Had a wee bit of a financial setback when the Spousal Unit's car blew up. Say hello to a new head gasket and goodbye to...well, a good chunk of change. It isn't like we haven't been here before but, still, there was that bit of holding my breath and waiting for the next shoe to drop as had been happening pretty regularly over the past few years. Sometimes it's a lot more work to remember my brain needs to be more on the "God has provided and will continue to provide" side of things and less on the Chicken Little in the back of my brain yearning to break free and declare DOOOOOOOOOM.
and that tends to make the Darth Vader voice start sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. It's a vicious cycle, I tells ya!)
The first semester of grad school is going pretty well from what I can see to date. I got my first assignments back and received an A- and a B+, which was where the old messages hit the fan. I can be somewhat hard on myself although I've improved over the years and, while I was bummed they weren't both A's, I was pleased that I'd navigated the assignments well enough to get good grades and I can see where I can improve.
Where I really got smacked in the face was when I talked to my mom. I try to call her regularly and was just chatting with her about school and told her I'd received my grades. She asked what they were and I told her. Her immediate comment was "Well, there is always room for improvement."
Cue me getting smacked upside the head with the Two-by-Four of My Childhood. In my family, it was always time for comparison shopping and I usually came out on the losing end whether it was me being compared to my brother, to other kids of my parent's friends, about my weight, or...pick anything. Through much of my life, I have never been good enough. There has always been something "wrong" with me and my family has been only too happy to tell me what it is - sometimes in excruciating detail.
What's the upshot of all that, er, feedback? God became a performance-based God. Love was conditional, based on how close I was able to come to the standard someone else believed I should aspire to. It took me years to work my way out of that and to understand that God loves me regardless of what grades I get, what my weight is, or how often I mess something up. I mean, yes, there are rules and I don't get to tiptoe through the daisies while setting off nuclear warheads a la Lyndon Johnson's famous commercial...
But. But God loves me and sees me as someone of worth to the point He came to Earth and died an excruciating, humiliating death to take away the need for a relationship based on performance, on law while daily running the risk that I (or any of us) could decide, eh, this is too much trouble and just turn our backs. And, like the prodigal son, if I did turn away and then come back, there wouldn't be any recriminations or lectures. It wouldn't matter what I'd done. He would throw a party.
So I sat in my chair after hanging up with my mom and thought about all that and I remembered a friend back from my old church. It was shortly before we moved and they had prayed for me in the service. As we were walking back to our seats, she said something (I don't remember what) in a teasing tone and I jokingly responded with "God likes me." Her response was. "He likes you a lot."
Yes. Yes, He does.