We’re Not Worthy! We’re Not Worthy!
Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.
True story. Last week near the end of a busy day, after a series busy, intense days and weeks, we received some great news, news we had waited for, for months. We decided that it deserved a celebration, so we went out to dinner to reflect on our good news and to enjoy the moment together. But about 40 minutes into dinner a question was asked between us and a response was given that suddenly and shockingly turned joy into an intense moment of tension. It became uncomfortable for both of us, painful even. And because of time and other commitments we each needed to keep, we couldn’t resolve the issue or alleviate the tension right there and then. We each spent an agonizing night and day following that unresolved conversation, until we could get together face to face again, with enough time to talk through what had happened that night at dinner.
When we did come together we set aside as much time as we needed to talk and to resolve what each of us were feeling. It actually took several hours and led, ultimately, to one the most important, significant, intimate conversations we’ve ever had. We discussed how we each react when confronted with uncomfortable questions and uncomfortable answers, how we sometimes might differ in our perceptions and approaches to handling conflict and intense conversations. We learned a lot about one another that day, as well as ourselves, as we explored our feelings and talked. As similar as we are in so many ways, like any two people, especially those who spend a great amount of time working and sharing together, we are still unique individuals with unique experiences, temperaments and sensitivities. In the end, this was a conversation that only strengthened our relationship and reaffirmed how deeply we value it, how much we love working together, how very proud we are of it. That conversation was one of the best we have ever had.
What we learned from that discomfort that led to that conversation was that, ultimately, we both were struggling to feel worthy of receiving love – each other’s love – and surely anyone else’s, as well.
We all have times in which we doubt that we are worthy of receiving love and the acceptance and respect of others. We came to see that we were doing that with each other – doubting our own acceptance.
The classic Saturday Night Live sketch’s in the 1990’s, featuring best friends Wayne and Garth, played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, humorously highlighted that insecurity in all of us. In scene after scene they chanted,
We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!
Their massive “teenage” insecurities, usually about not being attractive enough, cool enough or men enough to interest the girls they fancied for themselves, were always played for laughs. But underneath the jokes was a universal and knowing understanding that nearly all of us have had at times – that we are not attractive enough, cool enough or men or women enough, either.
Why is it so hard for us to feel loved?
Why do we feel so unworthy so much of the time?
Why is it so difficult for us to accept or receive the generosity, grace, and goodness of others? Why do we need to be constantly reassured that we are cared for and appreciated for who we are?
What really happens when we can’t love ourselves, when we feel as if we are not ever good enough?
Those feelings shape every relationship that we have. They affect the ways we love – respect, treat, interact with – others. That affect is always one that is negative, hampering and coloring our relationships and complicating them needlessly. It is evidenced in the ways in which we react defensively to others’ comments or when we make harsh and unfair judgments and are critical of others. It is seen in the walls we put up between ourselves and others and in the fear we often have about sharing from our hearts, because we do not trust that others really care enough about us to listen and accept us. We are incredibly insecure people at times and we question so often the motives of others, everything they do.
What brings that out in us?
From where does this lack of self-confidence and self-worth come?
So often it is because we received a lack of unconditional love when we need it most or during especially formative times. We often have the view that we are far worse than we actually are, undeserving, flawed human beings. We project onto others our own insecurities, baggage and brokenness. We hold on to bitterness because of the slights and disrespect we perceive we have received. We allow far too much resentment to thrive within us and allow it to poison our perceptions, spirits and souls.
We had to remind each other last week that there is nothing we could do or say that would make us unworthy of receiving one another’s grace and love. Even when we disagree or see something differently we were reassured that we are on this journey together and differences will not pull us apart. In fact, our unique ways of seeing and responding to the world around us need to be celebrated and affirmed. We are actually stronger for the different gifts we both bring to this partnership, this friendship. They enhance our mission and our relationship just as much as the many things we share in common.
We need to have this understanding in every one of our relationships. We need to feel secure enough to know that there is nothing that need keep us from giving love to others even when they are difficult or hard to understand.
It’s about grace – for ourselves and for one another. It’s about the most difficult concept to understand, because it’s so radical and undeveloped among us all. But it’s the most wonderful gift we can give – to one another and to ourselves.
We are worthy. All of us. We all deserve that grace, that gift of unconditional love.