My husband and I were recently having fellowship with two other couples and we talked some about our religious up bringing and how it affected our spiritual lives. One friend was brought up in a religious legalistic home where he was told things that made him feel he was bad. He continues being plagued with feelings of feeling unloved, unworthy, and shamed. He spends much of his life looking for someone(like his wife) or something that will make him feel “good” about who he is. In the world of psychology I guess he would be considered to be co-dependent. He’s having to depend on people or circumstances to find his worth and reason for living. I was able to share where my worth came from during our conversation. I was filled with incredible joy as I was able to look at him and lovingly say that I am completely loved and accepted by my Creator, the One and only God. I was able to say that there was nothing I could ever do that would make Him love me less. Yes, there are times my failures will bring God sadness, but it never makes Him love me less. I am completely loved and I am completely accepted by God. What joy and freedom that gives me!
I loved a story I read in the book “Fun Loving You: Enjoying Your Marriage In the Midst of the Grind” by Ted Cummingham. He has a clear plastic jug that he calls the “Love Jug.” Every once in a while when his family is together he brings out the love jug. He places a different kind of glass in front of each, and even has a glass out for others who are in their life like teachers. Then Ted fills up the jug with water and asks the question, “Who is the source?” The kids respond “God”. He says, “That’s right. And our job is to connect to Him and allow Him to fill us every day. Then we go out and give our family, friends, and strangers the overflow”. He pours water from the jug into the glasses and then asks,” How do I replenish the water that I poured out? Do I wait for others to pour back into me?” His children respond, “ No, God refills you.” His children are getting a glimpse of understanding what codependence looks like. They are learning not to depend on others for finding their significance and satisfaction for life. They are learning that only in connecting to God and understanding His love and acceptance of them will they truly find value and that leads to a life of joy and peace. I want to daily live in that kind of freedom.