I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
-Psalm 139:14, KJV
It was a day in the winter of 2013.
That day I awoke to the realization that I actually liked myself.
I was not full of self-loathing. No longer did I feel like I was failure. Many future questions remained unanswered but I was content with the person God had shaped me to be.
It was the start of my believing the words of the Psalmist:
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Maybe you never struggled with this?
That’s great. I am truly happy for those of you that don’t.
I would be shocked, though, to believe I was the only faithful spouse to struggle with some sort of self-hatred. Truth be told, I do have my moments where the self-debasing voices attack my worth and value. But I am less likely to join in the self-bashing as I used to.
Satan knows your vulnerabilities. Maybe he even attacked those via your (former) spouse’s own words?
-Do you wish you had less fat on your body?
Your ex said he cheated on you because you are fat.
-Do you wish you had a good job with better pay?
Your ex said she left you because you didn’t make enough.
-Do you harbor a dislike for your introversion and wished you could work a crowd easier?
Your ex said she left you because you were too quiet and dull.
These are all lies, of course, but they can easily hook into our own self-loathing or insecurities. They cause very real pain compounding the betrayals of their cheating and leaving.
My identity insecurities centered around my physically large size, my emotionalism, and my ability to provide. My ex and her family–in my opinion–attacked all three areas at some point prior to my marriage’s dissolution. Unfortunately, I lacked the emotional and spiritual development to reject their lies.
Back then, I looked to them as friends and wanted them to validate I was okay. The reality was they were my enemies in the end. And truth be told, I needed to look to God ultimately for my validation.
Let me give a specific example:
I am an emotional, passionate man. Some had spoken over me that this was a liability. It is not. I have come to see this as my biggest special gift from God.
My former father-in-law took my anger with him, especially, as a sign that I was wrong and sinful. He could not comprehend why I was so angry with him even after I told him he was wrong for sending an email to me and his daughter entitled “Divorce.” I understand now that my big, passionate heart was telling me that my boundaries were being transgressed BIG TIME by this boy-man.
Needless to say, I am very thankful for my new in-laws who are night and day better than my former ones.
As I developed as a professional chaplain, I grew to see how this emotional, empathetic part of me was what made me an especially good chaplain and pastor. It equipped me to minister in ways that someone without that gift could never do. I grew to see this as not a mark of being less of a man but a mark of a true special, perfect gift given from God to me.
Today, I have learned that those who rejected my passion as a liability tell me more about their own issues than it says anything about me.
I like that I am a big, empathetic, and introverted man.
That was really the first step I needed to take before I was ready to date and later marry Mrs. DM. I needed to like the person God had made me to be. This protected me from needing other’s validation or opinions regarding my self-worth. It meant I could reject the harmful lies said about me–including those said by my ex and her cohorts.
Make friends with yourself.
It is an investment worth making.
Our Perfect Heavenly Father only does exquisite work and only gives perfect gifts.