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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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 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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Embrace Your Calling, Resist Mediocrity [Called Series]

Running UnhinderedAnd 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)

Has God given you a calling to equip the saints for the work of the ministry?

Are you embracing your calling?

Or can the living out of your calling be likened to the definition of mediocre?

mediocre: of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate

In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul exhorts Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands . . .”

Are you fanning into flame the gift God has given you in your calling?

I vividly remember a conversation I had with a ministry leader in which he shared, “I just want to live a normal Christian life.”

The statement in itself was completely understandable when you took into account the weight of ministry, the day-to-day pressures and responsibilities, and the energy invested in shepherding, counseling, exhorting, and teaching.

Yet if God has given you an equipping calling; it will be weighty in responsibility and challenging to carry out . . . a “normal Christian life” isn’t an option.

You have the high privilege of equipping believers for the work of the ministry.

Along with that high privilege comes the truth of Lk. 12:48:

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (NLT)

Seeking to live a “normal Christian life” with less responsibility and challenge will only lead you to a life of mediocrity.

Has God given you much? Has He entrusted you with much?

Then embrace your calling with passion and equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. – 1 Cor 9:24

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For more on Ephesians 4:11-12: What Is Your Gift? by Ray Stedman

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God Who Brings Life to the Dead

new lifeEaster is an amazing reminder to us that Jesus rose from the dead.

How many of us live in the victory that He is daily the God who brings life to the dead?

We have no trouble with the concept of Spring and new life bursting forth in the midst of dead things.

Yet, in our own lives it seems more of a stretch.

Can God really bring life to the deadness of my marriage?

Can God raise to life the deadness in my heart after my divorce?

Can God revive my spirit after the death of my beloved?

Can God heal the deadness in my heart after the abuse and trauma I endured as a child?

Romans 4:17 resounds with the answer to every one of those questions:

. . .the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

This verse speaks of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise that He would give Abraham and Sarah a son though they were well past the age of being able to have children.

Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for God to fulfill his promise.

Yet during those 25 years, Romans 4:20-21 says concerning Abraham:

No 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. (ESV)

God has power to do what He has promised.

Today and everyday He is the God who brings life to the dead.

What dead part of your heart or life is He asking you to believe He can and will resurrect?

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Hearts Directed Like Streams of Water: God Is In Control

water streamThe king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. – Proverbs 21:1 ESV

Sometimes in the midst of the storms of life, it’s easy to lose sight of the powerful truth of this verse.

Most of us don’t live under the authority of a king, but we get the connection. The most powerful people in the world — God directs their hearts like a stream of water in His hand.

That job you didn’t get — God directs employers’ hearts like a stream of water in His hand.

The school you didn’t get into — God directs the hearts of administrative heads of schools like a stream of water in His hand.

That promotion, partnership, and the like — God directs the hearts of those over us like a stream of water in His hand.

Take heart and remember those who have gone before us. . .

  • Joseph’s attitude of unconditional forgiveness after he was ruthlessly betrayed by his own family. 

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:19-20

  • Mary’s attitude of joyful acceptance of a God-given reality that ostracized her and Joseph from their family and friends (being an unmarried pregnant woman in a culture where the consequence for such an offense was being stoned to death)

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38

  • David’s attitude of courageous trust when faced with impossible odds in defeating Goliath.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” – 1 Samuel 17:37

Find courage and remember His promises:

  • He will work it for His glory and your good – Romans 8:28-29
  • What He speaks, He brings to pass. What He purposes, He does – Isaiah 46:9-11
  • No matter how dire your situation seems, He will save you victoriously and valiantly – Deuteronomy 33:26-27
  • Keep trusting; He will save you – Isaiah 25:1,9
  • Remember that what is impossible with man is possible with God – Matthew 19:26

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Gutting It Out or Giving In

Running the RaceIn John 16:33 Jesus encourages us, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s common knowledge that trouble being nonexistent in our lives is a rare experience.

And yet, when faced with trouble do we have peace, take heart, and lay claim to both the promise and the hope that Jesus has overcome the world?

Do we also lay claim to the promise and the power Jesus speaks of in Luke 10:19?

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Although not many of us are marathon runners in the physical sense, as believers we are life-long marathon runners in the spiritual sense.

Father trains us, prepares us, and has us run spiritual marathons for the duration of our walk of faith.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – 1 Cor 9:24

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

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

Marathon and triathlete Coach Joe English, does an excellent job of explaining the value of gutting it out or giving in during workouts in his post, Training — Why do the Tough Get Going?

Paula Rinehart includes a quote in her book Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Gerald May that powerfully portrays the same concept on a spiritual level:

Because real risking in faith can occur only in those areas of life where we feel most impoverished and vulnerable, it never becomes something we are really comfortable with.  For each layer of trust that  builds up, another, more challenging risk is offered.

True faith choices, therefore, always feel like risks; they just go on, involving deeper and deeper levels of our being.  Each choice remains difficult; what really becomes conditioned in this process is simply our willingness and readiness to take the risks of faith.  They never stop feeling like risks.

If you’re currently being faced with the choice to gut it out or give in, I pray you remember inspiring words of truth from Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP):

The 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]!

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