Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Don't Give Up!

My pretty daughter in 1999, on the cover of her 
university's viewbook. 17 years later she is the 
mom of 3 and weighs the same as she did back then  
One Hundred Days to Freedom is dedicated to my daughter, who is not now and never has been overweight. She is naturally slender, and appears even thinner than she actually is because she has a slender face and long arms and legs. She has never had a weight problem or an eating disorder, and has never worried about what she eats or how much she exercises.  And yet she says that One Hundred Days has drawn her closer to the Lord than any other book except the Bible.

This is high praise, but how can it be that a book designed to release people from the self-condemnation of overweight has had such a profound influence on my skinny daughter?  I promise you it isn't just because it was written by her mother.  

It's because my daughter and most of the rest of us struggle with self-condemnation. Our houses aren't organized enough, our garages are a disgrace, the yard needs mown and the laundry piles up.  Our children watch too much TV, we don't study our Bibles "enough," and we feel a sick despair that we will never have things the way they should be no matter how hard we try.

And here I am with two of my grandchildren. They are
going to outgrow their chubby cheeks, but I've had
mine my entire life!  
Some of us were programmed in childhood to believe that unless we met a certain set of standards, we would be rejected. Some of us have dysfunctional relationships with spouses or other authority figures who affirm our self-hatred by pointing out the many ways we fall short.  Others of us are able to sustain self-condemnation simply because we are so skilled at berating ourselves for our failures. 

In short, our eyes are firmly fixed on our own failings rather than upon Christ's great successes.  

The preface to One Hundred Days encourages us to be silent and listen for  "....the beginning strains of the melody of our freedom journey; it is the music of our love for God, love that is released like a hidden spring from our hearts by the power of His great love for us."

The secret to freedom from self-condemnation lies in taking our eyes off our own failings and placing them upon God's love.  

Here is a memory verse to begin our journey away from the despair of self-condemnation: 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:10-12  

When we focus upon loving God first and best and loving others as He's loved us, we are well on our way to freedom in Christ.  

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