What I did know in those times was that I really wanted to sing and feel all warm and fuzzy and close to Jesus, I just didn’t know how. It was like a mystery, an inevitable mystery. Subconsciously I figured that all a person was to do when dead inside was to stay put and wait it out. Sooner or later there would come the gentle kindness seeping in. Until then sing loud and hold on for dear life.
I’ll never forget the day all of this confusion came screeching to a halt. It was the day I finally realized I had a really bad relationship with myself. As corny as this may sound, it was the truth. For all my learning to relate well to other people and even Jesus, I’d never once taken stock of how I treated myself. The truth was I had never really known that such a relationship existed. Love your neighbor as yourself had flown right over my head.
You mean to tell me that how I love myself determines how well I’ll be doing? What a concept. It resonated with everything else Jesus had taught me about personal responsibility and cause and effect. This had to be the case. All the goodness of Jesus, the acceptance, the respect, the gentle guidance, it could only be mine if I received it and turned it inwards. This was my part. And this I had neglected.
The error of my ways showed up most pronounced in how I spoke to myself. Jesus had told Isaiah to tell us how much we were loved and actually even honored in His sight. I know this jived with how respectfully God asked Adam and Eve why they were shaking in the bushes and how He had whispered to Elijah with gentle questions instead crashing storm clouds or blazing fire balls. Yes, Jesus had always spoken to our kind with a gentle personal tone of compassion and desire.
Not me. No, when I blew it I could get all this pent up frustration rolling around inside to the point where I would snap. Nobody heard the words, not even me, often they were just feelings piled up. But the fact was that as much as I tried to calm the disturbed around me and forgive their shortcomings, I was always hard on myself. This truth came right out and glared at me. How had I gotten away with being so mean to me, and especially through those times when I was facing difficult challenges?
Think about it for a minute, no wonder we Christians are always talking about surrendering to Jesus! Jesus is all love and we are all—to ourselves especially—judgment, demands and disgust. No wonder we have to submit ourselves to Him and His ways, we are just as mean as the next guy. Sure the goodness of Jesus all around—always. But that’s worth zero to you if your personal relationship with you, shuts the good out and holds you in.
I believe more and more that how we treat ourselves in the privacy of our own minds determines the outcome of our lives here and forever. Jesus speaks the truth in love and Satan speaks the worst in hate and we decide whose perspective will be our fate… and so it is. Yes, this is the freedom Jesus died to give you. Yes, you actually get to decide if you let hope or condemnation define your life.
Clarissa Worley Sproul writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2020, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.