When was the last time you met someone who said, “Um, can you please reject me? I mean, I really thrive and feel amazing about myself in atmospheres of rejection and hatred.”
Nope, doesn’t happen. Why? Because we were made for love.
Just turn on the radio and television for ten minutes to find out what the human heart is searching for. Our movies are centered around it, our reality shows showcase people fighting for it, and just about every pop star can’t stop singing about it. The human heart wants to be loved. In Brain Rules for Baby, Dr. John Medina describes how the ultimate environment for babies to thrive and grow is in a place of love and affection. That’s right, even science proves that our brains work best when we know that we’re loved.
I’m safe to say that because wounded people wound people, you probably didn’t get the love and affection you needed, regardless of how amazing your parents are. We’re imperfect beings in an imperfect world, and we pass on whatever has been passed on to us. When you didn’t get the love you needed, or when it was perverted and cruel, your heart endured emotional trauma. Trauma is anything that has happened where your capacity for pain exceeds your capacity for joy.
If you’re anything like me, you had a lot of trauma according to that definition.
My first memory of life outside of the home was sexual, so every time I looked in the mirror, all I could see were all the horrible things that had been done and said to me. So to make up for it, I became the queen of perfectionism, attempting to hide the shame of my past behind achievements and a perfected exterior. But no matter how hard I tried to sweep the pain under the rug, the emptiness was like a monster inside my heart, and I lived every breath to numb and escape life.
Pain was a reality stronger than love, so for years, I tried everything from drugs, alcohol and boys to overachieving, perfectionism, and food. But no matter what I did to my body, it never permanently satisfied my soul. In fact, I kept finding myself enslaved to counterfeit affections that simply put a quick bandaid over fatal heart wounds. I might have found temporary release from a food binge or a drunken stupor, but it never healed my problem.
And my problem was a heart starving for the medicine of unconditional love.
In order to ever find permanent peace and healing, each of us must realize that the drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, perfectionism, overachieving, control, eating disorders, obsessive compulsions, money, and fame we long for will never heal the pain of the past. These things might keep us distracted from the truth we carry inside, but they will always be temporary solutions to permanent problems.
For years, I felt like a tree whose branches produced baskets of bad fruit. Every time I tried to get rid of the destructive behaviors (my eating disorder, weight problem, insecurity, self-hatred, anger, control), something would always grow back in its place. In order for the fruit of my life to change, I had to go after the root. And the root system needed the unconditional love I was created for.
No matter your religious orientation, I believe and have experienced God as the personification of Unconditional Love. As amazing as my hubby is, my parents, and friends, they will never be able to fully love me unconditionally. There’s only one who I believe can do that, and that’s the God who made me. Unconditional love, at its very essence, means it’s without condition, so you can’t earn it, be good enough for it, perform for it, or lose it. You have to simply receive it.
Receiving love into the places of my deepest pain and greatest shame healed me in a way that no earthly medicine ever could. I live my life to abide under the waterfall of affection God has for me–pouring buckets of sticky-sweet unconditional love into the places I believed were unlovable. But when you’re seen and loved as you are, believe me, you change from the inside-out.
You cannot change yourself. You can only be loved into wholeness. And there’s One waiting to do just that.
Christa Black is a popular blogger, speaker, and singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by multi-platinum-selling artists Jordin Sparks and Michael W. Smith. She has toured with The Jonas Brothers, Michael W. Smith, and Israel Houghton. After years of battling depression, addiction, and a chronically broken spirit, Christa was radically shaken by a God who truly loves ugly. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and son. God Loves Ugly is her first book and corresponds with her CD, God Loves Ugly. Visit Christa’s site to learn more and read the first chapter! http://christablack.com/book/