My lunch hour arrived and I quickly reached for my purse and exited the door of my office building.
I felt cold and empty as I managed to walk toward my car.
I wanted to steal some time away just for me – some time just for myself.
I wanted…no I needed to be alone with my thoughts.
And so I arrived at the door of my car, opened it and I sat there in the driver’s seat and took a deep sigh before placing the key in the ignition.
I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I needed to go somewhere, anywhere, but not where I was.
I wanted to be alone but it was lunch time and I was also rather hungry. And yet some reason despite it being lunch I had a strong desire to eat hash browns and a Belgian waffle.
My craving for food overrode my desire to be alone and so I decided to treat myself to the food my body craved and headed to IHOP.
I arrived at the restaurant deep in thought. I don’t recall much regarding exiting the car, I don’t remember crossing the threshold of the restaurant, I can’t recollect being seated or even placing my order, but I do recall feeling every emotion all at once.
Sometimes I just feel cold and empty and I shiver from the feeling of a deep and painful soul ache. When I feel like this I strongly want to be held. This feeling leaves me with goose bumps perhaps because I feel as cold emotionally as people get when the wind blows during winter.
And this was one of those times.
My truth as to what sparked these emotions is that I had made the decision to end my marriage, a marriage that had spanned beyond a decade and I wondered if I would ever experience romantic love again. I wondered if my (now) ex husband ever did love me. And I wondered if any man could love me.
I didn’t feel particularly beautiful, also I didn’t have any masculine energy in my life that was expressing romantic love towards me
You see, somewhere along the line I had equated a man expressing love for me with my being lovable. I now know that is a major fallacy.
I was feeling so down on myself that I was unaware of my surroundings, I was simply far too self-absorbed to see beyond myself.
To this day, I don’t recall if the restaurant was particularly full or empty because the others in the restaurant disappeared from my awareness as my spiritual and emotional need for time alone some how allowed me to mentally escape my surroundings as I waited to be served the food my body desired.
And so I sat there at the table alone and yet I was not alone.
For I simply could not have been alone, because if I was alone then the feeling of sheer warmth that took over my body and caused my goose bumps to subside in a way that words cannot describe would not have occurred. I was being held by something that was not there but was everywhere.
The feeling of emptiness that had caused me to have a strong urge to escape my office space, had escaped me!
In that moment the feeling of loneliness, pain, rejection, hurt and anger were gone!
In an instant I was one with my thoughts and my thoughts were good and so I dined on them. I had managed to meet my need to be alone despite being in the presence of others.
My spirit man was being nourished and so there I was feasting off of my thoughts alone and yet somehow I was not alone. My thoughts comforted me. They were not thoughts of loneliness but of the presence of another, they were not of pain but of comfort, not of rejection but acceptance, not of hurt but of healing, not of anger but of utter joy.
The feeling of loneliness fled not because I was surrounded by others, I mean if that were the case then the presence of my coworkers would have sufficed.
So no it wasn’t the others who were eating with their spouses, their children, their coworkers, their friends or themselves who caused me to not feel alone.
No, it was because I was being comforted by something greater than anything I had ever experienced. .
I am not certain of much but this I know my comfort was there!
It was magnificent, it was beautiful and I dare say it was Divine.
I sat there alone at that table in IHOP with a feeling and an understanding that cloaked my boding in a way that provided pure warmth. A warmth so amazing that I don’t believe I have ever had a sensation that parallels.
It was of joy, of peace, and of love at a level I had never felt before.
And it was when I felt these emotions that the tears fell.
The tears dropped from my face onto the tablecloth reminiscent to raindrops falling on a leaf during a spring shower.
They fell the way John Green inspired by the words of Hemingway described how one falls in love – “…slowly, and then all at once”.
You see, I was weeping tears of complete joy.
I didn’t really hear my thoughts, but rather I felt my thoughts.
And the thoughts that came up in me as I sat there in that wooden chair… the thoughts that warmed my weary soul are best described as this:
‘I love you for better or for worse. I love you when you are rich and I love you when you are poor. I love you when you are sick and when you are healthy. I love you when you do not love me. I believe in you when you did not believe in me. When you forget me, I remember you. I have always been with you, I will always love you.’
I gasped when I felt these thoughts, and I was wrapped in a feeling of total joy and comfort.
It was my greatest realization that God loved me as I was, the way I was, even when I did not love Him, even when I did not love myself.
I am not certain if others noticed as I shed tears and sat there in awe of the love that God has for me.
But I am certain that the tears flowed heavy and the emotions were deep.
I wept inaudibly but deeply at the same. As sure as I breathe, I am certain those tears came from the very essence of my soul.
It was that day that I began the process of accepting that God has always seen me as beautiful the way am I. It was on that day that I held this understanding in a way I had never grasped before.
For I am indeed His flawed perfection.
God calls me lovable, even when I see myself as self unlovable..
At the times when I turned my back on Him, He did not turn His back on me. When I did not see myself as valuable He saw my value. When I called myself worthless, God called me worthy. When I loathed myself He loved me.
God loved me then and God loves me now.
And so I sat there in wonderment of His love for me. It rendered me speechless because I did not have this love for myself. I had not seen myself as someone deserving of love. But that was perhaps the greatest error of my thinking thus far.
For God is love and I believe as it is written that nothing can ever separate me from the love of God.
I was in IHOP of all places and I dined on a meal of love as I met with my Comforter. There I sat with an acceptance that God loved me as I am.
In my past I sang the song, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”.
In my past I spoke of how God was love.
And yes I have read the scripture about how God so loved the world….
But prior to that day I don’t think I ever truly accepted that God loved me as I am, for who I am, the way He created me. I had yet to completely comprehend that I did not have to do anything for God to love me, all I have to do – is be,.
Prior to those emotions stirring inside of me I wondered, ” how could anyone love me? I mean, I didn’t”.
‘How could someone find me beautiful when I was so ugly?’
‘Why would anyone love someone like me, as flawed and imperfect as I am?’
Since my time at IHOP I have come to realize that I did not have to do anything to make God love me. God loves me just because I am.
And so my thoughts pivoted and I began to assert that ‘ if God could love me as I am then who am I to not love me? And if I love me then surely others could as well’.
I had previously called myself unworthy of love because I accepted the lie that I had to be something other than who I was before I could be loved.
That moment at IHOP helped to ignite something new inside of me. For the understanding that God loved me had the domino effect of causing me to recognize that the little girl from the back woods of Georgia who resided in an adult body desperately seeking love, was indeed lovable. For she always had been loved and will forever be.
I posit that the reason I yearned for love is because I was made to love and to be loved. I was designed for the purpose of loving. Loving is what I believe to be my highest call. To love others, as I love myself means I must love myself and to love myself I must recognize I am worthy of love. For how can I love my neighbor when I don’t love myself?
That moment that I shared with The Comforter was significant because it was the day I gained a deeper revelation of what love is. I am often guilty of charging others with not loving me when they don’t treat me in a way that I feel I should be treated. But love is deeper and more multi-faceted than I can even fathom.
The moment at IHOP occurred over two years ago. Since that time I have grown and yet I am still a youth in my understanding of what love is.
However, it is on days when I don’t feel particularly lovable that I recall the moment at IHOP when I dined with The Comforter and I swiftly remember the feeling of being unlovable is clearly not based on fact. And then I am in turn able to cast away that untruth.
You see, the hash browns and Belgian Waffle came and I cannot tell you how it tasted, but I remember that comfort the Father Gave me and it was truly delicious.
I am lovable and with complete confidence I am aware that If no human ever loves me for as Iong as I walk this earth my knowledge of God’s love for me is one I cannot shake.
And what is even more amazing is that I know that scenario of no one ever loving me will never happen because people do love me. People love me as much as I love myself and as much as I allow them to. My family, friends, previous and current colleagues, my classmates, my neighbors, the strangers I meet though out the day – they love me.
And I have also learned that just because a romantic relationship comes to a close it doesn’t mean that person doesn’t love me. It often very well means they loved me enough to stop hurting me. They loved me enough to release me so that they would not prevent me from growing. They loved me as much as they could and as deeply as I allowed them to. But above all else they loved themselves enough to do what they truly believed would make them happy. And I love them enough to wish nothing but happiness for all the days of their lives.
As the years have passed I have come to learn that I did not see the love that so many people have had for me because I had a great misunderstanding of what love truly is.
I didn’t love me and even if I did it was too such a low degree that it caused me to feel worthless.
And so when I moved forward from that moment to this I have grown to understand in a greater capacity that love has many dimensions and I have only begun to discover them.
I strongly urge you. if you have not done so already to accept as I did that it is okay to love yourself. Not tomorrow, but today!
You have the green light to do so.
You do not have to wait until you lose those pounds, until your hair grows, you get a raise, you have a bigger house, your attitude changes, you are free from negative thoughts, you are in a relationship, you no longer are without sin or anything else. You can love yourself today right now. And realize that other people do love you. They love you the best they know how and to the level that you allow them to. And for those who don’t (for we all know some people won’t) they do not dictate whether or not you are lovable.
Never give anyone that type of power over you!
We are created to love and to be loved that is why we desire it so deeply. So go ahead and love yourself and call yourself loved.
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.