Freeing myself

I am slowly learning that I need to free myself from myself. I have placed many “should rules” over my life. I should do this. I should do that. I should’ve done that. You get it. Those should rules shackle me to an unrealistic and unforgiving standard. I need to breathe and let go. I can be a people pleaser. I can have an unrelenting standard. I can have more compassion for others than I do for myself. I claim to believe in God yet I don’t show even a fraction of the love that God has for me with myself.

I think our culture has beaten into us that showing oneself compassion is egotistical and wrong. I’m not talking about arrogance here. I’m talking about self-love and self-respect. Why is it I can feel empathy for a stranger, but not myself?

I am slowly chipping away at the wall I built to protect myself. I am finding that I only ended up trapping myself in. For example, I have a ridiculous list of tasks that I told myself I have to accomplish each morning, in a certain order. The reality is that most of the tasks can wait or they don’t need to be done at all. I also place rules on myself that constantly compare me to others and what I assume they are doing with their lives. I tend to think everyone else has it all together and that I am the only one who makes mistakes. That’s not true. We are all on this road of life and we all experience wrong turns.

As I journey into what will hopefully be a new, free life, I am anxious. I have become so accustomed to my wall that I have adapted to an uncomfortable comfort. My wall completely encircles me and I fear what’s outside. I wonder if I have ventured out before, only to run back to this unsafe safe zone.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

I have found that journaling, practicing gratitude, mindfulness, and learning about the cognitive distortions and lifetraps that shape my life affect my quality of life help me. This will be a long journey, but I have to go ahead and eliminate the should rule that I must hurry or be perfect.

Breathe. Breathe.

Let go.

Write down your should rules and work on letting them go. I know my wall is formidable, but I hope to have a breakthrough. I don’t want to give up. I may not feel like I’m ready to move outside of my boundaries, but I deserve that freedom. Christ died so that I can also enjoy life here on Earth. I hope you can enjoy life too.

Breathe.

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Time

I’ve been really busy lately and I haven’t been keeping up with this blog. Instead of writing, I have been using my free time to take care of myself. I have returned to things that bring me joy, like reading and listening to music. I am also spending more time with God and in His Word.

I am saying all of this to bring out the importance of taking care of yourself. I don’t expect my life to become any less busy, but I can make better use of my time. I used to, and sometimes still feel like I have to keep going and going and going. In fact I would feel guilty for not writing this blog. But I have to take time for myself. I get sick, we can all get sick, if we don’t take time to rest. Even God rested. I need to let go of that “should” rule that says that I have to remain busy. our culture glorifies busy and not rest and nurturing one’s soul, mind, body, and spirit. Our culture has also lost a sense of community. We are social beings and a sense of community is vital to our existence. We cannot do it alone. We especially cannot expect ourselves to be the Energizer Bunny while working and living in isolation. We can’t do it, at least not for long without consequences. How are you taking care of yourself today?

Here are some quotes to help you remember to take care of yourself.

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” -Andre Lorde

“You have permission to rest. You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try to make everyone happy. For now, take time for you. It’s time to replenish.” -Unknown

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown

 

Forgiving Myself

I have been told that I have an “unrelenting standard” for myself. I am hypercritical of myself. I don’t allow myself to make mistakes. Instead of learning from my mistakes and moving on, I analyze them over and over in my mind, judging myself to be a failure. The sad part is that I always feel that others are just as critical of me as I am of myself.

I frequently ask people if they are mad at me. They always respond that they are not. The truth is that I am mad at myself. I need to learn to forgive myself. I need to allow myself to make mistakes. I need to love myself and live.

“I have learned, that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, everyday, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw, you have to tell yourself “That’s just fine”. You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like.” ― C. JoyBell C.

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” ― Beverly Engel

“Bring it up, make amends, forgive yourself. It sounds simple, but don’t think for a second that it is easy. Getting free from the tyranny of past mistakes can be hard work, but definitely worth the effort. And the payoff is health, wholeness and inner peace. In other words, you get your life back.” ― Steve Goodier

“Be courageous enough to forgive yourself; never forget to be compassionate to yourself.” ― Debasish Mridha

“Forgiving yourself, believing in yourself and choosing to love yourself are the best gifts one could receive.” ― Brittany Burgunder

Be still

Psalm 46:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

I’m not good at being still. I always feel as if I should be doing something.I am either in a rush or I procrastinate and let things build up. I have to put effort into resting. That includes resting in God.

There is true freedom in resting in God. There is true rest in God. There is true peace in resting in God. It is worth the effort. Even if I just take a moment to be in the moment and whisper a prayer of thanks and worship. It’s so worth the effort to let go of trying to control everything or trying to figure everything out. The release is joyful. How do you rest?

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ― Augustine of Hippo

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ― John Lubbock

“Rest and be thankful.” ― William Wordsworth

I’m depending on You.

Lord, I am depending on You to open doors for me that no one can close. Lord, I am depending on You to carry and sustain me. Lord, I am depending on You for peace and comfort. Lord, I am depending on You to be You. I love You. I need You. I cannot depend on myself.

Thank You for being You. Thank You for being perfectly dependable. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for being trustworthy.

Jeremiah 29:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6 In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

What a week!

I have been busy this week working and dealing with serious side effects from a medication I was taking. For days, I couldn’t understand why I was so sick. I barely had the strength to do anything. I felt like I couldn’t go on. I could barely leave the house, for work or other things. My kitchen was also almost bare because I didn’t have the energy to go shopping. I could barely eat. I had to force myself to eat. I was crying to every day. My body was in pain and my spirit wondered where God was.

I prayed. My mother prayed. My friends and family in Christ prayed, but nothing for days. Then I remembered how people in the Bible would sometime pray facedown on the floor in humility to God. While I was weak physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I gathered the strength to humble myself. I got down on the floor and prayed. I said I asked what was blocking my prayers. I asked God if He heard my prayers. I asked for forgiveness. I said I wouldn’t leave until I received His peace. That is when He revealed to me that a new medication was causing the problem. Instead of helping me, I was suffering from serious side effects. I got up, got online and looked up the drug’s side effects and there were my symptoms.

I could be bitter about why my doctor didn’t warn me, but that is useless and fruitless. I must rejoice at my improved health and new hope. Oh, I am switching to a new doctor because my former doctor dismissed my findings. That is not bitterness. That is taking care of myself.

Never assume that you know it all. There is One wiser. There is One more powerful. There is One more loving. Trust in the One. God bless you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Troubled Waters

So my new job is not as advertised and I am struggling to report to work each day. I feel like my spirit is being broken. I need a reminder that I am more than a conqueror through Christ and that He has a plan for me, whether it is to remain at this job or not.

Today I need encouragement. I need healing. I need hope. I need victory. I need peace. I need prayer. I don’t want to feel crushed and broken. I want to be joyful and count my blessings. Lord, help me.

Ephesians 6:10-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Armor of God
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [b]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [d]God’s people. 19 And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should.

Footnotes:
Ephesians 6:14 Lit girded your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action or a coming event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. Before any vigorous activity the loose ends of clothing (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the wide band worn around the midsection of the body. The band (usually about six inches wide) also served as a kind of pocket or pouch to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
Ephesians 6:15 A reference to the Roman soldiers’ shoes which were studded with hobnails to give them stability on the battlefield.
Ephesians 6:16 Here the Greek word refers to the large Roman soldiers’ shield designed to protect the entire body. It had an iron frame and was covered in several layers of leather. When soaked in water before a battle the shield could put out the fiery missiles thrown at them by the enemy.
Ephesians 6:18 Lit the saints.

2 Thessalonians 1:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.