I have not been a religious person over the last ten years, nor did I have a very religious upbringing. I fell into a crowd of religious teens during my teenage years, but swiftly denounced much of that after witnessing what I felt was a lot of hypocrisy and hate. Plus, I went to college, and became “too smart for that.”
I’m learning my journey back to religion isn’t very unique. No…many, many people follow a similar path and, when they find that they can no longer walk the hard journey of life alone, they seek something more.
That is what I did. About 6 months ago, in the midst of yet more struggles, I decided I needed to try giving some of my pain–my hardship–to someone bigger than myself. Someone who could, I hoped, give me some comfort.
I’m not totally there, even now. But here is what I know–my church is one of the safest, most welcoming places. It is a place where I really have been able to just be ME–it is okay to share what I really believe. It is okay to not know WHAT to believe! And, they are open-minded and accepting…which is so important to me.
In the church there are seasons. Today is Ash Wednesday, which kicks of the season of Lent. I have never chosen to give up anything for Lent before (and giving something up is not at all “required”) but I have been pulled in by the thought that Lent is meant to be a time of mindfulness and meditation.
A time to re-focus.
Let’s face it. I have been struggling lately. Badly. If anyone is in need of a time to re-focus, it is me.
My goal, during this Lenten season is to try to fill the emptiness inside of me–the loneliness that is so quick to haunt me during the quiet hours of the night–with kindness, self-love, and forgiveness.
This will mean more prayer. More meditation. More calm.
But it will also mean that I will have to firmly challenge–once again–that belief that I am unlovable.
After all, if I am unlovable, how could I love myself?
And, as much as I hate to admit it, because I know better, I also know that so much of my recent struggles stem from my feelings of unworthiness. I feel unworthy of love, unworthy of true, deep friendship, unworthy of peace.
I know the next forty days will be challenging. I know that there will be many times where I fail, and fall back into old, self-critical habits.
But, I also know that I am always a person who is full of hope. And I will use that hope to keep propelling my growth forward.
Someday, I will feel worthy.