Written for Confirmation Retreat 2012
A recurring struggle I’ve always had in my life is being OK when people don’t like me or are unhappy with me. Whenever I hear or receive criticism, whether valid or invalid, I feel rejected and hurt. When the person who is unhappy with me is someone that I love or someone whom I have tried very hard to be nice to, I feel frustrated, helpless, angry and upset. I begin to feel that there must be something wrong with me. Why else would others be unhappy with me when I am already doing my best to be kind and loving?
I struggled with this problem when I was in primary school. I struggled with it in secondary school. I struggled with it in university. Sometimes I tried to change my behaviour into what I thought others wanted from me. But that just made me more unhappy because it wasn’t “me”, and people were not necessarily pleased with that either. Even now, at 33 years old, it is still not easy for me not to be liked! (I have a feeling it will still be case when I’m 60 years old… if I live that long. :P)
But… Although I still continue with this painful struggle, in spite of me feeling hurt and discouraged and insecure about myself when I feel judged by others, God makes everything different for me.
Throughout all this time of growing up, my relationship with God has been growing too. He always tells me, “Ann, I love you just the way I made you.” “Why do you think you have to be perfect in order to be lovable? I love you SO MUCH even with all your mistakes and flaws… why, without your flaws, you wouldn’t be you! And I love YOU!” “Ann, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be afraid of offending others. Keep trusting me to guide you. I will never forsake you.” “Don’t be afraid of pain and suffering, my dearest Ann. Some of the best gifts I have for you are hidden in the most difficult lessons.”
I am slowly but surely learning to accept that if I live the life God created me to live, there will be people who are happy with me, there will be people who are unhappy with me (or even hate me!), and there will be people who really don’t care much about me. But I am loved SO MUCH by God. God’s love really is the deepest and greatest kind of love. He loves in a way no human person can love. His love is unconditional and constant. And He is ALWAYS there for me.
As I let God love me, I have come to find that I love Him deeply too. He is my First Love, and my deepest love. And it is this love I have now, sustained in His love for me, that makes me able to love Him and follow Him, no matter how hard the road gets, or how dark the night is. There is truly NONE like Him.
“Do not be afraid.
I am with you.
I love you.
You are mine.”