The fact is I was walking around like a shadow of my former self, only realizing a fraction of my potential, and lacking that one defining element that will allow me to lead a productive life: Wholeness. When I talk about being whole, while it may mean different things to different people, there are certain essential qualities, certain near absolute truths that are associated with this condition I call wholeness. The essential elements of wholeness are as follows:
• Acceptance of My Personal Self Worth
• Acceptance of My Limitations
Acceptance of My Personal Self Worth
I often would ask myself: do I like myself? In order to be whole, I had to be able to like me. I had to come to the realization that I was not defined by my mistakes. Many years ago, I recall a conversation I had with a mentor. It was at time I kind of knew I had great potential, was level-headed, yet still somewhat naive. But this particular occasion, I was at breaking point in my life and needed someone to talk to. I had talked myself into thinking I was worthless, and for eight months in a relationship that had gotten me off track in my walk with God. I was angry at God because of a hurtful situation I had endured, and I blamed God for the way things turned out. This was a seemingly dark time in my life, and I adopted a rebellious lifestyle that resulted in me becoming pregnant.
During our conversation, I told my mentor I wished I could go back and change things, but I knew I could not. I asked God to forgive me, and as tears rolled down my face, I said, “I know He does, yet I cannot forgive myself." You see, I had an abortion after I became pregnant, and the guilt weighed heavily on my soul for years. I was so far from God at the time that I did not realize what I was doing was wrong. It became difficult for me to accept God’s forgiveness, because I was listening to the voice of the enemy rather than the voice of God. Even though the Holy Spirit was still trying to speak to me, I was so far gone, I chose not to listen. In my mind, it was easier for someone new to come to Christ than someone who was already a Christian and who had turned away from God. So the question I asked her, how can I forgive myself?
I don’t think I was alone in my struggle to forgive myself; the enemy has his ugly fingerprints all over situations like this one. The enemy knows that God forgave us the moment we asked. While he cannot do anything about that, he can keep reminding us of the sin and keep us from feeling forgiven. As long as you and I continue to feel condemned, Satan’s lies can hold us back from walking in the freedom God has so graciously given. I was encouraged to embrace God’s promise of forgiveness through this powerful scripture which contained in Romans 8:1, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. “(NLT).
At the end of our conversation, she took out a mirror and asked me what I saw. Immediately, I began to weep even harder and turned away from the mirror. I admitted I could not look into the mirror because of the shame of what I had done. She embraced me with a long hug as I wept even more so. This moment seemed like lifetime of tears that were bottled up and someone took off the top pour the contents out. Afterwards, she let me know that God loves me so much and that He wants me to forgive myself right NOW.
Now when I look at myself in the mirror, I recognize that since God loved me at my worst, then it is okay for me to love myself, especially now that I am trying to improve myself. Rather than feel shame at what I had done, I now take pride in the fact that I survived it, and that I am trying to put as much distance as I can between me and my sinful past. Part of wholeness is embracing who I am: I don’t celebrate the bad, but I am now elevated by the fact that I survived it and have moved on.
Acceptance of My Limitations
When I realized I have value as a person, just by the mere fact that God created me and loves me, there is a temptation to begin questioning why: I know I have value to Him, but what is it about me that is worthy of His love? You see, it is at that point, my sisters, where I started looking at my talents and personal qualities in an effort to justify God’s love for me. Guess what? I was looking for a mighty long time to find justification. I had to tell myself – “look woman just accept His love and move on”.
Assessing my skills is still an essential exercise, because it helps me to acknowledge my limitations. While I know I was created in His image, I am not blessed with the same talents as other women. I had to remember how Moses told God that he was not a good speaker so he did not want to confront Pharaoh. Well, God’s answer was even more telling. He said to Moses that yes, He knew, and that He, God, would be putting the words in his mouth that Moses should speak. When Moses still rejected the idea, God said okay, I will let your brother Aaron do the talking for you.
You see, God knows that He did not create me with the same abilities as other women, and He did that for several reasons: (1) So that I would depend on them; (2) That in needing others, it would deepen my humility. (3) So that I would depend on Him. I think of this way, supposed I thought I knew everything, needed no one, and felt that I did not need to depend on God? I would be a “hot mess” all alone.
Accepting my limitations is part of accepting myself for who I am. Even though I may not have the capacity to become a doctor, lawyer or an astronaut, I love my life today. I understand that God created me because I have something unique that He needs from me to help further His Kingdom. I encourage many women as yourself to understand you are created by design. God does not call only the qualified, He qualifies all those whom He calls.
I recently went to a department store and the words of a birthday card left such an impression on me that I want to sow these words into your spirits as words of encouragement:
"Always remember, when God made you He did so with a purpose and a plan. He saw all your days before you lived one of them and placed over you the covering of His protective love. He allowed nothing to come into your life that has not first been screened through that love. His hand has remained upon you to this very day. He calls you by name. You are his beloved child…the apple of his eye…the delight of His heart. Today you are in the exact place he wants you to be, and tomorrow he will be with you as He has always been –In goodness, in kindness, in faithfulness" ~Roy Lessin
Today, I so appreciate my life and this road to recovery through the healing power of God. It is rewarding to see through this acceptance of who I am and what I am worth, I have help so many women through my testimony I come in contact with. Although my life is not perfect, but I can say today I am so happy because I serve a perfect God.
In keeping with Identity’s mission of ‘Accept, Appreciate, Achieve’ below are some questions, known as the Identity Five:
1. What have you accepted in your life that took time?
I have accepted that I cannot control how people think, their words, deed or actions. Nor can I control the outcome of my situations and circumstances. But, I can control my thoughts, words, deeds and actions. By evaluating and taking responsibility on how I respond to people and the outcome of my situations or circumstances.
2. What do you appreciate the most in your life?
I appreciate most in my life, my son, Michael Lopez. I am so proud of the young man he as become, second-year college student and fulfilling his purpose.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life?
One of my most rewarding achievements in life is one received recently. I was recognized as 2010 Most Influential Women in the Country #20 by Silken Dress Magazine. A magazine with over 54,000 readers internationally.
4. What is your not so perfect way?
I would say my not-so-perfect way would be working on technology. I recently received an IPhone and I am learning the different apps on the phone. However, I have text messaging, emails, and social medias connected with this one phone. The problem is keeping up with them all without deleting!
5. How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…”?
I love my purpose to inspire and encourage women to the reality of God's love for them.
This article was featured in Identity Magazine February 2011 Issue.