I was told in a variety of ways, for much of my youth, that I did not matter. It appeared that I didn’t measure up to what a boy, son, friend, human should be.
When I became an adult, I embraced the words drilled into my brain that I did not matter. And because I did not matter, my ideas, my feelings, my intellect, my creativity, didn’t matter either. I withdraw, giving up opinions, ideas, likes, and life.
But doing this did not free me from my wounded emotions, rather it magnified my anxiety, depression, sadness, and fears. I created a facade to hide behind, and like changing scenery on a stage became whatever anyone wanted me to be. I acquiesced just to feel like I belonged, and being part of a group/church/family made me feel included, but inside I knew I was a fraud.
I gave up so much of me, that I no longer knew who I was.
Becoming a Christian, at least at the beginning of my spiritual journey, didn’t really help me either. I was terrible at it. I kept “sinning” and repenting. This cycle reminded me that I must not matter in God’s eyes either since everyone around me was “growing” into spiritual maturity much faster than I was. So I plunged into the world of Evangelicalism and committed to spiritual work for 25+ years and at the end of that time I was basically told because of my views on some social issues that I was “an enemy of the cross of Christ” sitting in the pew.
I gave up on the church, because the church gave up on me, and reminded me that I didn’t matter.
Fast forward to today. Through reading Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and Richard Rohr (to name a few) and through spiritual counseling, true friends willing to be honest with me, and through experiences of God’s unconditional love, I can honestly say that I no longer believe I do not matter. I am (still struggling, but) finding my voice and my place in the world, and I am learning to love myself as myself. There is a lot more to my story, which I will share at a later time.
But let’s talk about you for a moment. I can assume that many of you have feelings of “not mattering.” As a counselor I meet and talk to people every day that tell me that…
they do not matter
they are “damaged goods”
they have no meaning.
Is that what you feel?
Can I tell you that those are lies that we have been told because….You do matter, and have intrinsic meaning simply because you are here.No one can give you worth or take your worth from you because…You were born with great, immeasurable worth.
And you are loved. Loved, deeply, and unconditionally, but the great Lover and Creator of the universe. And nothing you can do will ever change that love.