What if I didn’t know I was unique? What if I had no connection or evidence made known to me that I was worthy of respect?
I remember having constant wonder as a little girl. I would steal my Dad’s lunch box every day, so I could use it as my treasure box. I filled it with all the imaginary treasures. I hid it, created a map, found it and celebrated. I was the horse as my sibling strapped mitten strings around me and we would run up and down the hallway- giggling and cackling while my Mom made dinner. I would revel outside while splashing the hose in different designs in the sky and I sang the Hokey Pokey as I pranced over the sprinkler.
As I grew, I became jaded, by the age of 14, the world seemed to glaze over me, in my transition from childhood to adulthood. I lost that spark, and the lights turned off in my soul. I remember walking the halls of my junior high school wandering and wondering when I would ever feel connected again. I remember feeling very alone, unaccepted and like a black sheep. I did not fit in. I didn’t feel purposeful. I had no real connections with others that reached into my heart and helped me to feel alive.
Fast forward 1 year later, and I was walking down the halls of my high school full of light and energy, full of faith and excitement. I knew what my mission was, and I was going to find the next person who needed a smile and a hug. I was on a hunt for happiness. I was like a vulture looking for my next prey-but I wasn’t looking to devour them. I was looking to dispel their darkness and replace it for light. I knew who I was, I knew what I was here to do, and I was doing it with every eager step I took.
Rewind to my last year of junior high. I was jaded and glazed over–and reached a tipping point of pain that brought me to think of ending my life. After I hit my rock bottom, I made a decision to never go back there again. I was no longer ready to live the rest of my life gloomy and apathetic. I was ready to take action. I was hungry. My heart was ready to find what made people happy for their entire life. I wanted long term happiness, and I was sure I could find the answer. I had enough examples around me. I felt blessed that many of my friends had good parents who helped them set up happiness habits all along their days. My friends were rarely available because their schedules were mostly full with family time. They were actively involved in growing in their hobbies and sports. They ate together with their families each night.
But what was going to help me unlock this door for me and my life as a beginner in this happiness realm?
It started when I was invited to go to an early morning meeting on a weekend. I remember entering the building and feeling the cleanliness and quietness of the space. I remember watching how everyone spoke in whispers, and carefully put their coats on their hangers, and quietly stepped into the worship room. I remember sitting down, and watching everyone with smiles and handshakes, greeting each other before the meeting started, all in quiet tones. I remember there being a special portion of this meeting, where a prayer was said, and a dish was passed around with broken bread; later, another dish passed with water. Pin-drop silence as bread and water was passed around.
I remember being shocked by this feeling of deep, deep respect. This was completely foreign to me. I was used to a life of stereo blaring at maximum volume, and before I was lost in my dark spell, rambunctious was my middle name in every situation. As I sat and watched, I wondered what caused these people to want to be so quiet. I had a sense that many of them were like me–they could be loud if they wanted to, but they didn’t want to. They wanted to be quiet so they could pay attention to something else, listen to something other than their own voice and own thoughts. They were looking higher and holier than that.
I learned later of this word that had never come into my life before, until I got to experience it with my own heart, and eyes.
Everything in my life up to this point had been casual, messy, dirty, and unorganized. Watching this reverence unfold before me as I watched the countenances of people so earnest, sincere, so real and worshipful, so heartfelt and honest, was a splash of heavenly reality to my soul. I felt so at home. I felt wrapped in the arms of someone who loved me more than I could imagine. I was loved and needed. I felt that reverence was what my heart and soul craved for so long, but I didn’t know this would help it to heal and open up to the happiness that was ahead for me. I could feel automatically this was going to be a happiness habit of my future life. I wanted to understand. I wanted to understand what that feeling of deep respect was that I was picking up on from everyone around me. Why were they so honest, real, vulnerable? What was so special that was worth their respect and reverence?
Later, I came to know the connections between people having respect and having reverence, and why I didn’t feel it everywhere. I learned that these people truly believed they were sons and daughters of a God, the God who created the universe. They believed in being grateful for the sacrifices that were made before they were even born, to allow them the opportunities that were before them. They came every week to pay respect for their maker, their Father. They believed in being a son or daughter of a King. They came so they could progress in their tutelage, their mentorship in becoming good righteous leaders in their own lives.
All I knew is that I saw the light in these people’s eyes, and their hearts beamed and glowed. I wanted to have that in my life. I wanted to live in a way where that would never leave me. I always wanted to remember who I was and my purpose. I wanted to respect and to revere.
I grew in my own relationship with God. I came to know my place in His universe and my place as a little queen in training to become more than I could by myself–through His tutelage, His mentorship, His constant pouring of love into my heart and soul. I was learning how to allow time for mighty prayer (times when there was an ebb and flow of communication and connection between us). I began to know and understand that I was precious–and not only I, but every single child of God, every single human being I walked beside and sat beside on the bus.
I became even more touched as time went on, and I would feel those gentle sprinklings of His love. They would come in waves where my whole heart would fill up with his warmth. I could enjoy His presence, and I bursted with joy–not man-made from myself- but God-made. I would begin to understand more fully that this world was more than I could create by myself. This world was prepared for me to become.
I was a guest on this earth, and my role was to find out how I could help.
I have felt so grateful for this heavenly perspective and eternal perspective in my life because it has meant everything to me. I have committed to learn how not to be ignorant, to take sacred things with reverence and respect–not lightly–from of lack of education or inexperience.
I felt like I had spent my whole life being invited to a massive playdate where I got to play in the backyard with friends all around, only stopping for water, and snacks from the delectable spread of delights to be devoured, always available, never asking how or where those treats came from.
But it was after I came to know reverence and respect for myself that I began asking in every situation,
“Who do I need to thank for this?”
I was on a journey to actually find out what God cared about, and I actually took the time to think about it and find ways to care about it, too. That is how I know I am unique: I got connected with my relationship to God. I got to learn how to have mighty prayer because I found His eternal phone number. He doesn’t put me to voicemail, not ever. He is right there, and He answers every time.
I know I am innately worthy of respect because God loved and respected me first. He did all the planning and preparing for me to have a space to grow. I am so excited and happy to know in my heart, with every surge through my veins, that He is there to protect me- and provide for me. He has made my life to receive all of His gifts He has carefully put in my path.
Photo credit: Laura Roberts
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