I have a friend who has struggled with addiction for nearly 40 years.
After months of sobriety, a mutual friend who lives in the same building with him told me that they've smelled something coming from his apartment. He's smoking something, and it's not pot.
I asked my friend if he was using again, and he said yes. But what he said next was inspiring.
He told me he'd used a bunch of times the previous week. "and that's okay", he said. "I'm clean now. I'm going to meetings. I'm okay."
He must have seen the concern on my face.
"Look, I'm an addict. I've been an addict almost my whole life. I used. I fucked up. But that's not who I am. My mistakes don't define me. "
That's not who I am.
My mistakes don't define me.
This guy could teach a course on radical self love. I'd attend it. I need it.
How often do I redefine myself based on my failures and successes? I burnt the oatmeal. I said something witty. I haven't worked out all week. I look cute in this outfit. I forgot about that appointment. People are liking my facebook status. My self worth is subject to the ups and downs of an ordinary day.
But that's not who I am. My failures and successes don't define me. I am a child of god, a mama, a wife, a daughter, sister, friend, loved exactly as she is. Burnt oatmeal and all.
The mistakes you made today?
They don't define you.
That sin in your past that still sometimes feels like a log in your gut?
It's not who you are. The things you've done, or failed to do?
You are so. much. more.
You and me and my friend? We were formed by the hands of a loving God, thoroughly treasured and cherished by Him.