I am ugly and fat. Moody and selfish. Not feminine enough. Not tough like others. I disappoint me and I surely must disappoint you.
Remember the song You Are My All in All – from the ’90s? I sang it many times, back in the day. Hearing it brings back memories of throwing my crutches into a pew in one of the dark alcoves circling the perimeter of the chapel at Tyndale College in Toronto. I’d plop myself down, injured leg sticking out the side, and enjoy my own private joke with God as I sang the line “When I fall down You pick me up…”
This weekend, as I hopped from poem to lyrics to artist to song, I ran across two inspiring musicians: Dennis Jernigan and Amy Perry. Both share, honestly, about bad childhood experiences and poor self image.
Dennis Jernigan, who wrote You Are My All in All, wrestled with negative thoughts about himself. He felt rejected by a parent. His peers sensed that he wasn’t like them; he didn’t belong. He lived a homosexual lifestyle for many years, but did not feel at peace with this. His struggles with identity and self worth have given him a gift, I think. He writes songs with sensitivity and insight. Songs the rest of us can sing wholeheartedly, because we, too, feel like we fail to meet the expectations of others.
Dennis Jernigan’s take home point: It is only in the presence of God that we can find rest. Acceptance. Peace. He is not disappointed with us. He loves us, in spite of our flaws.
Amy Perry sings with the group Selah. On a whim, I clicked on I Will Carry You, and I found myself listening to a beautiful woman as she spoke about the power of words spoken over her, words that led to a lifelong struggle with self image and weight gain. Her courage and honesty touched me. How many women at that concert heard her words and echoed her feelings, saying with her: I have never been enough? All of them, I would guess. Don’t we all struggle with this?
Like Dennis, Amy brings listeners to the only One who offers unconditional acceptance and love.
You are enough. You are wanted.
You are loved.
Look to Him.