By Joanne Lye
Hi, I am Joanne. Here’s a little background about me — I come from a family of 8, consisting of my parents and 5 siblings. We have been as tight for as long as I can remember, and family still remains the most important thing in my heart.
Being the third born out of 6 kids, I tended to place a lot of expectations and responsibilities on my shoulders to be the “glue” and “fixer” of any tension within the family. I grew up learning to be a people-pleaser; thinking that others’ happiness came before mine. That seemed to be the best way to resolve any tensions that came up within the family.
Outside of my family, I constantly felt the need to keep up with what I perceived as others’ expectations of me — usually by over-exerting myself to give my time, love and attention to those around me, even at the expense of my own physical and mental health.
All these stemmed from the belief that was ingrained in me since young, that I had to work for others’ love, and that I was not deserving of simply being. I became a human-doing instead of a human-being to gain love and acceptance from others. As a result, I began to place my security and self-worth in others. This was draining in itself but little did I know the effects of it as it bled into my relationship with God. I did not know how to love myself the way God loved me or even accept an ounce of His love. I grew to believe that I had to earn God’s love, even to be “sin-free” in order for Him to love me.
Illustrated by Joanne
In an encounter retreat (Treasure 10) for young working adults, the Lord removed the scales from my eyes. He wanted to heal me from all my sin, my shame and my guilt that resulted from the many years of unnecessary chasing for others’ approval, seeking love in finite places, and placing my security on what others thought of me. The Lord humbled me to my knees while I was adoring the Blessed Sacrament. He invited me to rely on Him as the ultimate source of all the peace, joy, love, and comfort I wanted to give to those around me.
Joanne with her CG in Treasure 10
I claim the truths from the Treasure retreat that I am God’s beloved. The verse “I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who you say I am” sung by Hillsong, repeatedly played in my head. It was a constant reminder to me that I am chosen in my own uniqueness and I did not have to prove myself. I learnt to place my security and worth in Christ alone, and take my rightful place as a beloved child of God. There was no need to chase others’ approval any longer as it did not matter half as much to God.
As Henry Nouwen aptly says, “Our preciousness, uniqueness and individuality are not given by those who meet us in clock-time –– our brief chronological existence –– but by the One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity.”
God has begun a new work in me. Though I may fall every now and then, I will choose to rise above the lies and claim the truth that I am His beloved every single day. It may take a lifetime of struggle to claim that chosenness, but its rewards are truly eternal joy. Choosing His light over the darkness allows me to be grateful for the many areas of healing in my life and to trust in His hand for all the little miracles He continues to do. My dear sisters and brothers, will you take up the challenge of claiming your chosenness, for today and every other day of this one precious life?