On what I’m learning about worthiness – Part 1

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

About six months ago, I told Jason that it was really important for us to celebrate my big 4-0. I wanted just he and I to go away and spend some time together. What I didn’t want was for my birthday to just be another day or another birthday.

Ladies, I know you will get this – this is a big deal – for me to actually want to spend time with Jason. The reason being for many years in our recovery, spending time with him alone was the very last thing I wanted to do. Too vulnerable. Too risky. Just too much.

Sure, some of this was simply because I was recovering from the unthinkable. I also know for myself, it was more than that – it was also because I never learned to be fully known, fully intimate, and fully vulnerable.

Over the course of the years, this landscape has changed (hence the reason I deeply desired to spend time alone with Jason for my 40th). Thanks in part to Jason’s patience and persistence. I also wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for a safe place where I’ve practiced being fully known with a group of women. My sacred inner circle.

So Jason went to planning and I stepped back and enjoyed not having to deal with the stress of prepping a trip. In the midst of the planning, Jason realized how grateful he is that we don’t keep secrets from each other anymore. Planning my surprise reminded him of hiding certain parts of his life from me. He was so ready for the big day to come when he could fill me in on our plans.

That day came today. As I write, we are headed west on a plane, taking us to our warmer than Denver destination. Jason filled me in on all his searching and planning and stressing. During the midst of our conversation, I looked at him and said, “wow, you must feel really vulnerable doing all of this”. And he agreed, completely.

I for the most part sat in this very seat in shock. As I tried to put my internal feelings into words, what I realized is – I felt vulnerable too. And more than that, I questioned my worthiness in all these plans that he so carefully pieced together.

Worth.

For me, explaining and conceptualizing worth is challenging. Worthiness is knowing, believing and living out the fact that I am enough. No matter what I do or don’t do in a given day, because I am a child of God – I am enough.

It seems for me – that somewhere between those years in Sunday school and present day, I forgot about this. Or maybe I never fully conceptualized this as a child. I am a baby Christian after all. What I DO know, is when I listen to my boys’ music and when I read Jesus Storybook Bible to them – it’s loud and clear. God loves us more than anything else and we were born into this world as worthy. There is absolutely nothing we could do or not do to take it away.

So why, then, has it been so hard for me to live my life out of a place of worthiness? To live from a place of deep security and wholeness? To believe that on my 40th birthday, I am worth others going out of their way to celebrate me?

This is something ladies that I’m currently wrestling through.

And here’s what I think – it goes alllllllll the way back to Adam and Eve. When Eve ate the apple and sin entered the world, the wounding began. It’s from the wounds I’ve endured – both thanks to my sins and thanks to other’s sins that my worthiness slowly, over time, started to crumble.

So it’s not enough (no pun intended) to just repeat to myself – “I’m worthy, I’m enough.” I’ve got to go deep. Identify the lies I believe in my head that are causing my insecurity and thus my lack of worth. Then trace those back to the wounds I’ve endured.

With that insight comes validation and empathy. With that insight, I can start to replace the lies with the truth. And with that truth, I believe I can start to slowly piece together my worth as God intended it to be.

I’ll keep you posted!

xo-Shelley

8 thoughts on “On what I’m learning about worthiness – Part 1

  1. Lisa Taylor

    March 1, 2017  |  04:58 pm

    Happy Birthday, gorgeous sister. You are so worthy of all the honor and love you receive that day… and every day. I don’t suppose the warmer place was New Zealand… 🙂


  2. Diane Dalton

    March 2, 2017  |  10:19 am

    Oh Shelley! I love you guys so much for your willingness to share your deepest feelings and your journey with us who struggle with the same thing! We are 3 years into recovery and are doing your “kitchen convos ” now. I pray you have the MOST WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY EVER!!! Don’t think dear one – just go with it!!!!


  3. SLM

    March 3, 2017  |  03:17 am

    WOW!! Happy 40th Shelley. Thank you for the gift you have given me with this birthday post. I too struggle and have struggled for as long as I remember with feeling, knowing, and believing I am worthy of most things, but especially the love and forgiveness of Christ. During my recovery journey several times (honestly most of those occurred in fits of anger) I have screamed at my husband I don’t deserve this, I am worth more than this, and I deserve more than this. Each time I would be shocked at the words as they flew from my mouth. Mostly because I don’t think before the words flew from my mouth that I believed them. But looking back I can see were it was God (although I would be responding in anger from the hurt) that brought the realization to my consciousness. Almost all my life I have worked hard to EARN love. I tried to be the best daughter, best mother, best wife, best whatever to everyone to prove I was worth their love. AND I WAS EXHAUSTED. For years before D day I would tell my husband all the time I never feel like I am enough. Slowly I am finding that I am enough. I have had to learn to establish boundaries. That has been hard, and caused some realizations that I did not expect. But slowly I am realizing I am worth a life that is full of genuine love and acceptance. And so far this has been the ONLY thing positive I have gained from this journey.


  4. Jennifer Kreitzer

    March 3, 2017  |  05:27 am

    “For me, explaining and conceptualizing worth is challenging. Worthiness is knowing, believing and living out the fact that I am enough. No matter what I do or don’t do in a given day, because I am a child of God – I am enough.” This. I love this. It’s cool bc I feel like God is really solidifying my identity. Reminding me that his original intent was for man to live in constant communion with him…without sin…created in his image. Sin entered the world and then he had to sacrifice his only son to redeem that and bring things back to his original design. What’s mind blowing to me about this is that we were created in the image of God. Jesus lives inside us. We are coheirs of Christ and therefore, God sees us as he sees Jesus. He sees me like he sees Jesus. He sees me as his daughter. He sees me as worthy. That’s my identity. A daughter of God. Like Jesus. Wait whaaaaaat?!?! That’s mind blowing and a reminder that he already sees us as enough. Daaaaaang! Thank you for sharing this!!


  5. Faye

    March 3, 2017  |  07:40 am

    Beautifully written as always, thank you for sharing. Your book and blog are giving me hope in a very dark time.


  6. muchalone

    March 6, 2017  |  10:44 am

    Happy birthday!
    Love this post…because, worth is hard to get some days…and if I based my idea of worth on the events of my birthday…ugh…scary thought!
    I’m so glad you get to have a special birthday–what a blessing to be shown by God–and your husband–just a small bit of your worth on a special day!
    I have been blessed by the message in this song about worth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05jKxv8ApuI
    So helpful at those times when my outward circumstances scream that I don’t matter…


  7. caroline

    March 13, 2017  |  06:28 pm

    Much Alone, thank you for sharing this song!

    I too have trouble finding enough evidence for worth by looking outward …or inward! Only an UPWARD focus brings the proper perspective.

    As a self-serving addict myself, I have serious trouble finding the truth about this. I really struggle about how to see myself clearly. I struggle making a “sober assessment” of myself. I tend to run to extremes with this kind of stuff.

    Honestly, reminding myself that I-am-enough or that I-am-worthy can feel crazy close to an enslaving sense of entitlement. Dangerously close to the “I-deserve-this” beliefs of addiction.

    Unmerited Grace to the rescue. For sure, I am grateful. For though I am unworthy of it, I know I am LOVED with a love that boggles the mind.

    Realizing just how much I love my own kids, (while all the time knowing about their human frailty!) has really helped me feel the Lord’s love and acceptance of me. Yet, even in this, my love is flawed, while His love is perfect.

    I know my own children only partly, but Jesus knows me even better than I know myself. He sees every flaw/weakness/failure, and yet He loves unto death on the cross. His sight is perfect, His understanding is perfect, and yet He chooses me.


  8. oldwifenewwife

    March 17, 2019  |  08:31 pm

    I haven’t read parts 2 & 3 yet – and look forward to doing so!! – but wanted to pipe up with where I am on feeling worthy, or being enough: I’m not. I never was, never will be. It’s not about me at all, but about God. He doesn’t love me because I am worthy, but because He made me. He doesn’t love me because I am lovable, but because He is Love.

    I’m not enough, but God is. And that’s enough for me. …. and a relief, too, because I don’t have to do anything, or be anything, to keep up my ‘enough’ status: God is my Enough.

    Maybe it’s all semantics; I don’t know. What I do know is that all the church-y princess talk soured my stomach for so long, rang so false … and when I got to analyzing the whole shiny “You’re ___!!” business, it occurred to me that that stuff becomes all about Me. And it’s not about Me. It’s about Him – all of it.

    Thank goodness. 😉


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