I believed that I was somebody. Or maybe I just thought I did.

In truth, for years I was haunted by the belief that I was never going to be good enough. I strove to make the people around me happy because I believed that I had to be good enough. I had to be the best worker around so people would believe in me. I had to be the best friend around so people would love me. In many ways I was extroverted and outgoing; all of it was a coverup. Inside I hurt because I fiercely believed I was unworthy of anything.

I was told that I was a beloved son. I was told that I was good enough. I was told that my life meant something. I never heard any of it. I was told a number of times that God had an opinion of me, and he was right. I heard the statements and understood them, but something kept them from sinking in. Something still made me think that I was nothing.

The lens I saw my life through was the problem. No matter what I heard, or what I saw, I knew deep inside that I was nobody. Why? Because deep inside I had a few core wounds that I had carried, which I saw the rest of my life through. I believed that I was a disappointment. Through that lens, no matter what I heard, all I actually internalized was, “you still are not good enough, are you? You are such a disappointment.”

As long as that lens dominated my thoughts and actions, I was always going to be nobody. I was always going to hurt. I was always going to feel chained to my own failures and losses.

Everything finally changed when I processed with my counselor, and the phrase, “Brandon, I am so disappointed in you,” came to the surface. It was the lens that I had seen my entire life through, but never known was there. The phrase had dominated my life without me knowing it. But now the lens was uncovered.

When I understood my lens, slowly I was able to hear more and more of the truth about myself, and allow myself to heal. I heard that I was a beloved son of God, and for the first time, could accept that love. I heard that I mattered, and for the first time, believed I was valuable. I was able to hear that I was loved, by God, by my friends, and by my family, and felt, for the first time, overwhelming love. The lens could not prevent me from experiencing life anymore. The subconscious cancer that had eaten away much of my life was called out. I could see myself through God’s eyes for the first time, because the lens that had dominated my own life had lost its power.

Freedom is something that happens when our lens is corrected. Before I thought that getting away from my pain would make it go away. Since, I have learned that running from my pain only gives it the space it needs to fester and grow. Pushing into my pain, beginning to bring safe community into my pain, and allowing that pain to heal, left it powerless. Soon my lens changed.

I am not alone in my pain.
I am not helpless.
I am not a victim.
I am a beloved son of a great king.
I have value and worth.
I am enough.
And I know this because my lens no longer rules over me.

We all have a lens. Most people I know, though, live their lives through a lens that prevents that from experiencing things like love and peace. If your lens is clouded, like mine was and still sometimes is, lean into it. There is so much more to live into.