Kind to Yourself

“Be kind to yourself

Well, how does it end when the war that you’re in
Is just you against you against you
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too…”

When your greatest enemy is yourself…what kind of fair fight is that?

If you win…you lose. If you conquer your enemy…your destroy your own life. If you score a nasty throw down…you end up with countless bruises.

How many times do we stand battling…only to be truly waging a brutal war against our very selves?

Are you kind to yourself?

Am I? It’s something I’m growing in…slef-compassion

“Gotta learn to love your enemies too…”

The enemy who visits most often shares my bed, wears my clothes, looks at me critically in the mirror and speaks all sorts of nasty negativity that she would never say to anyone else. What an enemy.

What do you do when it’s hard to be kind to yourself? When the anger is directed from inside me at myself? When the enemy is invisible but utterly vicious and attacking constantly?

How do you put up a guard against the voices inside your own head? 

How does you learn to identify the voice of self-destruction? The emotionally cutting that regularly weakens your heart, resolve and confidence? The self-saboteur that pipes up in the worst possible moment to remind you why you aren’t enough?

I need to hear another Voice. A voice that is gentle. Loving. KIND. Gracious.

Amazingly all-seeing and all-knowing…and yet still KIND. 

Because the truth is – I figure that since I see myself, know all my thoughts, know the nastiness I hold back, know the smile I show when I’d rather say something mean…I have the right to judge myself, you know? I am an authority on my conduct…so I can determine how I ought to be treated, because of who I really am.

The thing is…maybe I’m not truly the authority on myself that I suppose myself to be.

…do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the Law and judges it.There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)

Could my words toward myself be considered self-slander?? I speak against myself…I judge myself. Yet there is only ONE Lawgiver and Judge – and honey, that Someone is definitely not named Bethany.

So despite my confidence in my own self-awareness and emotional intelligence…sounds like I should release this place of judgment I hold so tightly.

I have grown to a place where I much less often judge others, relinquishing that task into the rightful, loving hands of my God.

But…I suppose the perfectionist control-freak inside me has kept a tight grip on this task as it pertains to myself….surely He couldn’t mean that I let myself off the hook too? Certainly not – after all, I must aim to be as perfect as I can be, and how will that happen if I’m always nice to myself? Always encouraging myself when I really need to be put in my place? When I  deserve to be whacked up side the head? When I really screwed up this time? When I made every wrong turn possible?

That’s what grace is for, isn’t it? This is why His unconditional love is so beautiful.

Because if it were up to me or to you…this kind of grace wouldn’t exist. Not without a contract, an binding agreement, performance standards, quality control measures.

Because who does that? Agrees to love you without any guarantees? Without any protecting of self? Without a promise of fidelity and a pre-nuptial agreement just in case? Without attempting to control you? Without shaming you for mistakes, instead giving you countless chances? Without demanding that you meet their needs?

you-will-never-speak-to-anyone-more-than-you-speak-to-yourself-in-your-head-be-kind-to-yourself-mThis is why I love Jesus. Because He is unlike any other lover that has ever existed and ever will. The most loving spouse will struggle, but He doesn’t. His heart is sad when we turn away, but He doesn’t leave. Doesn’t remove His love, His kindness. He ever gently calls back, welcomes and draws in, speaks loving truth and grace.

Oh to live fully and freely in such love.

Could it start in how we treat ourselves?

Accepting His love for me, drawing me to let down my perfectionist barrier that makes it nearly impossible to receive that love in the first place. After all, when we don’t believe something about ourselves, it’s unlikely we will accept that truth coming from another, no matter how faithful and trusted the messenger.

Are you kind to yourself? What does your answer say about your acceptance of God’s kindness toward you? Bring this before Him today, and let Him teach you the beautiful way of His love.

You’ve got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean
And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well
I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice
You would rather be anyone else

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He made your precious heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit
Is pointed like an arrow at your chest
When the voices in your mind are anything but kind
And you can’t believe your Father knows best

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He’s shaping your heart

Well how does it end when the war that you’re in
Is just you against you against you
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

You can’t expect to be perfect
It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit
You belong to me whatever you do
So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies

-Andrew Peterson

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