This ain’t gonna be pretty, folks.
I often write emails to dear friends of mine asking for prayer. And as I write them though, these are the thoughts pummeling me:
- Why would anyone care about your ailments?
- Why would anyone want to support you or your family since they’d already done that when you went to France?
- Other people have harder lives than you.
- Aren’t you being self-centered by sending out all these emails?
- Why can’t you be like George Müller and not share your needs? Don’t you trust God to provide for you? (Same voice that told me I wasn’t trusting God with my fertility when we “planned” our children.)
I used to think entertaining these thoughts was a holy act. If I could allow the pummeling, I’d become more holy, more aware of my penchant for sin. That awareness is good, right? It keeps me grounded. Keeps me in line.
The problem is, when I let those thoughts run amok in my head, I truly let my soul be injured. I start believing my worthlessness and forgetting how precious each of God’s children is, even myself. Instead of letting the Holy Spirit speak sweet words of conviction and encouragement, I have substituted my own harsh voice.
It’s a matter of control, isn’t it? I don’t trust God for my sanctification, so I take it on myself, believing that if I judge myself harshly, I will finally tow the line spiritually.
But all I’m left with is deflated defeat.
I preach about speaking the truth in love, but to myself, I speak a rather harsh-sounding truth, devoid of love.
Once the Lord asked me, “You can trust me with your sorrow. Will you trust me with your joy?” (Click to tweet) I can survive well when I assault myself, but it’s hard for me to cope when things go well. God wants me to be gentler on myself. He wants me to be brave enough to trust Him with my joy. (Click to tweet) To not worry so much about whether my head will get too fat, or that my attitude will get haughty. Isn’t God big enough to regulate that?
Oh to listen to that sweet, small, encouraging voice. (Click to tweet) To silence the unforgiving, harsh voice in my head. It’s a discipline, I know, taking every thought captive.
I wonder if I’m alone in this. Am I? Do you judge yourself harshly like I do? Do you listen to that condemning voice? How have you been set free? I’d love to hear your stories.
Want to learn more about living joyfully? Check out Mary’s audio retreat about finding impossible joy here!