What’s wrong with me? I was continually consumed by this thought. I tried to get people to like me, but I always seemed to fail. What did I need to do to get people to like me? My mind was always racing through the things wrong with me. I felt unloved. Could anyone love me? After all there was nothing attractive about me. I couldn’t carry an interesting conversation. I was boring, friendless… The list of negatives seemed to be endless. Who could remove my shame and make me acceptable?
One time I was in the counseling room speaking out these very thoughts. While in prayer, God showed me a vision. In this vision I stood clothed in a dirty, ragged princess-style dress. My heart was speaking, “Do you love me…?”, “Am I pretty?” I was begging, please someone, ANYONE, love me. But, no matter how much I was crying out, my deep need for this acceptance and love was never met. I saw Jesus standing before me. He had what appeared to be many arms flowing out of His body. His eyes looked at my ragged clothes and I saw Him smile. Not a smile of contempt or humour, as I felt He should. It was a smile of compassion and love. He had pride in His eyes. The pride a good father has for his child, the pride that looks past their child’s flaws and failures. The pride that is just happy that they have this precious gift, their child, in their life.
How could He feel that about me? In that moment I felt so much shame. I wanted to run away and hide. I couldn’t stand here and have Him look at me. How embarrassing! Unable to move, my eyes cast down to the ground. My head bowed in shame. When I did, I saw my dirty sleeves, ripped and torn. My hands were covered in filth. I heard Him speak, asking for me to come to Him. Out of His body radiated warmth; it was a drawing love. My mind race through the familiar thoughts of my unworthiness. I questioned, “Why would anyone love me?” He did not answer; He just continued to reach out to me with His love.
Making a choice to not listen to the voices stating my unworthiness, I stepped up to Jesus. In one swift movement His arms wrapped around me from my head to my toes. I was surrounded in His love. I had a strange sensation of being complete, satisfied. I felt right, accepted; free from shame. When He removed His arms, I stepped away. Looking down at my clothes I was stunned to see that I was standing in a beautiful white dressed, my skin was clean and new. He had re-clothed me. I felt a sense of pride and excitement. I remember saying in an almost child-like way, “I’m pretty” and swirling around in my dress. I was a princess ready for the ball!
The world and our enemy (Satan), would happily have us consumed by thoughts of our unworthiness. They give us a list of impossible rules that we have to meet to be considered acceptable. It gives them great pleasure watching our demise as we waste our life and money trying to make ourselves worthy. This unsatisfiable desire for acceptance ultimately brings destruction. We try to satisfy our deep need with things such as: over or under eating, drug usage, excess shopping, poor relationships, illicit behaviour, excessive shyness, hopelessness, and loss of life.
God is not like those in this world. He doesn’t follow the world’s rules of what is considered right and wrong. Nor does He give us a list of impossible things that we have to do to be worthy of His presence. In fact, God’s truth is the exact opposite. In God we don’t find our worthiness from within ourselves. He gives us His worthiness! Worthiness that was secured for us through His son, Jesus. He says my son Jesus is worthy, and in Him you are made worthy. When you ‘cover’ yourself in Jesus, He makes you right. He is the one who completes you.
Truth be told, out-side of Jesus, we are all unworthy. The source of our unworthiness and shame is sin. There is no-one without sin, we are all born into it. Sin is a reality of our life. Understanding our own fragility and ability to be sinful I believe is important. Not so that we can live a life of shame and hopelessness. Rather, so that we know our limitations and need of God. It causes us to seek God for our help and gives us empathy for others, as we see that we are all in the same basket. Without Jesus, none of us are worthy. Jesus removes our sin with His forgiveness. Without sin, there is no shame; giving us an escape from the endless want created by shame. He cleanses our repentant hearts and covers our shame with His worthiness. We are made new and accepted… True freedom!