It’s fairly safe to say I won’t be opening my heart up for awhile.
I’ve been in two relationships, and both of them were emotionally abusive in their own way. Both of them played deeply into my present anxieties and trust issues. In the first, he didn’t even want me to call him my boyfriend. He was there for me when it was convenient to be there, and he acknowledged me when he was lonely. But other than that, I’d go days without hearing from him. My second relationship was too good to be true. He was very protective and very jealous – and very stifling. After four months, he decided that he didn’t think he could marry me, and he did what he promised he’d never do – he left.
I cried my eyes out over both relationships. I’ve had massive anxiety attacks over both relationships. And both of them have made me scared of opening up again. Why would I do that if it’s just going to lead to another heartbreak? Why not just block myself off and never love again?
Well, that’s not what love is for. Fortunately.
Oftentimes, we find worth solely in our earthly relationships. Maybe it’s not even a romantic one. We find worth in the love of our parents, or our friends, or our kids. They are our “world,” as some of us like to say. And they can be, but they’re better off as a part of a whole and not the entire thing. Because making someone your world is a lot of pressure – on you and them.
Maybe for you, it’s not people – it’s things. Your worth is found in the number of figures on your paycheck. Or what your boss says on your annual review – or what you say about your employees. What car you drive, what house you own, what you can afford to do and not do.
The common denominator is that all of these things can be taken away. Money can be gone in a flash (2008, anyone?) Spouses can up and leave. Children move away, parents pass on. Your boyfriend tells you he doesn’t love you anymore, or even worse, he’s found someone else. Just like that. Where is your worth now?
I’m making it sound easy to detach yourself from these things, but it never is, is it? I haven’t given birth to a child, so I don’t know the true strength of a mother-child relationship yet. I know how easy it is to become so attached to someone that your worth depends on them. And I know how it feels when they get taken away, and boom – there goes your worth. When both of my relationships respectively ended, there were times when I thought of doing the unspeakable. Literally thank God for my friends, who were there when I needed them the most and talked me off the ledge. It shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t be believing we are worthless just because someone left us. Because that’s simply not the case. No one is ever worth telling you how much you’re worth.
Because that’s just the point – in this life, people are going to make you feel worthless sometimes. When you’re six months out of college and still haven’t found a job, you might feel pretty worthless after rejection email after rejection email floats through your inbox. When you’re twenty-six and attending the sixth wedding you’ve been to that summer and can’t seem to get even one date, you’re probably not feeling super worthy.
It’s great to have people who make you feel worthy – in fact, you should have people in your life that remind you your worth. I’m not saying you should detach yourself from all human emotion and relations. I’m actually saying the opposite. Just remember where your true worth comes from. It’s not your children, your job, your boyfriend, your anything. It doesn’t even have to do with you.
Your worth comes from a God who loved you so much, despite your shortcomings, despite your “unworthiness,” that He drank a deadly cup and died for you. He endured unimaginable pain so that you might taste grace. That worth is paramount to all else. That worth doesn’t depend on anything you do or don’t do. And it certainly won’t change with the wind.
Jesus doesn’t leave you because He’s “just not sure anymore.” Jesus doesn’t only give you attention when He’s lonely. He’s not going to move away, or disappear, or think you’re worthless because you didn’t get that six-figure job. He is your world, and He wants to be your world.
People come and go – that’s just the truth of this broken world. An unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless. But the Love of the Lord remains forever.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.