In one of her darkest moments, she shared her pain, words spoken that have steered the course of her life, “I wish I never had you!”
She was conceived in a time of broken painful relationship between her mother and father. Her birth was not looked forward to or desired. Rather, it meant more hardship in an already hard situation. Who she would be or what she would become was not lovingly anticipated while she was being carried and birthed. Love was not the reason she came to be. As she grew, the little girl who needed to know that she was loved and adored only knew the pain of a broken mum and dad. She was in the way – the “I wish I never had you” way, of her parents negotiating their own personal pain.
Everything that God had spoken and given to Eve was foreign in my girlfriend’s world.
Truths like loved and treasured, sought out and cherished, delighted in and desired – the things Eve knew, knew in her soul – were unknown to my friend’s heart. She had heard only “I wish I never had you” and so she knew only “unwanted”. Hearing these words as a child formed and grew a lie inside, it became her ‘truth’. She believes this to be true about herself – “I am unwanted” – and lives with it at the core of her being. While Eve felt valued and treasured in her reality, my girlfriend’s reality was simply and painfully, “I wish I never had you”.
While I was still quite young, I remember my mother telling me that she had prayed for another little girl. She already had 2 boys and a girl (my brothers and sister) but she had wanted a friend for my sister, so she prayed to God – and she got me. How this affects the psyche of me. I was wanted. I was prayed for. I was the answer to my mother’s prayer. To know I was desired counts for so much of the way I think of myself. I was wanted. My girlfriend was not. I do not fight the demons of depression and anxiety that she does. It’s not that my girlfriend has never been loved, cared for, or had interest shown towards her, but it is in a broken-people-hurt-each-other, kind of way, and the lie had already taken root.
Much of the way we think and feel is determined by our childhood experiences. Words said that speak to our value, either bring life to us or deeply wound us.
Eve lived in love. She knew her ‘being’ was perfectly loved. The fact that she existed was loved. ‘Loved’ permeated every part of her, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Hers was a foundation of ‘loved’ from where she lived her life every moment of every day. There were no haunting words, there was no deep festering hurt felt, and there was no having to seek out her worth – like is true in our lives. At least not until she fell. Only then did she come to know the reality we have only ever known.
From infancy words spoken, or left unspoken, from things implied, done, or not done, have the lies we believe been formed, and with them pain, confusion, and fear. We build our lives trying to avoid the pain they produce, or to fight fiercely against it. Where ‘loved’ permeated every part of Eve’s life, fear and hurt have permeated ours. The things we do and feel, come from these lies. If we have been told we are a bother, we give our energy to building a life where we will not be a bother. If we have been abandoned, we give our energy to protecting ourselves against those things that make us feel alone. Having been told, “I wish I never had you” led my girlfriend to avoid the deep ache inside of “unwanted”.
It is easy to identify this when you know her story. The things she does to make her feel enough, including buying into that age-old lie, “pleasing to the eye”. “Unwanted” makes her do things to seek the answer to those haunting questions, Am I lovely? What can I do to make you want me? How long will you stick around? The way she dresses, her actions, her emotions, all reveal the pain of having been told, “I wish I never had you”. Others look on and see her as fun, full of life, confident, gorgeous, but I know the ache inside. Though these things are her personality true enough, they are also her façade.
The few times she has found ‘love’, she has clung to it so fiercely, longing for them to speak the words her soul needs to hear, for someone to relieve the pain of her being, and to say, “I want you”. But holding on so tight has driven them away. They couldn’t live with her being so needy of them. It made them feel caged in. They couldn’t be what she wanted them to be. “Love should not be so needy”. It trapped them. It broke her. It reinforced her lies that all she would ever be is “unwanted”.
“Why continue living if nobody wants me?”
I’d talk to her when she was alone, darkness filling her thoughts, cutting to relieve the pain. We talked about Love, but she could only see aloneness. Nobody wanted her. Nobody could meet that desperate soul need she had.
We have our own versions of this story, some not as painful as hers, others more so. The lies have been spoken and heard in different ways. But whichever way they have been formed, these lies attack our value.
They cause us to build protective walls to shelter us from further hurt. We adopt coping mechanisms, and we live with insecurities that incapacitate us. Internally, we are like an unstable dwelling, a house built on a ruined, unsteady, crack-filled foundation of lies. And lives, whose foundations are built on ruin, are lives that fall apart and collapse when hard stuff hits.
We require a rebuild that only Love can do. A new foundation. It is the greatest emotional need we have.
Imagine being so loved that every thought and feeling and action came from this knowledge in the depth of our being.
It is what our hearts cry out for. To be loved deep, deep within. To know that our being is loved.
O God, today, once again I feel the pain of humanity ruined by broken love – and once again I feel the ache of Perfect Love wanting to be given, but not able to be received. We have found ourselves in an oxymoronic state of being. We desire love, but we push it away. We need love, but we cannot accept it. We are desperate to have someone love us and yet we are fearful of it. Your love – Perfect Love – cannot be received. It threatens us because we mistake Your love, God, as if it were just like man’s. We think You will abandon us like others have. We believe You don’t want us because others haven’t wanted us. Though our hearts were designed for Your love, it is intimidating and dangerous because of what we have known and experienced of human love, and we will do everything possible to protect and defend ourselves. We need love but we cry out, “Don’t you dare love me!” We have been hurt, and our walls are high.
What if…what if my girlfriend could know and rebuild her life on “wanted”, “cherished”, “delighted in”, “treasured”, “desired”? What if it could become her new truth? What if there was a Love so great, so true, unlike man’s love, that could dismantle the protective walls and the faulty, cracked-filled foundation of lies that is her life? Is it even possible?
God, You would shout an emphatic, “Yes! Yes, I love her with a perfect love that can meet her deepest need. Yes, I desire her. Yes, I treasure her…”
You tell a story of 2 men, 2 lives, 2 different foundations – one of truth and one of lies – and You say, “listen, I will show you…A foolish man built his house on the sand…”
Continued in next week’s blog…