by Celeste Cordeiro (above photo, right), 27 years old
I am the oldest child with 2 younger brothers. Being the eldest, I felt responsible to be a good example for my younger brothers. This included doing all the “right” things. I studied hard in school and took on leadership positions. I studied law in SMU and eventually became a lawyer. I was comfortable serving in my parish, and I had close Catholic friends whom I could share my faith life with. I believed that I was already doing more than the average Catholic. Furthermore, I had lost my baby fats and was slimmer than before. Although from the outside, any by stander would say that I had my life altogether, deep down I knew it was not true. I knew I was far away from God. Though I did many things, I struggled with praying daily and only turned to God when I needed His help. God became a vending machine from whom I wanted favours.
I came into SOW proud but also feeling anxious and scared. As I was unaware of the baggage I was carrying, I believed that I will use the time at SOW to discern if I should continue at my current job. Little did I know, Jesus had other plans for me.
In one of the sessions, we were asked to recall the lies and negative scripts we had come to believe and to let Jesus reveal the wounds we had. Jesus revealed to me that one negative script I believed in was that I was inadequate and not good enough. My mother is an inspiration to me and my role model. However she is also highly critical and although she does affirm us, there was also something that could be improved on i.e. my baking, cooking, singing or even my dressing. My mother felt her critiques were done out of love and for my good. However, this made me insecure about myself and my body. I constantly desired to prove myself worthy of love and approval. Jesus called me to offer this up to him and to claim the truth that I did not have to prove myself. He told me that I am good enough and He loves me as I am – that there was nothing I could do that would make Him love me more and nothing that I have done that would make Him love me less.
As part of a session we were then asked to write a prayer of blessing for the people who have hurt us and caused us the wounds leading to the negative scripts we came to believe. As my cell group prayed for me, I felt an immense love flowing through them to me and tears rolled down my face. I felt a deep sense of love and relief and felt physically lighter as these burdens were lifted up in prayer. I knew at once that this was Jesus’ love for me. I don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love me. His love is unconditional and requires nothing from me except my heart.
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Since then I actively try to remind myself that I am good enough and I am adequate. Every day is a new challenge because the negative scripts come creeping back with the slightest trigger. However, I am learning to claiming the truth that I am good enough every day because I know that the evil one will come to kill, steal and destroy if I do not. I am aware that this journey will not be smooth, and many times I will still doubt if I have even been healed by Jesus. I have also come to accept that it may take weeks, months or even years to fully heal from my deep wounds and fully uproot the lies which have taken root in my heart. Healing is a process and requires persistence to undo these deeply rooted negative scripts. God knows what is best for us and heals me at the appropriate time.
Although I continue to struggle, I want to claim the truth that I am a new creation and that I am more than enough for God. So my dear Brothers and Sisters, will you listen to the prompting of Jesus and allow Jesus to love you just as you are? The you behind the mask you wear? Amen.
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