Years ago, I thought I was accepting of those I loved. But I wasn't. I made a mess of my life over the years in many ways because I was brought up looking at everyone's faults. I held people under a microscope much of the time. And even those I loved dearly never measured up. I was brought up to not trust people because people hurt you. So even when I was loved I didn't trust. I was always waiting on something bad to happen or for someone to walk out of my life. Growing up my life was difficult in as many ways as it was easy in other ways. I trusted my family, including my aunts, uncles, and cousins. But I didn't trust anyone outside of my family, even those closest to me. They were not blood and they could hurt or abandon me so I could not totally be open with them or love them unconditionally.
Yet wasn't total acceptance and unconditional love what I craved most? Isn't it what we all want? I wanted it but I couldn't give it. The bad thing was that back then I did not even see this major flaw in myself. I was the lowest of the low I felt much of my life. I was no good. I was raised to believe I was no good, that no one would ever really love me. The community I lived in re-enforced this belief in me in many ways. I was judged on every turn. My mom was judged on every turn as well since she was divorced and back then it was not acceptable like it is today.
Over the years, I have grown stronger spiritually. I've gone through many battles and God has brought me through each one. I've learned how much God loves me unconditionally. Even though I always believed in Jesus, and even though I was born again at a fairly young age of 14, I always felt that God didn't really love me as much as He loved everyone else. I mean, I knew He loved me, but only because He HAD to love me as His creation. It wasn't until much later, after going through some of the worst times of my life that I came to know His love was real. This blog tells only a little of my story. There is so much more. Long story short, I got to know God much more personally and how much He does love me and how that love is unconditional.
In the past few years, I have had much time to think about those caves of Ai in my life (see the part of the blog talking about that.) There has been much to clean out of my caves that built up over many years of hurt and self abuse as well as hurt I have caused others. Every day I can find something, if I look diligently enough, that needs removed. I am far from perfect and have many flaws. Yet I want unconditional love. I want to be accepted for who I am and what I am, as imperfect as that may be. How can I ask that of anyone else if I am not able to give unconditional love to others as well?
After my divorce I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of life, out of a possible future husband, and out of myself. I came to realize that I do not want someone that I feel I need to change. I want someone I can love for who he is and not who I want him to become. I am not in the business of being able to change anyone but myself. So whenever I look at anyone, be it a new friend in my life, someone I work with, someone I might end up in love with at some point in time, I only see them as they are and ask God to show me the person He sees when He looks at them. Do you know what? When God looks at us, He sees perfection. We are His creation and He loves us. He made us. He knows each and every detail about each inner working of our lives from conception to death and beyond. And He loves us unconditionally. When I ask Him to let me see someone else through His eyes, it is a wonderful experience. The best part of this experience is that I am free to love others without interference from the faults they are so afraid to show. I am equally afraid to show my faults. We all are. And we all believe our faults are the worst ever and no one will really care about us the way we want to be cared about. I carry a huge imperfection right out in the open that I cannot hide from the world. I know the pain of being rejected because of my imperfections. I do not ever want to be the instrument of spreading pain to someone else because they happen to be human and have issues to deal with. We all do.
God taught me an important lesson over several years' time. The Bible says that we are not to judge others or we will be judged. I used to think that meant that God would judge us after we died. But I found out that many times the exact thing we judge someone else about comes back on us until we live through it ourselves and experience it from the other person's perspective. For instance, when I first began having knee trouble I know many people who criticized me and my lifestyle as the cause of my own trouble. Within months those people were having knee issues of their own. I have found in my own life that when I have judged someone else about how they raised their children for example, that I ended up with issues of my own very similar to their issues. After enough time of this, I decided I was not going to judge anyone else ever again if I could help it. Being judged in return is not pleasant.
In time I realized that what I want from myself is much more than that. I want to be the kind of person who truly does love my friends as well as my family, just as they are, faults and all, no matter what those faults are. This is not always easy, but it gets easier. I have a God who is there to guide me each step of the way. I have a program that helps me keep focused on the right issues, and those are my own. And I have Jesus who told us all to remove the stake from our own eye before we try to remove the splinter from the eye of another person. Getting that stake out of my own eye is much too difficult for me if I am trying to focus on the problems someone else is dealing with. And when I try to change someone else rather than working on changing myself, all I do is end up hurting the other person as well as myself, and sometimes others who may be involved in some way. The splinter in the eye of someone else is theirs for them to work on with the help of God as they know Him. It's hard enough just dealing with the stake in my eye.
So what I guess I am trying to say with this blog is that I've learned how to love without judging. Everyone has issues. Everyone has problems. I am not perfect in this endeavor yet but I am getting there. I am trying very hard myself to come out from hiding and show who I really am to my friends and family. I've been afraid to do that for far too long. Since I have started this, I have grown much and feel much freer than I ever did before. I know not everyone is going to like me as I am. I've learned to accept this too. But know this, if you need a friend who can love and accept you, faults and all, first look to God. Then give me a chance. Who knows? Maybe total acceptance is possible for us crazy messed up humans. :)
I would like to share with you a video that maybe tells you even better than I can just what I mean about total acceptance and unconditional love.