We have two pug-children, Stitch and Lilo. (go ahead, I’ll pause for the ‘awwww’ that usually follows that statement). Stitch was a gift from my hubby for my 25th birthday. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. Lilo on the other hand is our ‘special needs child’. She was rescued from a puppy mill. I can’t get into the specific details of what puppy mills are or I will have to go spend the next hour in prayer – but they’re evil places. Basically imagine hundreds of animals that aren’t taken care of and are only seen as ‘profit potential’. They’re usually where pet stores get their animals. On behalf of Lilo, I will say PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your research when looking to add a furry family member. Support rescue organizations! [I’ll stop there cause the urge to go hurt some people is rising…Dear Jesus help me show your unconditional love even to those who hurt other humans and animals, Amen.]
We’re pretty sure the only time Lilo had human interaction was when she was being used for breeding. When she first came to our house, she had a bladder stone that was almost the size of her bladder and was peeing blood. She would FREAK out in a doggy panic attack if we left her sight even for a second. She laid on the hard floor instead of soft towels because that’s all she knew. She didn’t even know what a toy/rawhide was. She didn’t know love.
It is very evident that Stitch and Lilo have had ‘opposite sides of the track’ life experiences. Lilo has made HUGE progress but even after 5 1/2 years in a safe and loving environment, she still needs consistent assurance that she is safe and loved. She can have a sad, nervous, ‘no one loves me’ countenance even when she’s sitting right next to us getting attention. She doesn’t always jump in our lap for love unless we invite her in and reinforce that we want her.
Stitch on the other hand is pretty secure in his position in our family. When it’s snack/food time, he patiently waits by his mat knowing that he’ll get his share. Lilo still acts like she has to fight for anything she gets. If I’m in my office working, Lilo leaves her perch on the couch to come find me multiple times while Stitch happily stays snoring in his bed. If Stitch is getting attention, Lilo has to jump in and fight for some too. He doesn’t hesitate to jump in our lap if he wants to be there…or he’ll sit in front of us and give us the Stitchy stare that says ‘human, move, because your position is not exactly right for how I want to jump in your lap and I own you.’ (he can be an arrogant little stinker 😉 )
Hmmmm, sad pitiful faces and saying things like ‘I’m not pretty enough or talented enough or my life isn’t easy enough’ in order to get attention…pulling away and hoping someone notices so they make a big deal about your absence…always doing things and never really resting because performance brings attention and ‘love’ (people pleasing, anyone???)…trying to push others out of the way in order to steal their attention…
I know I’ve been talking about dogs but do any of these activities sound familiar in human behavior?! (obviously, in other people you know because OF COURSE you and I are perfect and never struggle with this stuff…you should forward this post to those people who come to mind because ‘they’ obviously need it 😉 )
Unfortunately for Lilo, I’m not sure that God can supernaturally restore trust, acceptance and unconditional love in animals. Who knows…He cares about the little things and all of creation so maybe. Fortunately for US, however, I KNOW that God can restore the damage caused by the lies of the enemy.
Maybe you have a background like Lilo, or maybe you have a background like Stitch but still struggle with not feeling like you’re ‘enough’ and feel as though you’re constantly trying to do things to find your place in this world. Regardless of what your story is, God’s story is that He loves you and me far beyond any love we could ever experience from others on this Earth. In Him you are enough. You don’t have to fight for attention or compete with anyone else. When we realize we are whole and complete in Him, and that His is the only approval we need to seek, we’re able to celebrate when others celebrate..without jealousy or thoughts of how we could do better (or even ‘why are they getting that praise?! They’re not that special!’)
“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” ~ Philippians 4:11b-13
I’ve always read that verse from the standpoint of ‘I can be content regardless of what is going on in life’…from a more material or circumstantial perspective. But what if we read it from the standpoint of love and attention and being ‘enough’: ‘I know what it is to not feel very loved and what it is to feel very loved. I have learned the secret of being content…whether I feel like I’m enough or not, whether I am ‘popular’ and have many social media followers or feel like no one even knows I exist. I can do all this – I can feel content and secure – because in God, I am enough and His love is enough and in Him I lack nothing’
If you’re struggling with comparison and are exhausted because you feel as though you’re always fighting to ‘be enough’ in order to find acceptance based on your performance, I pray that today is the beginning of a new season in your life. May today be the turning point where God begins to take the blinders of the enemy off of your eyes and reveals to you His perfect love.
I pray you feel the freedom to jump into His loving arms without hesitation. May you rest in His embrace like you never have before. Regardless of your past, your story, or your feelings, you are loved by the creator of the universe. Leave your ‘I’m not enough’ at His feet and allow Him to show you His ‘more than enough’.
Image Credit: Erin Kass