Moms, Do You Struggle with Self-Hatred?

freedomI will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. — Psalm 31:7-8

I have a dear friend who is a mother of four and a sister in the Lord who has struggled fiercely with self-hatred for most of her life. About seven years ago, I encouraged her to believe this promise over her life and that God could and would bring her to a spacious place even in this.

Over the past seven years she’s done the hard work of persevering through the rigorous healing process that is needed when we’re dealing with such deep-rooted emotional scars in our lives.

Often my friend wondered if the battle was worth it, if she would ever see any real lasting change. Recently she emailed me the below story of her journey, her battle, and her victory. She ended by saying,

I am most excited that I no longer beat myself up and tear myself down.  I love the freedom of no more defeating self talk.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

Above All Else, Guard Your Heart
by Jill Reding

She grew up during a civil war. This civil war was in her mind. There was sweat, tears and rage. For years depression and anxiety followed every battle. Worry and fret filled her chaotic mind. She was emotionally neglected and played the role of caretaker to wounded hearts close to her. Her wounds were ignored. However, she was not always ok with this. She learned to manipulate, appear helpless or rage with anger in order to demand attention. But guilt would overtake her, guilt and shame would cover her, and so the attention from others fell short as she picked herself up, stuffed her needs and became the caretaker again. The role of the helper, or the good one, made everyone else happy. That was good on the outside. On the inside she was bleeding and hated herself.

As the girl grew up in this civil war era, she learned two different languages, or perhaps two different mind sets. One was called Grace and Love, the other beat up and self-defeat. Grace and Love sounded like this… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.This vulnerable girl learned about rules and outward expectations from God believing adults in her life. She believed that these rules must be obeyed otherwise she would not be completely accepted by God and others. She carried around a ruler to measure herself, and since she always fell short, she would beat herself up. Therefore, the language in her mind called beat up and self-defeat sounded like this…

You’re not good enough… you can’t do it… you are ugly…you are fat…it’s all your fault…you should have known better…see, they better than you…you did this to yourself … no one really cares about you…if only they knew what you think…you better keep trying and trying…you’re still not good enough.

This girl often wondered why she seemed different, what was wrong with her. Others saw a normal girl, pleasant, fun-loving, beautiful and well put together. They would come to her for help. She loved encouraging and praying for others. But she rarely had contentment deep within. How could she speak godly truth to someone else, but not accept it for herself? No wonder she felt crazy.

God says, through Paul, she can learn to be content. Consider trials a joy. She failed again and again to measure up. Depression hurt those closest to her. Her neediness was more than loved ones could bear. When she hurt or annoyed others, she hated herself even more. When she hated herself, she would eat, or people-please, or exercise, or rage, or isolate. The treadmill of trying so hard was exhausting and she would turn her back from her feelings, and from a Grace and Love mind-set.

The girl heard a story that opened her eyes to her own conflicted heart. It was about a daughter who was hit by a car and the mother ran after the car in a rage of anger and guilt before rescuing the daughter. The daughter needed comfort and love from her mother. The daughter did not need to be beat up or measured up to see if she was worthy of comfort. The girl realized she was like the mother, she too had turned her back and she needed to rescue the little girl inside of her. She needed to rescue her own heart from being beat up and wounded.

It was time to put to an end the war. Would she choose Grace and Love or beat up and self-defeat? Would she listen to God’s truths or would she continue to believe the enemy’s lies? Once she faced her old wounds she was free to see truth in a way she never had before. It was not easy revisiting battle scars again. But she nurtured herself. She rescued her defeated heart. And she did not have to do it alone because she recognized she was worthy of God’s grace and love over her. She claimed the truth that was already in her, Christ her Redeemer.

The Bible is full of wonderful verses that reveal God’s promises. One particular verse whispered to her heart words of truth. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What does a guard do?

A guard protects the enemy from entering the castle. It protects! It fights. It rescues. The girl is guarding her heart from a beat up and self-defeating mind-set. She will not accept that language anymore. She learned its ok for a broken girl to truly embrace Grace and Love.

The war has greatly settled down in her mind. When stressors tempt her to beat herself up and use the measuring stick of perfection, she remembers Christ in her is enough. Christ in her enables Grace and Love. Together, this girl, with the help from her Loving Father, chose to guard her heart from the lies that once consumed her being.

She speaks like this once again…

… I am a new creation in Christ. The old has gone the new has come. God loves me just the way I am. I am content and fulfilled in Christ. He lives and breathes in me. He’s in control and in charge of my life and my circumstances. I love to serve and help others just like Jesus served and helped others. I am content to be who God created me to be. I belong to Him. He cares about my every need, so I can rest in His plan for my life. He’s got my back. It’s ok to make mistakes. He is all I need. He is enough. Nothing I DO can change God’s Grace and Love in my life.

Do you believe God can set you free from your self-hatred?

For More:

Princess of the Most High King

The Ultimate Journey

 

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Do You Believe God Long Enough to Receive His Promises?

waitingNo unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:20-21

Abraham waited 25 years for God to carry out His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son. Yet, Abraham didn’t waver in unbelief during those long years of waiting.

How about you?

Are you wavering in unbelief concerning the promises God has spoken over your life?

As a prophetic intercessor, Father has me spend hundreds of hours praying His promises over the lives of His people. Sadly, I am astonished and amazed again and again by how quickly Father’s children let go of promises He has spoken over their lives because it’s taking too long, in their mind, for Him to fulfill the promise He spoke over their lives.

How does Father speak promises over our lives?

Through . . .

  • Bible verses — He highlights in our reading of the Word and speaks specifically to our hearts as a promise He has for our lives
  • Other believers — promises they sense Father is speaking over our lives and then Father confirms it to our spirit and mind as we pray about it (For more: When Father Speaks – see Receiving and Testing a Word of Prophecy section and Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge by Adrian Warnock)
  • Prayer — a verse of Scripture He brings to mind that He wants us to pray and believe over a situation or circumstance we are praying about

In His hometown, Jesus did very few miracles.

Why?

And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. – Matthew 13:58

May that not be the truth concerning our walk of faith . . . that Jesus did not do many mighty works in our lives . . . He didn’t carry out His promises spoken over our lives because we didn’t believe Him long enough to receive them.

The question is not whether God can carry through on His promises (Isaiah 46:9-11, Job 42:1-3).

The question is are we willing like Abraham to not waver through unbelief while we wait for God to carry out the promises He has spoken over our lives.

For More:

5 Pitfalls While Waiting on His Promises Series

Prophecy Isn’t a Formula

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Does Your Calling Consume You? [Called Series]

flight

And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . . – Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

Does your calling consume you?

In your every waking moment, do you know what He has created you for?

Are you daily and hourly walking in your calling?

The weight of your calling can be likened to an airplane — it is indeed weighty in regard to its responsibility.

Luke 12:48 speaks to this tension:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Yet the enabling power Father has so richly bestowed on you is much like how an aircraft is able to take off and fly tens of thousands of feet in the sky.

2 Corinthians 9:8 describes this promise:

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (NIV)

The prophet Jeremiah’s calling consumed him:

“If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.'” – Jeremiah 20:9

The combination of the pressures of our lives, the demands of ministry, and the inevitable discouragement from those who don’t understand, believe in or appreciate our calling, at times can feel like an unbearable weight.

As a prophetic intercessor, the weight of my calling often weighs heavy on my heart and mind. During a particular heavy season of spiritual and personal attack, the weight of my calling seemed unbearable.

I was sitting on the stairs in my deserted place of work. I held out my hands and prayed, “Father this calling is too heavy, please take it back.”

As I prayed, I sensed a weight was lifted from out of my outstretched hands and yet in its place a feeling of a vacuum. After a half hour passed Father spoke, “You have no idea what stood in the balance of eternity with your request.”

And as the weight returned to the palms of my hands Father continued, “Never give your gift back to Me again.”

In the here and now, it often seems easier to lay our calling aside than to continue on in it.

And yet only by daily embracing our calling, only moment by moment letting Father’s calling on our lives consume our waking moments will we be able to say with confidence and passion along with the apostle Paul:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7

Standing in the balance of eternity – does your calling consume you?

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Let Your Strength Come from Jesus [Called Series]

mountain peaksThe Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!
Habakkuk 3:19 AMP

When you are low on strength, what a promise to remember!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

At your weakest point, this is His promise to you.

For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me. – Colossians 1:29 ESV

When you have nothing left, His energy is powerfully infusing your very being.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor 12:9-10

Life is full of countless points of weakness in our lives, and yet those can also be our greatest moments of strength.

A great book that illustrates these truths within this struggle is Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet on High Places:

Adult version

Kindle

Audible

Youth version

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Let Your Treasure Be Immaterial [Called Series]

sunlight streamingIs your treasure immaterial?

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Cor. 4:16-18 NLT

The things we can’t see will last forever . . .

  • that relationship you’ve been building with a young believer
  • the friendship you’ve been investing in with your neighbor who is seeking Jesus
  • those prayers you’ve been praying for your community
  • that time you’ve given in serving the least of these (Mt 25:40)
  • the money you’ve invested in furthering the Gospel
  • those steps of obedience you’ve taken that you have yet to see any visible fruit from
  • that step of faith you boldly take when the crowd around you asks you “Why? and “What are you thinking?!”

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Mt 6:19-21 ESV

For More:
John Piper on Don’t Be Anxious, Lay Up Treasure in Heaven, Part 1

Enough: Finding More by Living with Less by Will Davis Jr.

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Let Your Vision Be Eternal [Called Series]

FreedomTherefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

During His 33 years on earth, Jesus clearly lived with a vision that was eternal. He endured the horrific torture of the cross and the unimaginable weight of crushing sorrow of bearing the punishment of our sins “for the joy that was set before Him.”

Do you and I live for the joy that is set before us?

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Cor. 4:16-18 NIV

  • The joy set before you in cruel betrayal . . . redemption, healing, wholeness.
  • The joy set before you in crushing blows of failure . . . seeing how the hand of Almighty God recreated the shattered pieces and redeemed them into a mosaic of beauty.
  • The joy set before you in heartache and loss . . . your tears will be wiped away and there will be no more crying, sorrow, or pain (Rev 21:4).
  • The joy set before you when you’ve been overlooked, abused and tossed aside  . . . heaven has no nobodies or second-class citizens.
  • The joy set before you when you’ve been harshly discriminated against . . . in heaven there is only acceptance and love.
  • The joy set before you when your investment in others all seems for naught because words that have been said and rumors that have been spread . . . in eternity all redeemed for nothing you do on this earth for Almighty God is a waste of time or effort (1 Cor 15:58)
  • The joy set before you when you yourself have squandered what you have been so generously been given . . . the joy of seeing your Father’s face who has forgiven you and the outstretched hand of your Savior who loves you and whose nail scars and stripes paid for every one of our sinful, selfish, and short-sighted mistakes.

Today my brother, my sister, are you living for the joy set before you?

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When You Don’t Know Why [Called Series]

Comfort and GriefOne of the greatest ways believers lose heart and stop moving forward in their walk of faith is when they don’t know why.

Why did they have to die so young?

Why do I lived with constant pain and fatigue?

Why didn’t I get chosen?

Why didn’t God give me that job, that spouse, that house, that promotion. . .?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why was I abused?

Why was I raped?

Why didn’t my parents want me?

Why me?

Each is a valid question of the heart. The experience of each contains deep sorrow and pain.

Yet the choice each person asking the question is faced with: to heal and go on or to be stuck, lose heart, and stop moving forward in their walk of faith.

We live in a world full of sin and thus sorrow and pain.

Revelation 21:3-4 gives us an anchor of hope and a beacon of faith when we choose to move forward in our walk of faith:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

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For More:

When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada

Rest Ministries, Inc.: Joyfully Serving the Chronically Ill

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