“There’s a place of grace that allows me to love myself the same way I love others.”
Truthfully, I’d never pondered this verse quite like that before, because I think that might mean I’d have to focus attention on the voices inside my head. Session 3 of Illustrated Faith’s revival camp challenges us to love ourselves as dearly as we love others; moreover, it gives us permission to banish the condemning words that swirl in our minds and hearts. It’s hard to believe that a tiny one-page devotional can rip you open inside, exposing a menacing cloud of self-doubt. Boy, was I wrong!
You see, I’ve been living in a dungeon of thoughts my entire life; an anxiety and guilt-filled thought dungeon. From an early age, my life was littered with a handful of men that shaped the way that I speak to myself; they determined my value. A decade of mental warfare left me bruised and broken, and most of all, left me as a monster, determining my value based on how well I pleased others. In fact, as we speak, it wreaks havoc on my marriage. I toss and turn in my bed at night (next to my handsome boys), feeling guilt and filled with anxiety about things I said or did years ago; every little word and every little detail a punch to the gut. My head is filled with an endless debate on whether I could have been better or behaved more pleasingly. Maybe that’s the Holy Spirit convicting me; I’m not sure.
The dialogue in my head is like a devastating twister ripping through my self-esteem, my relationships, and the Holy Spirit living inside me. The Holy Spirit reverberates inside of me like a deafening echo, but somehow my worldly view of myself still takes precedent over His sweet, sweet words. I can feel Him changing frequencies inside of me, hoping to break through that menacing cloud, and I know one day He’ll succeed. That’s a hope that I carry with me; one day he’s going to wipe me clean, and I will abruptly see myself the way He does. Each year that passes I learn slowly and sluggishly to love myself with the same fervor that Christ has taught me to love others.
I pray that His echo increases in frequency to a point that He’s no longer an echo; He’s a thundering loud speaker in my heart and soul, banishing every negative thought and pleasing tendency to anyone but Him!