Editor’s Note: Today’s story is by Tara Madrigal, a writer and blogger from Ft. Worth, Texas. You can follow her at journey at her blog HERE. Want to stay up to date with all things Prodigal? You can have daily posts sent to your inbox. Subscribe now!
When I was in the fourth grade I had the biggest crush on Alex. He was smart. He was funny. He was cute. And I was fairly certain he was going to be my first boyfriend.
Only, it didn’t happen like it does in the Disney movies. Actually I’m pretty sure Alex never even knew I liked him.
See, I told one of my classmates — a girl I was trying to befriend — about my “Alex+Tara sitting in a tree” fantasy and was met with ridicule, laughter, and a straight-up “you must be crazy, because there is no way a boy like Alex likes a girl like you” answer.
And I believed her.
She is right, after all, I thought to myself.
I am way too tall (in 4th grade I was already the tallest girl in my class and maybe even the tallest person in my class). I’m awkward. I’m at least a month behind on the “right” clothes. I would rather be reading a book than just about anything else.
Last week I sneezed and farted at the same time and Jason announced it to the whole class.
I’m just not the kind of girl boys like.
I bought the lie that I would never be loved by any guy just the way I was.
This was the first of many lies I would allow to define my identity. Another major lie I believed was I would only be lovable if I did the right things.
I sought the approval of my parents, teachers, and church leadership by being the “good” girl. I followed the rules (mostly). I turned in my homework. I did well on tests. I was heavily involved in the youth group and church choir. I was lovable because of all the lovable things I did.
That is, of course, until these two lies collided during my divorce.
The guy who was supposed to love me unconditionally decided I wasn’t worth the effort. Divorce was about the “worst” thing I could do, right up there with clubbing baby seals. No guy was ever going to love me enough to put up with me. And I was no longer the “good” girl who was worthy of being loved.
Its hard not to believe the lies you’ve been told when it seems like they’re being confirmed.
To this day I still struggle with these two lies in my walk with Christ. There are days when it seems impossible for me to believe that God would really truly love me just as I am, especially after all the horrible things I’ve done and the life I lived in absolute rebellion.
This is immediately followed by a need to prove my worth by doing all the “right” things. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But, when I believe these lies, I place myself above God. I judge. I sentence. I condemn. I minimize the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I spit in the face of my Savior and say:
“Your condemnation, your humiliation, your torture, your bloodied body, your nail-pierced hands and feet, your ridicule, your separation from your Father, your death wasn’t big enough for me.”
In order to talk myself out of the lies, I have to start telling myself the truth again.
I am the reason Jesus had to die. I am loved.
My sins nailed him to the cross 2000 years ago. I am loved.
He died for me before I even existed. I am loved.
And he died so I would be free. I am loved.
So I would be forgiven. I am loved.
So God would look on me and see the righteousness of his perfect son. I am loved.
So I would not have to live in a spirit of condemnation. I am loved.
This is my identity. This is the truth of who I am in Christ.