Being kind to myself is a relatively new concept. Over the years, when hardship has come, my mode of operation has been – try harder, pray harder, guilt, shame, and assuming most everything is my fault. To be quite honest, I’m not as healthy in this area as I would like to be. But I’m trying. Points for trying? I hope as I’m typing reminders to myself, you can walk alongside me and find courage to be kind to yourself as well. Because the bottom line as believers, children of the Living, Gracious, and Most Holy God, our Father – His sacrifice of blood is not effective to heal us if we put up walls and reject His offer of daily, and deep rest.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How do we rest, how do we learn to be kind to our own broken souls? One primary way I have received grace to love myself in the midst of darkness is letting go of my pride, and accepting love and service from others. It’s hard, friends. It is much harder to receive, I think, than to give. But there is mercy from God that is healing when we allow the wound to stay open, and the salve to be applied. Covering the wound with a cheap dollar store bandaid (as much as I love dollar stores!), while blood oozes out the sides and scars build up is resisting (often in pride or shame) the love and grace God intends us to experience. I know this all too well.
I have seen over the years, as I’ve walked through darkness, that the pain can intensify when we resist His love. And so, what we may interpret as an unloving God, a God who does not care or notice our pain, is actually a God who is trying to get our attention so we will receive His love. And if that means taking drastic measures to do so – believe me, friends – He will break you until you know His deep healing mercy. I do not say that to make you tremble, but I say it to urge you to not resist Him. To urge you to cooperate with Him as He longs to heal you. For it is in His kindness that we find repentance, rest, and true Gospel living.
More in this series:
part two :: What the darkness taught (and is teaching) me
part three :: Loving well breaks the darkness (and a thank you!)