“I can’t tell you just how wonderful she is. I don’t want you to know. I don’t want anyone to know.”
-F.Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
I had a weird dream this week that prompted me to ask this question of someone close to me: Do you like me?
That’s a question that’s hard to ask. I did it on the phone but I felt more like doing a little George Strait “Check yes or no” note. I was especially sorry to have asked when I received an answer that was both unexpected and disappointing. “Yes,” she said. “But, even if I didn’t, I love you, and isn’t that better?”
“But even if I didn’t?” – Maybe it was strictly hypothetical; I doubt it. I understand love and when it exists without like it is more an obligation than anything. That’s not the answer I was hoping for. That’s not the love I was expecting.
I was predisposed to believe, in this case particularly, that the answer might not be an unequivocal yes. What I did expect was a kind lie. The brutal truth was harsh and cold, a slap to my sensitive face. I questioned how I could appeal as a friend to other people when my own family finds me unlikable.
This came after a particularly nasty exchange with an in law who called me names and was unkind – viciously so. I didn’t deserve their vitriol and I didn’t accept their characterization of me. I did worry though that others might. What if I’m kind of unlikable and this person makes it even easier for people to stop trying?
Then, I took a xanax and told myself that my anti-depressant dosage is changing and any adjustment to my meds is likely to magnify my insecurity.
I’d like to say that my “help came from the Lord” – and it did, if we consider that His perfect plan included my own version of mother’s little helper.
But once I’d settled down emotionally I spent some time reminding myself that my worth doesn’t come from my family. It doesn’t come from my friends, or even from a count of how many friends I have. The size of my community doesn’t represent my value. My worth comes from the Lord (I’ve been singing this to the tune of “Praise You in this Storm” for a week now). My worth is as a daughter of the King. I stumbled upon this post and I highly recommend it. It’s far more eloquent than my own with a much more visual illustration.
I also had a timely post from Ann Voskamp pop in my facebook feed today where she lovingly reminded me that God created me as a unique woman – that no one else can be me, no one else can fulfill my purpose. Being someone else is as being someone who does not exist at all. I will be uncomfortable and without purpose that way. He created me with all my awkward flaws and and my imperfect edges. And yet, He loves me with a perfect love. He surrounds me with people who are able to see that worth through my terrible jokes and inappropriate irreverence. He created F. Scott Fitzgerald to write “This Side of Paradise” and this line: “I can’t tell you just how wonderful she is. I don’t want you to know. I don’t want anyone to know.”
I want to be that woman. I don’t want anyone to see the work of my hands but Him. If my worth here on earth can’t be valued by humankind, that’s ok. I know my worth and I know my motive. And I know that He knows. So I need to stop dwelling in the place where the opinions of others influence my sense of worth. I need to stop assuming everyone waits for me to walk away before letting the fun begin. I need to recognize that I am perfectly me, which no one else is qualified to be.
And I can’t wait to be welcomed into Beulah with His open arms saying “I like you, very much, just as you are”. Because really, that’s what every woman wants to hear.
“You are precious and honored in my sight…” (Isaiah 43:4a, NIV)