Archive for August, 2011

Inadequate, as though I’ve failed, fat, unattractive; I hate myself.

What do I do?

 I further destroy my balance, my joy, by shredding what threadbare confidence exists within my tortured thinking.

 I do this with the total conviction that all of my attributes are underappreciated by all who matter to me. 

But wait.

How deceitful is self-loathing?

While feeling of less worth than that hairball clogging the drain of the shower that I am too lazy to clean, I have simultaneously convinced myself to sob until my nose runs. To quote Anne of Green Gables, “I am in the depths of despair.”  I feel this way because no one compliments me, or realizes how much I have to offer and how hard I work. 

My life feels out of balance. 

Can I get a holler-back from my sisters out there?!  I’m pretty sure it is built into our XX chromosomes to lack confidence, wallow in pity, all the while yearning for affirmation.

Thankfully, I am not always slopping around in this pig-sty of emotions. My guess is that neither are you. I have moments of confidence; days when I feel attractive, intelligent…maybe.

Left to its own destructive whimsy, self-pity can be overpowering, though. For me, it becomes a monster that grows as I feed it. Warning: this monster never tires of the fodder I offer it.

How then should this destroyer of life-balance be dealt with?

Generally speaking: There is always yoga and other forms of exercise. A lot of people try meditation…I wonder if that helps. I know! Read a self-help book; or, what about something drastic? People often try to reinvent themselves; start a new life in an effort to leave behind the stagnant and find confidence, some kind of happy that is better than what is currently being experienced. A new spouse or a career change, perhaps? In her book, “Eat, Pray, Love’” Elizabeth Gilbert suggests that, “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.”

God created us and intends for us to take care of our bodies and do our best to be healthy physically and emotionally. Therefore, some of the proffered suggestions are of good use. We should exercise and eat right to help us feel and look better. No doubt that when wearing my “skinny pants,” my self-confidence takes a hit as the jeans squeeze everything in, only to cause what isn’t stuffed in, to pop out the top!

However, healthy eating, drastic life changes nor traveling the world are going to help us find the balance and happiness that we so long for. Not in any permanent sense. The most seemingly perfect female in the world still struggles with pity and self-loathing. Even if she wears a size 2 and is married to a doting man worth millions! Furthermore, just an example, but what if tomorrow a car accident were to leave me a paraplegic? What now, of the state of my physical body that determines so much of how I feel about myself? There is nothing on this earth and under our glorious sun that can bring us lasting happiness and cause us to live contended, balanced lives.

So then, where is this balance to be found? What should we do with our self-pity?

At this point we should sigh in relief. I, for one, am thankful that my happiness does not have to depend on things that I do, the circumstances I am in, or the people that I strive so much to please.

No, the way to a balanced life is much less complicated. It isn’t easy, taking up the cross daily, is not free from difficulty. But it is, the only way for us to experience contentment.

So when we have disappointed ourselves and the world has let us down, then here is what we should do, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray…” (Prov. 15:13)

What about on the days that we have confidence and we are actually rocking our smallest pair of jeans? “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” (Prov. 15:13)

The answer, then, is in both “Pray(er)” and “praise.”

In Philippians, Paul tells us, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He talks about “the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

This secret is a reiteration of the verse from Proverbs and it is this: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4, 6-7

Today I am thankful for my cross.

 I am thankful that I do not have to indulge my self-pity and that I can be content.

 I am thankful that this contentment is not something I have to travel the world to find.

I am thankful for “The fear of the Lord which leads to life; (where I can) rest content…” Prov. 19:23.

“Happiness is found in being secure in Jesus.” ~ Corrie ten Boom


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Midnight Light Bulbs

 The door to her bedroom opens and closes.

I hear the soft pad of little feet as they take the steps down, carefully, one at a time.

 This happens almost nightly, and always, my brain feels like a bowl of thick oatmeal as I try to wake just enough to meet the needs of my often nocturnal children.

 Tonight though, her sounds are different.

She sobs and I hear the fear that escapes her throat as she cries. Instantly I know she has had a nightmare. My heart softens and my mind wakes more than normal as I compassionately draw her into bed beside me. Her small body shakes as she desperately clings to me and sobs in my arms and I whisper softly that she doesn’t need to be afraid, because mommy and daddy are here; we love her. How I wish my body next to hers, could be a sponge, absorbing her fear.

 She relaxes as I murmur a prayer in her ear. She feels safe. Jesus loves her, too.

              Anna brought her fear to me with complete trust that my love for her would take it away. She knew that I would keep her safe from whatever harm. Her innocence, love and trust, reminded me of what I am supposed to do with my fear, and where I am to place my trust. The Lord commands us to trust Him: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” He also reminds us continually in His Word to, “Fear not, for I am with thee.” How often do we struggle with fear in “the terror of the night?Isn’t it daily, that alone, and in vain, we try to combat the “arrow that flies by day?We waste so much of ourselves trying to battle fearful things with our own strength. Our Father is always here and waiting for us to place our problems and our trust in Him. He loves us infinitely more than even the depthless love I have for my children. I believe that he longs for us to come humbly -as innocently as Anna came to me and trusted me- and give Him our complete trust, knowing that he has “plans to prosper and not to harm us.”

 “…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mathew 2:2-3

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