I Forgive Myself for Judging Myself
“I forgive myself for judging myself as not good enough for my mother’s God.”
As soon as the words left my lips, tears poured down my face.
I remember vividly the day I got the call that my mother had passed. I had just purchased her a Mother’s Day card. I have since learned that when the inspiration for the expression of love hits me, I better go with it and express it all out in that moment. Because unfortunately, not all moments are created equal for me in that regard (yet) and I can’t assume a future moment with that loved one.
It had been 2 years since I had last seen her, and I couldn’t honestly say that I remembered the last time I had spoken with her. That pained me.
“Please, please keep her body long enough for me to see her. How long can you delay the cremation process? I’ll be on the next flight out,” I pleaded.
They kept her body refrigerated long enough for me to arrive in town and say my final goodbyes, to express what I wished I WOULD have, to express what I wished I COULD have while she was still living. Even to hug her and kiss the face of her now lifeless body.
Oh, that was tough. To see how much she had aged; to imagine how much life she had lived in those 690 days since I had last seen her. How many trips had she made to church and to Walmart? That was her simple life. And in her Brazilian esteem for beauty (even at 70 years of age), it looked like she had freshly dyed her hair. That made me smile, actually.
In my final moments with my mom, I begged her forgiveness for not having let her love in. In my attempts to protect from the mix of pain that was always a risk to experience in our interactions, I shut out the love too. And I forgave her, as I had done many times prior, and released her.
My final parting words were a prayer, “God, may all the parts she represented as You that are not really You, may they pass with her. And may all the parts that are really You, may they stay with me.” For I knew I had allowed my mother’s view of God to limit my experience of Him.
You see, I lived with a lot of judgment that every blessing or every challenge I experienced in life was directly proportionate to how much I might be honoring God with my behavior, my choices, or how much time I spent seeking Him. My mom would eagerly point to the circumstances in my life to validate this cause and effect sequence. The core of my character was always in question, no matter my intention. I was in a constant state of proving myself. Subsequently, the deepest exposure of hurt I experienced in life was when someone would attack my character. Worsened only by their use of Scripture to back up their claims.
As a result, I did everything in my power to prove the goodness of my heart. And still I failed. Judgments loomed in every corner. By the church I was deemed “worldly.” By the world, I was deemed “sheltered and naïve.
But somehow, there was immense power in that proclamation that began “I forgive myself for judging myself….” and asking to begin a new relationship with God. These were important parts of understanding my True Self, and believing I do not have to strive to be worthy of love. Shame and guilt diminished their hold on me. Guilt is judgment of our actions and deeming them “wrong.” Shame is even deeper judgment of our core and deeming our very being as “wrong.” I now know I am not defined by my shortcomings. I finally allow myself to believe love exists for all the parts that I or others may deem “unlovely,” integrating them as equally lovable as the lovely parts.
I don’t have all the answers about God. But I will tell you this, it doesn’t matter. I am no longer impressed by someone’s intellectual understanding of God. What impacts me most are those who have the heart knowledge to go with it—a true relationship. What inspires me is the handful of people that I have met, that by their own relationship with God, by the way they live their lives and love others, by the way they speak intimately of God, my heart cries out, “I want to know God like THAT!”
Intimacy with the Divine is accessible to all of us. The beauty to be experienced is that He did all the work. I don’t have to earn it. I can simply choose to accept it. I can simply choose to open my heart to it. His love is so lavish my mind can only fathom a drop in the ocean of how immense it really is. No shame. No judgment. No guilt. Those are my own creations. Those are the creation of others who are hurting and in most cases passing on a message they heard. Not Him. He is nothing but Love. Pure, unadulterated Love.
Beautifully, tenderly, God is always pursuing our hearts. If we’ll notice our breath, it is His pursuit.
I love this by Richard Rohr, from Everything Belongs:
“[The] starting point is that we’re already there. We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another it means that God is choosing us now and now and now. We have nothing to attain or even learn. We do, however, need to unlearn some things.”
I am literally in tears as I write this– for the ones who feel as I have in the past, that they aren’t good enough for someone else’s God. It simply is not true. Even my mom, I know she still hasn’t stopped dancing now that she is immersed in the truth of grace.
This is why I am so passionate about helping people open up to the truth of who they really are and open up to the truth of Love.
May all that is not Truth pass away, and may we know the Truth of who He desires to be intimately with each of us.
Are you good enough? Let me ask you this… Are you breathing?
Loving you, ~V