“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…”
― Cheri Huber, There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate
As you can see by my blog picture, I had a horse. Old Pete. He was a forgiving and very affectionate horse and did not cause my fall. I fell off him once because I forgot to check the cinch on my saddle. Pete stopped knowing I was dropping to the ground. Pete was embarrassed for me so he got a little extra grain for his forgiveness. By the way, I always check my cinch after this humiliation!
Do you promise to stop a bad behavior, develop a new habit (exercise for me), read the Bible more, pray more, stop an addiction, love more, be accountable and on and on? And when you mess it up, you berate yourself, beat yourself into submission? It doesn’t work.
- Developing new habits and attitudes is never one-and-done. Willpower goes so far, in my case, not far at all. We start off with high hopes and determination, which is good, and then slip and give up. Acceptance that change is painful, arduous and a learning experience is so important to remember. Change is a learning experience with bumps in the journey. Little tots fall a lot when learning to walk. Adults do too.
- Doing more than one goal is overwhelming and a set-up to fail. I’ve known people who, in good faith, quit drinking, smoking, overeating and spending at once! Whew! Then beat themselves with over-exercising, carrot sticks and eight glasses of water a day. This borders on abusive, at the very least, self-punishment. God holds our hand. We drag out our paddle! One thing at a time builds confidence in our faith and ourselves then we can attempt another.
- Not having a trusted person for accountability. If we don’t share with a trusted person what we’re attempting to change, maybe we’re not ready. Maybe they’re not the right person. Fortunately, we have a Father we can confess this too and he starts the transformation.
- If our Father has compassion for us, shouldn’t we? Self-compassion is a beautiful thing. When we are compassionate toward ourselves and what we’re attempting, it pours out onto others. Beautiful grace.
Remember the verse in Romans where Paul grapples with his humanity, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I’m sure we’ve all been there and will again. He struggled too! But the hope is our transformation in Christ. Paul later in his letter passionately gives thanks that we are delivered by Jesus. He is the way. Only way. Look at the miraculous transformation in Paul. Jesus can do that for us too.
We lay our burdens down. We rest in you and your promises. We thank you that the only way we are changed is in your merciful son. Help us to truly grasp the peace that comes with your eye on us and your hand in ours.