Friday, May 23, 2014

Examination of Motives

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, not present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
This passage has been bumping around in my head for several days, and today I encountered it again in My Sisters the Saints that I got from the library.

I know Catholics don't believe that we can "earn" salvation, but I have realized more and more that I live my life in a way which seems to say that a person must "earn" love. Every straight A, every accomplishment, every degree that I earned has been silent proof like a plea, "I am worthy of love...see?"

I don't impose those cruel standards on anyone else, just me. The past several years as I applied for one job after another leading only to rejection have thoroughly brought that unconscious belief to light as I wondered over and over again whether I was worth anything at all. Maybe I was a dull little pebble fallen into the crack of the sidewalk. I've worked through a lot of that over the years, but sometimes the niggling thought resurfaces and I have to battle it again.

Sometimes it resurfaces in a different angle which I have to address. During my life as SAHM I have battled through these feelings of worthlessness because I am not pursuing things which appear to be worldly success. I have no career, no income, dusty never-used college degrees, etc....I have just realized today that in the absence of those things, I sometimes find myself trying to "earn" my husband's love. I am more diligent about housework etc. on the weekend when he is home because I want to show him that I am not totally useless, and that I still am worthy of his love.

Several nights ago my husband said to me, "Goodnight, my sweetheart." In the days since I have broke down bawling every time I thought about it. You see, he loves me regardless of the things I do for him. I never had to do anything to earn his love, because I already had it and never lost it. All the while I have been unconsciously fretting about how to be worth it, maybe I was neglecting to shower him with the love and respect that he deserves. Maybe I was not really allowing him to love me, given my belief that I wasn't worthy of such love. It was also a glimpse of the way tha God loves me.

God finally got it through my hard head that I need to be doing my work to love my daughter and to love my husband absent of a desire to earn their love back. I need to keep a beady eye on my motives and do everything for the sake of outward-focused, humble love.

Another line which landed on me like a punch in the stomach, also from My Sisters the Saints, "I marveled at how stealthily God works in the soul, one day and one trial at a time."

Apt, very apt.

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