Those who know me best are very aware of one important truth – if I have large chunks of time to myself, I become introspective. I start thinking about what I’ve done right, what I’ve done wrong, where I could/should work to grow, what areas I’ve already shown solid growth in . . . you get the idea.
Not a bad thing, right? A little self-evaluation now and then can be very healthy. A little self-evaluation. HONEST self-evaluation. But somehow I always turn the corner from healthy self-evaluation to destructive self-condemnation.
It is so much easier for me to see my failures and shortcomings. And if I can’t find them on my own, the world will help. Whether it’s a basically innocent question about child-rearing choices, an online article about organic or paleo cooking, a blog post about the crafty, low-budget stunning makeover someone did on their home . . . there are plenty of places to find others who just seem to be doing life better than I am!
As if that isn’t enough, the enemy will come in and encourage what my father calls “stinkin’ thinkin'”. It’s that looped tape in your head that will turn on and run non-stop every so often.
“God can’t use you because . . . ”
“Don’t you remember the time that you _________? And you REALLY think God is going to forgive that?”
“You call yourself a good friend? Then why did you . . . ?”
“A good wife/mother/daughter/friend/sister would NEVER . . . .!”
And I’m off on a slow steady self-destructive line of thinking that leaves me wanting to hid in the corner of my closet with a blanket over me, hoping that no one ever finds me!!
The trick is learning to stop before I make that turn from healthy self-evaluation to destructive “stinkin’ thinkin'”. I wish I could say I had gotten really good at it but the truth is I give in to the destructive thoughts far too often. And that leaves me immobilized, unsure of what I should do next.
So I’m working to remember two very important truths. Truth #1 comes from Revelation 12:10 –
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
The enemy has a limited time to do what he is doing and then it’s over. I can’t give up the fight just yet.
Truth #2, from Psalm 139:14, is one I struggle so hard with (lousy self-esteem issues but that is a post for another time or maybe never!) –
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Please hear me – My Abba wants to see me grow fully into my true self, the way he sees me, and for that some honest self-evaluation and growth is necessary. But he does not accuse. Convict? Sometime. Teach? Always! But accuse? No. That is the job of the enemy and his time is coming.
So what next? I will continue to seek chances to improve my approach to life and get better at turning off the stinkin’ thinkin’ once it starts. Who knows? One day I may even be able to avoid it all together!!