You’d think I’d be fine. Life’s starting to fall into place for me: I’ve got my dream job (working for my church) and have just published a book. Two things I’ve been striving to accomplish for years.
And yet here I am, silently screaming to God as I look in the mirror through tear clouded eyes, shaking violently inside as the emotions struggle to contain themselves, “I hate myself! I HATE myself!!”
Why? Why do I hate myself so? Why am I back to square one on this healing journey? Wasn’t I just writing in my book about triggers and how years ago I had gone into a horrible cycle of self-hatred/verbal abuse because of one mistake I had made? I almost feel the same way I did back then: shredded to pieces and wounded in soul.
Except… this time my words aren’t quite hitting deep. They are kind of bouncing off and instead I feel like I’ve just screamed words to let the emotions have some space to reveal themselves. Is it because this time I am not attacking a specific part of me that I hate (i.e. calling myself an idiot), but just myself overall? Why is this time different?
As I sit and write out my thoughts and feelings, I’m reminded of a message I heard recently about switchbacks when hiking. Sometimes it feels like with each switch back, you’re back to where you just came from. It’s not until you take a step back to look at the hill/cliff you’re climbing that you realize you’ve actually made progress.
Maybe I’m in another switch back in my journey. It’s another time to process all the anger, disappointment, and hatred I have towards myself because I have yet again, failed to meet the standard I’ve placed on myself. You know, that standard of perfection that only God can meet.
What can I do to get past this seemingly never-ending self-hatred switchback? How can I get rid of these emotions swirling and stewing inside of me as I keep, time and again, failing?
The first thing I can think of is that verse, “and you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Umm, yes! I’ll take this freedom. I need to be free of this debilitating pressure of perfection. Now, if only this truth would be easy to grasp. Easy to remember above all the lies that seem to overwhelm my thought life.
So what is this truth that will set me free?
1. This too shall pass. Cheesy, I know… but it’s true. Whatever we’re going through, it is but a speck of dust in the plans God has for our lives, and especially with the world. Not that it isn’t a big deal. Remember, God knows how many grains of sand there are in this world.
If He knows that, He knows exactly what you’re going through. He won’t leave you to figure it out of your own. If He cares for the little things in life (Matt 6), He will definitely care for you.
2. We are His child. God is a good dad. He doesn’t abandon us, especially when we need Him. He is instead in the midst of it all, teaching us, correcting us, and encouraging us when we need it. Sometimes it’ll feel like He’s abandoned you. But, just like a kid sometimes thinks their parent leaves them behind because they can’t currently see them because they’re behind something (i.e. a different aisle at a grocery store), doesn’t mean they’ve been abandoned (thanks AW Tozer for that analogy). God still is with us.
I actually heard a song earlier today that I had forgotten about by Steffany Gretzinger that had the lyrics, “Don’t you think baby, I know best. I’ve been a Father for a long time.” Cue the ugly crying. What an amazing reminder that nothing we experience is a shock or something the Lord hasn’t already helped someone with/through. Everything will be okay!
I also learned this yesterday from Lisa Bevere’s Fiercly Loved ministry: God loves us not because of what we do (for Him or in general), but because we’re His. He doesn’t say, “Oh I’ll forgive you once I know you’re actually sorry.” or “Okay, once you finally start actually living how I want you to, I’ll love you more.” He simply says, “I love you with an everlasting love.” Basically one that never, ever ends.
3. We will never, ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try. Once we understand this, and that it’s okay, how we view ourselves will lighten and I believe our stress levels will lower. Besides that, if we were perfect, there would be no reason for Jesus.
This point is one I hate hearing. Everything in me wants to be perfect. I hate that feeling of letting someone down. The disappointment on their face kills me. This is one of the main reasons why a part of me always wants to stay single. When I’m single, no one will know what I struggle with, unless I reveal it to them. It’s lonely, but it’s “safe.”
4. We are our worst critic. Again, cheesy, as this phrase is used so many times. But… it’s so true. Especially for me, since I more often than not, am furious with myself over something that others probably barely bat an eye at.
One thing to remember, which again kills me inside to admit because I desperately want to be perfect, is we build more bridges through our imperfections than we do our perfections. So next time you mess up, know countless others have done the same thing and know exactly how you feel! If they say they don’t, ex them from your life because they’ve not lived or they’re lying.
5. Fill your life with Scripture to combat the lies you believe about yourself – verses that will empower you and encourage you; one’s that’ll put Satan right in his place. God’s Word is the ultimate authority, so any time we speak it over our lives, everything else has no choice but to flee. Now, sometimes this’ll take forever to really feel like what we’re reading and declaring are taking an affect. Don’t give up. Sometimes it’s takes a bit for our emotions to match what we speak over our lives. The more you speak them, however, the easier they are to believe and keep believing.
6. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Yes, He already knows. But there’s something about coming into alignment with Him, talking with Him about what is going on, and asking for help. Yes, the mire of your trials is something you may be natural consequences of some not-so-smart decisions that you knew were so. That’s ok. God loves it when we come to Him. He loves hearing from you and He loves showing up, fixing what we did wrong (although consequences may still exist), and doing what He can to redeem it all, so it all ultimately brings glory and honor to His name.
7. Stop with the comparison! What is that saying? “Comparison is the thief of joy”? UGH. One of these days, maybe, I’ll be able to stop comparing my life to others. I need to remember the grass is only green where you water it. Yes, so many women have the kind of marriage I can only dream of having (because dreaming is all I can do now, as currently, the man I’d love to be with doesn’t want me). Yes, some women have their babies that I would give anything to experience for myself – for a little one to smile because it’s ME, their momma, the one who would walk on water for them. Other women have the drive and charisma I wish I could somehow summon for myself in order to better my present-day life and my future.
But what am I missing out on by wishing “if only”?? What blessings are passing me by that others would love to have because I keep looking at other’s “grasses” instead of my own?
The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
I am lacking strength. I’m lacking energy. I’m extremely lacking in love towards myself. And I am definitely lacking joy. How do I get out of this rut I’m in?
I guess by the grace of God and the intentionality I put towards seeking Him, health, and healing…
What do you guys do to help combat any self-hatred you may be feeling? Let me know in the comments…
Woman of Purity~