Dear Jeani

Dear Me:

You aren’t perfect. You don’t have to be perfect. You will never be perfect.

I know that’s difficult to consider, especially because you strive for it. I know it’s painful to accept because you simply want to please those expecting you to be perfect. But you aren’t. And you

won’t be.

And it’s okay.

Don’t scoff.

It really is okay that you cannot attain perfection.

Do your best—that’s fine. But be okay with the fact that you are figuring it out.

And that’s okay, too.

This is actually a pretty important key for you to realize now.

You are figuring it out.

You will always be figuring it out.

Breathe.

Breathe deeply. Breathe often. Not just your typically subconscious breath that your body is doing for you without a conscious thought. But breathe intentionally.

Breathe deeply.

The dysfunction you see in others around you? Isn’t your fault. Specifically, it isn’t because you aren’t perfect. It isn’t because you don’t try hard enough. It isn’t your responsibility to “fix it” in others.

You have a gift. You see. You really see. Your worries and anxieties have helped you develop an intuition and a perspective and insight that is helpful for others. Let it be helpful for you, too. You don’t have to wait a long time to reflect upon your own self and allow your story to rise and to see you.

It’s okay to look at yourself and be fine with what you see.

You’re okay.

Really. You don’t feel okay most days. Maybe, depending upon when you’re reading this, you haven’t felt okay yet.

That’s okay, too.

But you are.

You are okay.

And you are enough.

Becoming enough.

Allow the process. Allow it to flow. Allow it to unfold.

You don’t have to be ashamed of who you are, or where you’ve been, or what you’ve done.

It happened.

You learned.

Keep going.

You will experience difficult challenges. Darkness will surround you. You will feel isolated, alone and abandoned.

You will feel this more than once.

You will blame yourself. You will feel like you’ve failed yourself, the world, and your God.

You haven’t.

And God is with you.

Daily.

God is with you each breath. God is holding you, loving you, comforting you, and moving with you.

God sits with you.

God can heal you.

Even in the darkness you feel, there is Light. God’s light. God’s Love. Shining and pouring upon you. Covering you, strengthening you, showering you with grace and mercy.

People will come and go.

They will love you with conditions, they will love you unconditionally, you will return their love.

And you will love with conditions—you’re figuring it out.

People will come into your life. Some will journey by your side—closely, knowing every stage of your journey.

Some will move on with their life without you.

It’s okay.

God is with you.

God will continue to guide and lead you to communities. You will continue to learn to trust and to love again. You will realize that not all of these events that feel like tragic loss are a result of your imperfection.

Life moves.

So do people.

When you can begin to love yourself, when you can begin to accept your story, when you can begin to be okay with you,

You will unlock the beauty around you.

You will begin to accept others for who they are, where they are. You will see the beauty around you as you begin. You won’t have to perfect it to see it. It will just be there. It’s always been there. You were too wounded, though, to see it. You were hiding because you’d been hurt.

Everyone has been hurt.

And sometimes hurting people hurt people. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to hurt you or that you have to just accept it and let them keep hurting you. It doesn’t mean you can never heal. Or that they can’t heal. It doesn’t mean healing isn’t real.

Healing is real.

It’s a process.

And you will be okay.

You don’t seem to believe you can love yourself. You seem to believe you’re bad, and wrong, and unredeemable.

I now know why you feel that way.

But you’re wrong. And that’s okay.

Depending upon when you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard your grandfather say, “You’re smart. You’ll figure it out.”

Keep talking to him. Even when you think he doesn’t want to talk to you. Even when you’re embarrassed and ashamed and suffocating in darkness because of the decisions you’ve made.

He loves you.

And he’s right.

You are smart.

You will figure it out.

Forgiveness seems foreign and weak to you now. If you forgive, you believe you permit the wrongdoing. That’s what you believe. If you forgive, you give in, you roll over, you submit. That is what you tell yourself. If you forgive, they win.

Also not true.

Forgiving is for you. It is brave. It is liberating. It keeps you from allowing anger to eat you alive.

Forgiving is Love.

It doesn’t mean you continue to allow someone to treat you badly, but that you recognize we are all human and we all make mistakes. It’s okay to set boundaries and respect yourself. And sometimes you have to love people “over there” because they hurt you. Their woundedness and brokenness prevents them from seeing the beauty in the world, the beauty in themselves and the beauty in you. And, right now, they can’t figure out how not to hurt others.

So love them—over there. That’s okay.

But don’t use this as an excuse not to be vulnerable, not to be authentic, not to engage in life.

You are smart.

You will figure it out.

God loves you.

God created you and loves everything God creates. God doesn’t create to ignore. God doesn’t

create to reject. God doesn’t create to discard.

God never discards.

You have a will and it’s a free one. You are indeed a free spirit.

But God does love you. And God is calling that free spirit into something beautiful. God will always be calling what God creates. God will always be pursuing what God loves.

God loves you.

It’s okay to be angry with God. There will be times you will be really angry. You’re probably angry right now.

God loves you.

It’s okay to feel like you don’t have a clue what God wants and you don’t understand the messages God sends. God will continue speaking to you. God never abandons nor forsakes what God loves.

God loves you.

God is going to show you beautiful things; God shows what God creates the beauty God has created.

God will ask you to share this with others.

Do that.

If God hasn’t already asked you to follow, God will. And you won’t have a clue what that means.

I’m still figuring it out. But I do know one thing.

God loves you.

You are smart.

You will figure it out.

Keep breathing.

I love you.

M