Of course, then life... the great equalizer, hit me from a few different and unexpected sides and I couldn't seem to dig my self out from the rubble it left me under. I needed someone on the outside with a shovel. I began saying that nastiest of things to my self. The more I beat up on myself from the inside, the more my world closed in tightly, around me, which goes against everything I stand for. But I felt paralyzed and unable to stop it. I was finding that my initial reaction to people and scenarios were skewing immediately to uncharacteristic judgement, probably not surprising since that's how I was viewing myself. Critical feelings that are out of character for me ordinarily, were bubbling under the surface, everywhere I turned. I was spiraling deeper and deeper into self-loathing mode.
I began doing a scramble, that is all too familiar to me. Attempting to reign it all in, control it, smooth it, mask it, hide it, and finally... perfect it around the edges. I was doing the dance of "pretend you're okay and then you will be." But I hadn't been "okay" for a year. I just hadn't. I didn't like to talk about it in specifics but I found two women that I could be downright, ugly, carelessly specific. I thank God for them. They were/are still struggling in some of the same places, right alongside me. Which made me realize that it was finally time for that shovel and an outside source for us all.
I reached for my "So Long Insecurity" and it fell open to a very worn-in page; 105. A page that is circled, arrowed, starred, question marked, underlined and highlighted. Beth Moore writes something that has hit me so many times that I've underlined it each time I've read it, and it seemed to apply to the situation and the ways I've been manifesting my own junk. "We will never feel better about ourselves by becoming more consumed with ourselves. Likewise, we will never feel better about ourselves by feeling worse about others."
I own it. I've been guilty of that one way too much.
Everything that follows in the wake of those two life-choking ships, check.
I think I broke my own heart with this. So I let the tears fall down my cheeks as I asked God for help, wisdom, forgiveness and healing. I've been such a fool in some big areas. I was so afraid that I had crossed an uncrossable line, unable to accept, change, and be freed. And then while doing my bible study, I read the words that lifted me gratefully, once again, from that pit of self. "God's kindness leads you toward repentance." (Romans 2:4b) Kindness. Not anger, not contempt, just kindness.
The same thing I had not been extending to myself (and others). Kindness. I felt about as tall as dirt, so it was fitting that I came across the words inscribed on the "shovel" that is now digging me out. "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed. Psalm 103:13-14"..."God Himself formed human emotions. He knows how easily the heart can be broken. The mind can be marred. He knows life hurts... because people hurt... and then hurt people. He also knows the resilience with which He made us and the innate capacity within each one of us to be restored. Remade. He knows we are capable of loving even when we feel unloved because He loves us enough to cover those who don't....He knows we have the capacity to be astoundingly extraordinary, and not just in spite of where we've been, but because of it."
As I unravel my knotted insecurities over past once again, and let go of some things, I am digging myself out with kindness. To myself. To others. We beat ourselves up over careless words we say (or hear.) Choices we make. Past mistakes. Errors in judgement. Relationships we've wrecked. Opportunities we've missed and people we've misjudged. It goes on and on and it makes us feel worthless. We can't lift our head to help others if our leg is pinned under the boulder of self.... and feeling worthless is a form of self and twisted pride, keeping us at the center of our own universe. It's a specially designed trap of the enemy of our soul. We are not worthless... we have been redeemed by a God who gave us everything, and He is kind. His kindness calls to our hearts and we respond in repentance and find our security by His side.
Kindness amidst the mess we've made, spilled over into our life by a loving God who forgives and heals... and then pouring out into others expanding our tiny universe, which is the only reason we are here.
I'm going to be chewing on this one a while. And I don't know about you, but I could be a lot kinder to myself...