Years ago, I had crazy spiritual beliefs.
I believed that if I wanted to be a holy person, I should NOT trust myneeds. Because I figured my desires are most likely from the flesh, not from the spirit.
The message I received was this: “Fear yourself. Fear your desires. Fear your selfishness. Don’t trust yourself. Instead, trust God. Trust your group. Trust your leader. Trust the system…” (This is the reason why there is so much spiritual abuse happening in religious groups.)
Oh, what a terrible thing to believe!
Priests, preachers, and pastors love to emphasize this message: “Don’t trust yourself!” Directly or indirectly, they will ask their members to simply rely in the leaders’ wisdom and decisions. Unintentionally, they produce people who are infants in their emotional and spiritual growth.
Instead of freedom, religion shackles us to immaturity. (God calls us to be childlike, not childish.)
God Trusts You—
When Will You Learn To Trust Yourself?
Instead, we need to hear a new message.
What message? That you’re made in the image and likeness of God! That you’re not just good. You’re very good! So trust yourself because God trust you. He trusts you by calling you His child. He trusts you by planting His Kingdom in you. He trusts you by dwelling within you. He trusts you by commissioning you to be His presence in the world. He trusts you to love the way He does…”
Wow! (Believe me, when I pray, when I read the Bible, when I listen to God’s voice in the depths of my heart, I say “Wow!” many, many times.)
And one way of trusting yourself is to trust your needs.
Not your sinful needs. (That’s what you need to deny.) But your legitimate, valid, and God-planted needs.
Meet those needs. Even your need for joy.
Some people view all pleasure as bad. Their unwritten motto: “If it feels good, it must be bad.” That’s not true.
I believe life was given by God to be enjoyed to the full. To be savoured with delight. So taste. Breathe. Relish. Dance. Sing. Live!
When we enjoy life, we allow others to enjoy as well. (Ever wondered why some religious people are so stuck-up, they don’t allow anyone to enjoy life?)
What is Draining You?
Get Rid Of It If You Can.
I don’t intend to write a complete list of how you need to care for yourself. (I’ll do that in another essay.)
But here’s a question I want you to ask yourself: What is draining you?
What person, thing, activity, group, habit, situation, and places in your life drains your joy and life and energy and holiness? What sucks your happiness?
If it’s something that’s part of your sacred purpose in life, then deal with it. But if it’s not, get rid of it!
By doing that, you’ll grow up and have more life and energy for the right things that God wants you to do.
In other words, I’m asking you to set your boundaries.
Love The Sinner And The Saint Within
We’re tempted to only see the sinner in us.
Remind yourself that there’s a saint in you too.
In my last birthday, I had a few parties among close friends.
It has been our tradition that we honor birthday celebrants—so it was my turn to be in the hot seat.
I have to be honest with you. It’s always unnerving to be honored by friends for an hour—but after awhile, I felt my Love Tank filled up.
For example, one friend recalled how I helped him during a time of need. (I did? Really?) Another friend shared how she was so touched by my compassion. Another friend honoured me for how I stood by him even when everyone else rejected him.
I wish the camera was on! So that I could replay them and I could hear them again—especially during times of self-doubt. When I feel bad. When I feel I’m not worthy. (Yes, I go through those times.)
This is a universal experience.
Let me end by sharing a beautiful story I read in the Chicken Soupseries…
Remind Yourself That You’re A Saint Within
One day, a teacher asked her students in class to write the names of the other students on a piece of paper. “And leave space between each name,” she instructed.
When they finished, the teacher said, “Underneath each name, I want you to write the good things you see in that person.” Immediately, the kids busied themselves with the task and took the whole class to finish it.
The teacher took the papers home and collated the material. On one piece of paper per child, she wrote all the positive qualities written by their classmates.
On the next class, she handed out the papers to the kids. They were very happy to read the letters. “Wow, am I really this person?” some of them gushed.
Many, many years later, the teacher received a phone call. One of her former students, who had become a soldier, was killed in battle. Would she want to attend the funeral?
She went and saw many of her former students condoling with the bereaved family. As she stood beside the coffin, looking at the lifeless body of a young man in uniform inside, a middle-aged woman approached her. “Are you my son’s grade school teacher?”
“Yes,” she said, “you must be his mother. My deepest condolences.”
“I’d like to show something to you,” the mother said. “My son had this inside his wallet when he died.” She pulled out a worn-out piece of paper. It was obvious that it had been folded and unfolded many times.
Even before it was opened, the teacher already knew what it was. It was the piece of paper that contained the list of positive qualities his classmates saw in him. Kept and read all through the years.
By that time, her other students had gathered around both of them.
A young man beside the teacher said, “Uh, I carry mine wherever I go too.”
A woman from behind said, “I still keep mine. It’s in my diary.”
Another man said, “I display my list on my desk at home.”
Another woman said, “It seems like all of us kept that paper all these years!”
The teacher was moved beyond words.
Why would a simple piece of paper mean so much?
Because here’s the truth: Life can be rough. At various time, it can even be cruel. Every time we fail, every time we receive criticism, every time we get rejected, we doubt our worth. We doubt our goodness.
We are very desperate for love.
We need to love the saint within us.
Friend, love yourself.
Each day, celebrate your positive qualities. Celebrate your goodness. Celebrate your beauty.
Thank God for how wonderful He made you.
Love the sinner and the saint within.
May your dreams come true,