“When we criticize ourselves, we are both the attacker and the attacked. This type of chronic stress can eventually lead to anxiety and depression, undermining our physical and emotional well-being.”- Kristen Neff
Are you like me—your own worst critic? Do you berate yourself for every little thing you do wrong?
This kind of thinking has been programmed into me since I was a little girl. For years my automatic response was, “I’m sorry,” whether it was my fault or not. I always assumed the worst. I expected to fail. When I heard the whispers in my heart that I was no good, I believed it. Why wouldn’t I?
My entire life I’ve tried to be what people wanted me to be. I became a social chameleon. This led to years of heartache, abuse, and illness.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 NLT
Years of emotional scars cover my heart. Deep down I yearn to be strong and confident, but I stumble in my efforts.
In my efforts.
My mind has become a prison in which I hold myself captive. Why? Do I not hold the keys to my own cell?
This morning I opened my devotional to this entry:
“Strive to trust Me in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties.” – Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young
I timidly grope for my keys.
Is freedom really possible? What of all the struggles I’ve had? What about my failures? My scars? I don’t deserve to be free—do I?
Later in the day I ran across this gem from Pete Wilson of Crosspoint Church in Nashville, TN:
“I’m praying we’ll fight the temptation to be anyone other than who Christ has created us to be. I’m praying we’ll be real about our faults and our failures, our strengths and our weaknesses, our temptations and our trials.
For then, and only then, we’ll be living the life we’ve been designed to live.”
Then this verse came to mind:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Not only do we wrestle against old mindsets, but the very Enemy of our soul wants to keep us discouraged, afraid, and silent.
With January almost over, I resolve to stand up strong, unlock the prison door in my mind, allow myself to accept God’s beautiful grace, and move forward. Won’t you do the same?
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36
Let’s enjoy our freedom in Christ together, shall we?
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Aj is a blogger, bookworm, wife and mommy, and an author of children’s books, spiritual thrillers, and inspirational works. Aj’s blog, Shattered Perspectives, is dedicated to encouraging and helping women who have suffered and/or are struggling with abuse. In her spare time Aj can be found nursing cold Diet Cokes and searching for awesome bargains in nearby thrift stores. She resides in Florida with her husband, son, two dogs and the biggest diva of a Siamese cat ever, and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For media requests pertaining to Write Where It Hurts, please contact Aj at info@WriteWhereItHurts.org.
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