Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
I dreamt last night. And in the dreaming I was lying, manipulating. It was a group setting–people I know from different parts of my life–and we were each asked to share what it means to us to be vulnerable. People shared. And they were honest, authentic. Their very act of sharing was a beautiful example of vulnerability. Not hiding. Not pretending. Not faking. Peeling back layers of the heart to reveal the naked beautiful truth underneath.
Yes, it was beautiful.
Specifically, we were asked to share times in high school and in college when we demonstrated vulnerability. And in the dream, I am panicking. I not only want to be vulnerable; I want to do a rock-star job of being vulnerable. And what is so weird is that, in the dream–rather than confessing truth (and actually being vulnerable); I share lies.
I want to impress the people in the room with my level of vulnerability. So I share things that make them feel sorry for me. I am not going to type them up here because, well, they are not true.
I wake up from the dream disappointed that I felt the need to manipulate people–that I felt that vulnerability meant playing the victim, working to make people feel sorry for me.
I am wondering how often I do this–seek attention by playing the victim. I am learning I live with the mindset of God’s love being scarce–that there is not enough love for me. So I seek validation from external sources–a search that leaves me empty, depleted, and more alone than when my search for love began.
Father, I want to press into you now. Show me when this started–when I began to believe the lie that I am not enough; that I need to impress people and manipulate people’s emotions to get them to love me. Show me when my desire for love became about what I do rather than who I am.
(I stay here with him, and the memories–snapshots of me as a little girl–begin flooding my mind, my imagination, my heart. This can take a while, friend . . .)
Jesus, I break the lie that what I do determines my worth. I send this lie to the foot of the cross, and it is destroyed. Your love, Jesus, binds up the brokenhearted. Will you bind up this heart of mine now?
This post is the third in a series on self-condemnation. Subscribe to get notified when the next post is up. I’d love your company here, friend.
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com