Showing up is hard. It is so easy to make excuses. They won’t miss me. I have too much going on. I just can’t do it today.
I moved to Alabama knowing one person, the person I moved for. Over the years I made friends through work or through the yoga community. But I never felt as if I had a true community. It always felt pieced together.
But I think the truth was, I didn’t feel lovable. And in turn, I felt like these people who I had connected with would eventually leave me once they truly knew the real me.
I always felt like I would be too much for someone. My anxiety would be too much. I would be too needy. I wasn’t funny enough for them. I wasn’t pretty enough to be part of that group.
Slowly and consistently though, the same people have continued to show up. And when I tell them my fears of abandonment, they hold my hand and show me love. They continue to show up, even when I feel I don’t deserve it. They continue to save me.
The beauty of this is that I have started to believe I do deserve this unconditional love.
Not just because they have stayed around, but because I have learned to give myself grace.
I have learned to love myself the way my community loves me.
The thing is, I have to keep putting myself out there to be loved. If I choose to stay locked up inside myself, I don’t receive the same kind of love. Not because people aren’t willing to give it to me, but because I am not even giving them the opportunity to do so.
This morning at church I sat with some dear friends. But they had to leave early. And when they left I sat alone.
Before, this would have petrified me. I would have been so concerned about what that looked like to everyone; I would have thought that sitting by myself showed the world I wasn’t lovable.
Today I embraced the empty seat. I was still in the midst of my community. I could look around and see familiar faces.
Yes, the chair next to me was empty. But my heart wasn’t anymore.
God has been working hard with my heart these last 7 months. He has loved me from before I even existed. This morning I was reminded that His love will never stop. Regardless of what I do in life, He will keep loving me. I know this. But man does it help to be reminded of it.
The kind of love that God gives us is the kind of love I want to spread in the world. I want to give unconditional love to my son, my family, my friends.
I want anyone I meet to feel God’s love coming straight through me to them.
When you get married, you think you are going to experience that same kind of love, the radiating love that God gives us.
When that marriage ends, it is hard not to doubt yourself. Honestly it is hard not to doubt everything, including love.
That’s why you have to keep showing up. The more I show up to life, the more I experience love. That’s how community works.
My community loving me is what gets me through my darkest moments. My community loving me is what has truly saved me. They have showed me time and again that they love me just like God loves me. They love me in spite of flaws, in spite of my mistakes.
I believe one day I will have a spouse that loves me that way too. One day I will have a spouse that loves me way that God does, passionately and without ceasing, forever and ever, in spite of it all.
But until that love comes from a spouse, I will continue to soak in love from Owen. I will continue to love myself and love myself well. And I know my community, these people that are so very good to me, will love me endlessly. I believe that now.
The night my world changed I was with some of my community. And they have continued to love me in spite of my fear of them leaving. In fact, I believe they love me harder because of it.