A unlikely article in the sports section of our local newspaper triggered some deep feelings in me as I read comments by Lovie Smith, the Chicago Bears head coach. He spoke of dreams given, dreams propelled, dreams enabled by his family, coaches and community in Big Sandy, Texas.

But something Lovie said about his dad resonated deep within my soul: “From early on, I can remember wanting to be a teacher and a coach,’ Smith said. “That’s always what I wanted to be . . . and I have never believed in negative reinforcement in order to get the job done. I never saw any disappointment in my father’s face when I played and that brought out the best in me . . . .”

For much of my life, I wished for that look of pleasure and unconditional support. But oh how many times all I saw on my mother’s face was disappointment and displeasure, sometimes even what seemed to be a look of disdain. Rather than accomplishing her desire to bring out the best in me, those looks and the accompanying criticism tainted my early perception of self, my being, my sense of worth.

I had no dreams that I can recall. Thought I didn’t deserve any. I never had a sense of hope in being good enough for anything . . . except maybe simply to stay under others radar screen.

My inner self believed, truly believed for a long time, that everyone was a better person than I was. I always perceived myself as lacking, never good enough. Not worth being loved or befriended.

My social ineptness colored my world grey. For me to address someone was in my mind, only a chance to look stupid. To be a bother or a nuisance. {Sadly though, it seems my insecurities came across as snobbery. I am so very sorry to have been more concerned about my lack than others need.}

I rejoice in all the ways that God has worked in me, pouring out His love and approval through mentors and friends. Restoring a balanced view of myself and allowing me to do things that can only be attributed to God’s mercy, grace and empowering.

Yet from time to time those inner perceptions still crop up within me, causing self doubt, self questioning. Other times, a consuming fear of disapproval drives me to work too hard. To want to do everything right, be perfect.

Yes, my weakness still lives. But oh, how your strength, O God, is perfected in my obvious weakness. How I would rather be completely healed. Continually dwell in the light of your love and approval. Seek and sense your face looking down on me with pleasure. Fully understand how you, my heavenly parent, are not disappointed in me. You love me. And you don’t love me based on my actions, you love me unconditionally . . . and you have always had dreams for me.

And when I realize my need for love and approval can only be met in you, O God, you are waiting and willing to satisfy me as Michelle Cushart described in a recent blog post.

O God, thank you that I don’t see any disappointment when I seek your face. Thank you that I can find my heart’s desires in you. Thank you for your inexplicable, yet ever abundant love for each of us.

How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! And {how we can} take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. {We can} drink {our} fill of the abundance of Your house; And You {will give us} to drink of the river of Your delights {and Your unfailing love.}  Psalm 36:7-8

Please, O God, please pour out your water of grace and mercy, support and love through me each day.