This morning I woke up with the sunrise to meet Becky at our favorite local coffee spot before she headed to work. This is a regular ritual we’ve shared since I met her during my sophomore year of high school. She was leading a small group that a friend brought me to one evening. When I started dating a guy who volunteered in the ministry she coordinated, our paths crossed more frequently which eventually led to a close friendship.
And when that guy broke my heart a few months later, Becky’s counsel changed my life. The break-up was my first, and I was very in love (rightly so, he was a great guy). But the disappointment brought out all my insecurities, and I went to her time and time again with sighs of regret and questions about what I should have done differently. I felt rejected and unlovable, and I wanted Becky to tell me who I had to become so he would fall in love with me again.
She addressed my inquiries with love, an overwhelming amount of love. Becky told me that I deserved to be with someone who wanted to be with me, who did love me, and who did so without convincing. It is what’s best for both parties. I wish every impressionable sixteen year old girl had a mentor to tell her this upon her first broken heart. Even then, it took me a long time to believe Becky’s wise message.
Becky said my lovablity was not contingent on whether this guy–or any guy–loved me, which made me consider what my life would be like if I actually lived like that: not chasing the love of others, but standing strong in the goodness and lovablity that I innately possess as a child of God. Overtime her message sank in, and it changed the way I lived my life. A benefit to my own romantic life, I simply didn’t put up with many of the unhealthy habits I witnessed in the relationships of my friends. What’s more, whether I was dating or not, I became more confident and more generous and bold in my love for others because I was focused on the love and goodness I had rather than the love I lacked and wanted from them. I became a person of gratitude and abundance rather than envy.
I think I believed Becky’s words because they are true, yes, but more so because she lived out her message in my life. Through her time and words, Becky loved me. She has always voiced her grand hopes for my life out of a confidence in the goodness she sees in me. Becky loved me, and she kept insisting that I love myself, and somewhere along the way I conceded, and I am so grateful.
Sometimes I still need to be told that I am absolutely lovable because there are still moments in life when I’m not convinced. It it so easy to take rejection personally, and to blame my shortcomings when life brings disappointment. But Becky is always there to remind me of God’s love, like she did this morning. I drove away from our coffee date a little more convinced of it.
I also drove away wondering whether I do enough to convince my other friends of it too. Do I love others in a way that reminds them that they are absolutely positively lovable, and ultimately, loved by God, and by me? Do my words and actions enable others to stand confident in who they are?