The New Year lies just around the corner. The time when scores upon scores of us set resolutions. And while there is nothing wrong with goal setting and self-improvement in and of itself, many of us have already started down the path of self-degradation. We put expectations on ourselves while we simultaneously already fear failure. I invited my friend Stacey Cartlidge to guest post again and this piece is cash money. “How much is it worth?” you might ask. The going rate for a session with a Licensed Professional Counselor like her – at the very least. Lap this up my bloggy friends.
Make today the day you stop making excuses for why you can’t be kind to yourself.
Would you talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself?
Who wins when you are at war with yourself? Who loses?
You’ll be OK without the control you think you gain by punishing yourself.
Break up with the verbal abuser in your head. You don’t need them anymore. It was a codependent relationship built on the lie that in order to survive you must be accepted at all costs. At the cost of having your own opinion, at the cost of confidence, at the cost of freedom, at the cost of your dignity, at the cost of joy and purpose.
Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean you’re a bad person who doesn’t care about others. It means you’re not God. You’re not your own Jesus.
We are attracted to the strength of an abuser at first and it’s not until later we realize how manipulative and hurtful they are. The strength of our anger – even when it’s aimed at ourselves can feel better than feeling sad. It feels more in control – like maybe we could do something with it, with this rage against ourselves. But if the law (judgment) could save then we wouldn’t have needed a savior. The truth is, our imperfections are real, but they don’t define our value. The truth is, we make mistakes but we are not a mistake. The truth is, because we are loved, our brokenness will not be the end of us. We are sinners who have been given the righteousness of Christ. So don’t stand on the side of the accuser. Satan wants nothing more than for you to leave leaning on your Father and join him in pointing out your failures and your sins.
Why do we find it so heartbreaking to see the Autistic child beat his head with his fists, but then walk away and beat our very souls and hearts with words of contempt. What has happened that we are callous to our own pain? Except that somehow it seems right. The reason it “seems” right is that somewhere, someone has said those things to us before. And even though that person or situation is gone now, we have taken their place, taken up their job of humiliating and demoralizing the child within us. Like a crying child having a nightmare, we need a loving parent to come along and wake us up – to rock, cradle, and shush us with gentle whisperings, telling us the danger is gone – the dream has passed. To awaken us to a bright morning, the light streaming through the window, the lilt of birdsong in our ears. Wake up and hear the song, feel the warm morning sun, look up into the smile of the Father who has woken us from the dream, taken us up in his arms, and opened the window into a new world. A world where the enemy has fled and joy abounds.
The night has passed and morning has come. So wake up, dear child. Wake up.