Refusing to apply that word for the past week has brought power and freedom and broadened my input. Previously, there were perspectives of which I would have never have been aware because they arose from a cultural spaces I found unacceptable on account of my own prejudices. I learned to hear, to build relationships with, to be ministered to, and to be enriched by those outside my metropolitan New York culture and Reformed theological lens. Initially, I chose the word unacceptable with an internal focus, trying to stop viewing myself as unacceptable. However, as the week went on, I discovered I had also been applying it harmfully to some of those around me.

Internally, catching and correcting myself when I applied unacceptable to my own thoughts, words, and actions reminded me that I have been made in God’s image and who I am is part of God’s ministry to others though me. If I can stop worrying that my actions reveal my unacceptability to others, I acquire freedom for new ventures, including actions that make me more visible. Specifically, removing the fear of being deemed unacceptable enabled me this week to offer myself to my Presbytery for service as a Ruling Elder commissioned to pastoral service. Also, I gained the courage to submit a piece I wrote for publication and have received notice that it will be published in a few weeks.

Also, I just relaxed more. Gone was the tension of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have become more able to address real concerns, like my difficulty in finishing things I have started or agreed to do. Because I am no longer focused on defending myself from others who might discover my unacceptability, I can address areas I need to improve.

Thank you for the opportunity to rid my life of this powerfully destructive concept. Unacceptability is no longer acceptable in my life.