"Loves attention. Seeks to please. Funny. Extremely loyal to a fault. Good girl."
Sounds like a single's advertisement on a dating site doesn't it? Or better yet (or worse), the description for a dog on a rescue organization's web gallery. The sad thing is, this would be the description of me from about age 8 until age 30. And if I'm not extremely careful, this "ad" sometimes describes me now. While the ad sounds benign enough, it's dangerous and can lead to some sorry situations.
Growing up with a pretty low sense of self worth and a skewed view of my world led me to seek the attention of people by way of humor (think: class clown) and the giving away of my time, money and most tragically, my heart to people who really didn't care about me one bit. All of the arm-chair psychologists out there would say I must have had an absent father or an overbearing mother. No, not at all. They might say I had a horrible upbringing or I refuse to acknowledge how my parents failed me miserably. No, again. My parents weren't perfect but I really had (and have) supporting, loving parents who did their best to lead me and guide me. They did all the right things, took me to church and told me I was smart, pretty or talented. It's not their fault.
The problem wasn't my earthly father or mother. I did not know my Heavenly Father. I did not know the truth of the Bible. Yes, I was a Sunday school superstar and youth group groupie. But somehow, God's word never entered my heart as His personal declaration towards me. Perhaps the knowledge that He thinks good thoughts toward me (Jeremiah 29:11) , or that He loves me so much he covers me with His wings (Psalm 17 and 91) or that I am considered an heiress to the riches of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:4) would have caused to me to behave a little differently.
I might not have kept friends who didn't care for me or have done things to make those people happy that I knew were wrong. Maybe I wouldn't have spent time with a guy who treated me like trash. Perhaps I would have left the job where I was overworked and undervalued a little sooner. Knowing your worth and value in God's eyes is a game changer and confidence builder.
Like I said before, if I'm not careful, I slip right back into the kid version of myself. It's like a default setting of some sort. In my adult life, I've let other women devalue me and walk all over me and my children because I sought their approval and attention because I was ignoring God's best for me. Somehow, we are seduced by the offerings of people and things set before us and we suffer from spiritual amnesia.
There is a beautifully written want ad for our hearts. It's not three lines or a short paragraph and it won't fit in one website listing. It's 66 books and my copy is 1,340 pages long. Sometimes, it's hard to understand and I need help figuring it out. But what I have learned in the last decade of my life is that God wrote a beautiful want ad for our hearts. From Genesis to Revelation, He's inviting us to feast with Him and to know his everlasting love (Psalm 103). That's better than a crummy dinner or a short-lived romance.
If you don't know where to start or how to begin unraveling the want ad of God, meditate on these few verses::
1 John 4:17-19
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
No need to live in fear, but live in quiet, confidence. He loves you and He wants you.