Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kindness ~ Inside Out (Part 1)

"Why'd you do that again?"

"You can't seem to get anything right!"

"Here you go again!"

"You're so ______________!"

Sound familiar?

How offensive and  hurtful it is when others put us down, when we receive insults from strangers, "frenemies", or even people that that we know and love.  But, equally, if not more damaging, is when the putdowns come from our very selves. In fact, I would say, that negative self-talk can be the very thing that keeps us from
moving forward.

I'm not a psychologist, or anything similar,
but I've been caught once or twice in the perfection trap.

Wondering why this or that is not "just right",
lamenting for what could have been, but never was.
Regretting not doing what should have been done,
or doing what shouldn't have been done,
or what should or should not have been said,
or felt.  

(Whew, say that 10 times.)

Some how, some way, we receive and accept messages through so many different venues, not just through the media, that perfection is our only option.
Nothing less will do.
Not only do we insist on it for ourselves, we sometimes,
or maybe many times, make these demands on others,
 even the people we love and live with.

Of course, no one wants to admit they're a perfectionist, and neither do I.
But, when negative comments come creeping into my mind,
and those comments are directed towards me,
there's the evidence.

"I wish I could have been perfect this time, 
and once again, 
I wasn't." 

I've noticed that as different as we are,
we differ in the areas where we desire perfection..

For example, I may need perfection in my home, hair, shoes, or maybe brands.  Others may need a perfect education, profession, or career.

Although, in no way do I suggest that we settle for mediocrity or to leave things alone if they're needing help, but perfectionism is not the antedote for mediocrity. It's an equally, negative entrapment. Eventually, when we find ourselves falling short in one or many of these areas, we begin to think there is something seriously wrong with us,
or worse, someone else does.

So we quietly and secretly enslave ourselves to
a multitude of unnecessary expectations. When we inevitably cannot live up to them, self-criticism is imminent.

I'm sure, there are women who have been wise enough to stay clear of this trap.  I say this without any cynicsm or facetiousness.  I've met women who juggle mutiple obligations with energy, wisdom, excellence, and grace.  My hats off to you if this is you. However, I know there are many of us out there who struggle with the need to be someone that is impossible to be. 

So, how should we respond when are weaknesses go public?

I don't pretend to know all the answers, because by gosh, I don't.  But, I don't believe our weaknesses are meant to humiliate us. His word shows us that we are imperfect because we live in an imperfect world, the effects of sin. However, He does not expect us to endure sin or to carry our sin around like a sack on our back. Instead, He provided us with the power to overcome and triumph over our weaknesses.

He is ever so present, and magnified in our weaknesses and times of failure.  It is when we fall, if we allow, He will rush in to show Himself as healer and restorer and renewer of all that is broken inside us.  The most meaningful and life-changing experiences I've had with the Lord have been during times when He has had to nurture, discipline or rescue me from the corner I've folded myself in. The secret to tapping into God's strength is hidden in our weaknesses.

So, what have I learned to do when I mess up? 
I have decided that I'm going to treat myself gently, encouragingly, and forgivingly.  
If anyone is going to encourage me, it's going to be me.
Sometimes that may mean I need to protect myself from myself.
With the help of the Lord, of course, but it starts with a decision,
not a random one, rather an informed one.

Easier said than done,

Where do we even begin?

I think it begins with our core beliefs about who we are.

Stop by next time for Part II

I am delighted you stopped by to visit with me and chat about lessons God has, and continues, to teach me.  I'm not always a fast learner, more often than not, it takes longer for me to learn some lessons than I'd like.  Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit has not given up on me, and he won't give up on you either.
Dear Father,

I don't know what my sister might be going through today, but You certainly do.
If she is well, I thank you for your faithfulness in providing for her every need.  
If she is not, I also thank you because you are faithful to see her through whatever circumstance she is struggling with.  Infuse hope in her spirit for there is nothing impossible or too big for You.  

May today be a day of wonder, whether small or great, show my friend another glimpse of Your amazing Self.  

With All Our Love and In Your Name

I encourage you to stop by 

to receive more refreshment and inspiration.

Love You~

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