I was sitting in the hospital over the weekend due to having suicidal thoughts wondering why I was here again. I had just been admitted back in October of 2015 and put on medication, and after only 3 weeks I had come off the medication and had been handling my thoughts and emotions very well considering I was pregnant. Yet here I was again in the hospital seeking to be put back on my medication.
Needless to say I felt like a failure.
I felt inadequate as a wife because I was having a hard time handling life’s circumstances and stressors, I felt inadequate as a mother because I wanted to kill myself with my precious baby girl inside of me at 7 months pregnant, and I felt inadequate as a Christian because I had been neglecting my relationship with God.
As I sat in the hospital contemplating these things, my husband encouraged me to read my bible. He knew that I had been neglecting my relationship with God lately and that I needed some re-direction so he told me to read Ephesians 4 and that we would discuss it later. The verse that really jumped out at me and really encouraged me in that moment was Ephesians 4:29.
Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
This scripture is talking about how we should treat others but when I read it I realized that I should also apply this scripture to how I treat myself. I’ve been learning in therapy that too often we treat others way better than we treat ourselves, and I’ve been seeing how I’m much kinder when I’m encouraging and speaking to others than I am when speaking to myself. When I read Ephesians 4:29 I realized that what brought me into the hospital in the first place was that I was not edifying myself but I was in fact using corrupt communication against myself.
A synonym for the word corrupt in this scriptural context is the word debase which means to reduce in quality or value or degrade. I was basically degrading myself by telling myself that I was inadequate, that my husband would be better off without me and that my daughter would be better off without me, and that I deserved what I was going through for not spending time with God. I had lowered my self-worth with the words I was saying to myself instead of being gracious and using kind words to edify myself during a rough time.
After reading Ephesians 4:29 and gaining a new perspective I was then led to read Hebrews 4 and verses 14-16 really ministered to me.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
This scripture was impactful to me because I hadn’t been very gracious to myself especially since I knew I had been neglecting my personal relationship with God. Beating myself up and feeling like a failure in my relationship with Christ was causing me to self-sabotage my relationship with Christ. When I would realize that I hadn’t talked with God in a while or read my bible, instead of that realization encouraging me or pushing me to do it in that moment, I would beat myself up about the fact that I hadn’t done it which would cause me not to do it at all, and if I did do it I still didn’t feel like it was good enough since I hadn’t been doing it consistently.
Once again I was not edifying myself or being gracious to myself. Hebrews 4:14-16 helped me to realize that even though I wasn’t being gracious towards myself, I had a high priest who understood everything that I was feeling and going through and because of him I could go to God and obtain grace and mercy for my short comings. I realized that I didn’t have to beat myself up for falling short in any area of my life including in my relationship with God because I have the free and undeserved favor of God (grace), and I have his compassion and forgiveness (mercy).
Both Ephesians 4:29 and Hebrews 4:14-16 helped take burdens off of my shoulders that I had been carrying. I learned from those scriptures that I really do need to learn to encourage myself the same way that I would encourage someone else. I would never tell someone else that because they haven’t been praying or reading their bible that they are a failure and that they deserve what they’re going through because of it, so why would I say that to myself? If I can encourage someone else with kind words and point them in the direction of God’s grace and mercy than I should be able to do that for myself.
As I’ve been encouraging myself lately I encourage you to also encourage yourself in moments where you would typically beat yourself up. Instead of dwelling on how you messed up focus on how God still loves you anyway and work towards doing it differently next time.
Remember transparency saves lives,
Ephesians 4:25 – Put away lying, speak every [wo]man truth with [her] neighbor: for we are members one of another.
What areas do you typically beat yourself up in and how can you instead encourage yourself n those areas?
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