What an interesting concept. “DESERVE”. I cannot help but cringe each time I hear this word thrown about. Maybe as a person who grew up feeling confused about being both entitled and unworthy, I remain disturbed by this language. Now, after nearly a decade of spiritual recovery and soul work–this is what I think I know:
All people deserve kindness, love, truth, connection. Today’s sermon focused on grace, gratitude, and service. I noticed myself physically reacting each time I heard the word “deserve”. It has been my consistent experience that those who believe in their own deserving also believe similarly in their right to punish and judge. This way of believing removes all possibility of Grace. Reflecting on the damage of the hurricane and hardships of people offered pointed reminders that good fortune no more is a symptom of personal goodness than misfortune is badness. I descend from long lines of people who are unapologetically vocal with their beliefs of what they and others do and do not deserve. To me, this thinking seems void of God and Higher Power, very selfY. It feels scary.
As I acknowledge the undeniable love of my friends, children, and Sweet Greg, I am deeply aware that they do not love me because I have earned or deserved it. They love me because loving is what they do. I feel the love of them wanting what is good and best for me, celebrating my triumphs and mourning my losses with me. Believing in why and how they love me, frees me from the myth that I(or others) earn abuse, betrayal, cruelty, or lies. People do what they do, say what they say, are how and who they are, independently of me.
The teachings of discipleship are something we will learn in church. An opportunity to be re-parented with opportunities to practice serving God and others– because. Just because, this is the life we are meant for. We are graced by this place, of like hearted people who choose to live and practice love in this way. Discipleship. Deeply entrenched in our unchurchedness, we may never fully internalize certain parts of the “Stories” of Christianity… we can still learn from the life of Jesus and witness in awe, the badassery of his fierce dedication to loving, loving the marginalized, outcast and needy, full of courage and grace, and an example worth following, better than any human ever could be.
This song is part of the weekly service and it literally grips my heart and I can barely breathe as I listen and read the words. All I ever wanted from my mother and family, and so completely the opposite of my teachings and beliefs about my place on this earth and within my family. This is truth and love. I believe. I am loved. I belong. Big space to anyone suggesting otherwise. I continue practicing forgiving, from over here. I deserve the peace that comes with letting go and forgiving and keeping myself safe from unwholesome and unkind words and deeds. I lack the resilience required to let those things roll from my back and pretend as if they are not real or hurtful. Plus, I deserve better. 100%.
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