“Be kind to yourself.”
In my career days of meeting with those bereaved by suicide, these were my words, “Take it easy on yourself.”
Same with women who acknowledged mistakes and were trying to move past them, without their pasts causing shame.
Years later, I’m still saying to others and mostly to myself, “Be kind to yourself.”
This morning my mind goes back to the ugly work of shame.
Shame, when you feel unworthy, humiliated, powerless is an internal emotion tied to a circumstance or behavior.
Strangely, it’s a feeling we decide on, either because we have the sense we shouldn’t feel a certain way or we’ve felt that way for what we decide has been too long.
I thought of a feeling, a sadness I was convinced I shouldn’t have and I told myself embrace it, acknowledge its understandable place in your life now and most of all,
Understand that acknowledgement brings healing.
Talking to God about it and at least one other listening friend is freeing.
Denying sadness, fear or hurt because we convince ourselves we shouldn’t feel them only adds injury to the loosely bandaged wound.
Pretending stunts healing, numbs the work and wonder of God’s purpose in our acceptance of the circumstances we wish were not ours.
The hard things we deny being still hard only harden us.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He knows anyway.
Refuse to be ashamed of your feelings.
Last week, I communicated with a stranger about anxiety and depression. It helped me to offer help to her. It helped me to hear the familiar words, “I usually just keep this to myself.”
Nothing shall hurt you.
That’s a big, hard to fathom promise. It follows the reminder of the power within us, prayer and connecting with God’s spirit in us, even as Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven.
This morning, I got a text from someone I only know by phone, asking about counseling for anxiety and depression. I gave her a list of people I know and added “I understand and my weapons are patience with myself and prayer and more prayer and more prayer.”
Because, if we get tangled up in why am I depressed or anxious we’re only piling on more anxiety and depression.
When we pour it all out in prayer, the scary, sad or lonely question, we invite the power of God in.
We get better this way or we seek counseling and possible medication.
Either way, we grow when we know ourselves, can see it coming for good reason or out of nowhere. We employ our faith, we add to it as needed.
I found this verse by what I thought was accident this morning. No accident though, there are no coincidences or lucky discoveries with God.
“He knows all about this.” is another phrase, a tool against anxiety or depression that I employ.
Continue and believe.
Be kind to yourself, unashamed.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5 ESV