Most of you know that I’m a preacher’s kid. Yes, I’m thirty-five years old, but as my Dad likes to remind me often, I will always be his kid.
But really, being a preacher’s kid isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly good at. There are two kinds of preachers’ kids. There are the devout, oh-so-holy preachers’ kids that practically have halos and wings. They’re the ones that by the time they’re walking and talking, they also know how to play the piano and guitar, write worship songs in their sleep, and have entire books of the Bible memorized. They teach Sunday school, volunteer in the nursery, and organize potluck dinners before they’re old enough to shave. They go on to Bible college and then become pastors—or pastor’s wives—and breed another generation of perfect preachers’ kids. And then, there are the infamous rebellious preacher’s kids that drink, smoke, and swear, have spent time in jail, have multiple tattoos, and probably a child or two before they’re married. Instead of going to Bible college, they end up in rehab or prison. And as hard as I tried to fit into both categories at one time or another, I never made it into either one.
I love to please people. And I also love to please God. And I’m convinced that the only way to do it is to work myself to death to make it happen. I guess that’s why I tried so hard to be the perfect preacher’s kid. I tried to do all of the right things, but because I was a human and not a robot, I always fell short. I would watch other pastors’ daughters that I knew, and they seemed so smart and beautiful and accomplished and perfect. And I would look at myself and only see my mistakes and my failings. (I still do this—just in other areas.)
Brennan Manning says, “If we continue to view ourselves as moral lepers and spiritual failures, if our lives are shadowed by low self-esteem, shame, remorse, unhealthy guilt, and self-hatred, we reject the teaching of Jesus and cling to our negative self-image.” (Manning, 78)
I know what it means to be rejected and to feel rejected, and the last thing I ever want to do is reject Jesus. But each time I fixate on things in my life that I perceive as negative, that’s exactly what I do. He has forgiven me. He sees me as clean and unblemished. Somehow, I have to find the means to see myself the same way.
I haven’t quite figured this out yet. But I think that the first step is to start discriminating between the voices in my head. To slap down the lies and seek out the truths.
St. Augustine said that in loving me, God made me lovable. Today, I choose to focus on believing that truth.
This post is part of a weekly book discussion that my friend, Jason Stasyszen and I are co-facilitating on Brennan Manning’s book “The Furious Longing of God.” You don’t have to read the book to participate in the discussion. If you did write a response to this week’s chapter, please feel free to link up your post in the widget below. And make sure you go by Jason’s and see what he has to say.