I had spiritual direction this week, as I do once a month. These are always good, sometimes intense, and have a cleansing effect, as we finish with confession. There is usually one point that sticks with me about each time. This time it was about self hatred. I didn't bring it up, and we didn't talk about it, really. It was mentioned in passing, and not in reference to me. But a teeny little lightbulb went on and I understood that this was something that runs as an undercurrent in my thinking. With it came the understanding that it was not the same as healthy humility or self discipline, and that at its root there is a lie. Everybody who deals with this may not have the same lie that plays in their mind, but mine is "you are not allowed to be happy." I know when and where it originated and the life I lived at that time is long past, but it has tendrils that reach into the present. It comes into play in all different ways; sometimes in how I approach my examination of conscience and confession, sometimes in the things I do to try and make that message go away or at least get quieter, for a few. But somehow, without really having addressed it specifically, God got a message through. It was this- " I accept you the way you are right now, today. I know the motivations of your heart; the wounds, the baggage, and the broken places that you suffer with. I am happy with you before you are completely refined. And if I am happy with you, you can be happy with you, too."
All that was just in a moment of understanding, I put the words to it to help convey it better. I could honestly say that I knew all that already, in my intellect. It just needed to sink a little deeper. It is good to be released from such chains, and I think it is only the beginning.
“Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
(NASB) Romans 15:7
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)