Back in college, as I theatre major, I was cast in John Guare’s “The House of Blue Leaves.” I played the role of Bananas, a mentally ill housewife. Part of her behavior included begging like a dog.
And, while it was, indeed, fun to play that role, years later, I’m struck by the significance of begging. Begging for attention…begging for approval…begging for love…
It’s that last one which seems to be the most widespread and powerful. I have seen how much it drove me to desperate self-loathing and eating disorder behaviors. I wanted to be pleasing, lovable, pretty and valuable. But, through my abusive family dynamic, experiences with high school cruelty and the self-hatred of my weight struggles, I felt I was none of those things.
And so, I HAD to beg for any attention, love, approval and self-worth. It was contingent on what others would give me. Most of the time, unfortunately, I only got scraps. And that actually felt worse than getting nothing at all. It’s one thing to have nothing; it’s quite another to have the subpar discards and to be told to be content with those discards.
Recovery from eating disorders and negative image issues requires major work on the “worth” issue. There are too many young people who do not know their value. To one degree or another, we all struggle with this area. Our cultural climate does not help matters any either. Image, power, money and fame are large determinations of what a human being’s value is worth.
And that harsh reality can lead us to become a begging dog, while never seeing, accepting and applying our inherent worth.
Scripture speaks about our true estimation.
“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4
“…I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14
“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9
“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
Discovering these verses for myself has had a tremendous part in my recovery, in recognizing how I do not need anyone else’s permission to be valuable. I am that, as is, already. Elohim states it as Truth.
It is the most personal, intense and deep homework we can do. One way or another, each of us needs to explore and claim our value and the lengths to which we will go to be loved. The experience of being loved and lovable drives how we live our lives.
We have unique, individual circumstances we need to face. But there are some common denominator questions covering the love and worth issues.
It is, by no means, simple or painless. Nevertheless, these questions need to be addressed, questions like…
Do you engage in self-destructive behaviors?
Do you believe you deserve to be abused and mistreated?
Do you feel love and acceptance are conditional?
What reasons do you give yourself for “not being worth it?”
Do you beg like a dog in your life? This is not The Most High’s design for you.
This, instead, is more like it:
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25
“…‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30-31
“‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you… thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11
Part of the recovery and life work each us needs to do is to accept ourselves as we are, flaws and all. No one is so valueless they are required to beg for what is inherently true. John 8:32, therefore, carries freedom and health.
“The truth shall set you free.”
Let’s stop begging for that freedom and health and simply, spiritually, emotionally, physically and practically accept and embrace it!