right and things done wrong, all of me, was lovable. And love wouldn’t run out. No, there was enough for everyone.
So that’s something I’m aiming to settle into – that kind of love that Jesus has for me which a man in a cardigan and sneakers modeled so beautifully for so many. It’s a love that doesn’t run out, which doesn’t have to be (nor can it be) earned. And it’s the kind of love you want to share with as many people as possible.
It’s worth untangling mucked-up beliefs and thought patterns to get it, too.