Lies I have believed: Love is only for the perfect.
Good things happen to good people.
Bad things happen to bad people.
I must be good enough to make bad things not happen to me.
If bad things happen, it's because I'm a bad person.
If bad things happen, then I'm a bad person, and God does not love me.
Once the bad things start happening, all is lost.
I should be ashamed of myself.
I can never be good enough to be loved.
I had better pretend to be perfect.
I need to make sure everybody else is being perfect.
If they aren't perfect, I need to judge them as much as possible.
I still feel ashamed of myself, but now I'm distracted by the other 6.9999999 billion people in the world, whose cumulative badness outweighs mine.
(And that, my friends, is how perfectionism takes you down the straight and narrow path to perdition. Been, done, t-shirt. Anybody else?)
But the truth is:
Love is a gift.
Love is for all of us.
Good things happen to everybody, because God's love is for everybody.
Bad things happen to everybody, because the world is broken. (God's working on it.)
When good things happen, love holds me.
When bad things happen, love holds me.
God loves me, so I don't have to be ashamed of myself.
God loves me, so I don't have to be worried about perfection.
God loves other people, even when they disagree with me, make bad choices, and hurt my feelings.
God loves them, so I don't have to control or manipulate or make them.
God's love is big enough to hold all my hurt, all my disappointment.
God's love is big enough for all the healing I'll ever need to receive.
God's love is big enough for all the forgiveness I'll ever need to give.
Love is the Truth--for all of us--and that makes us free indeed.