What I Learned This Week: Dealing with Self-Hatred That You Didn’t Know Was There

God has been trying to reveal to me exactly how I see myself, and in order to do that, He has to let me fail.  He lets me do things my own way instead of the right way that He has shown me. He never forces me to learn my lesson – He just lets me live with the consequences of my disobedience, or sometimes sheer laziness.

I started out on a journey over 3 years ago to get victory over my eating disorder, which I believe I have.  I don’t binge and purge any more, I am relatively moderate in my eating and exercise. I don’t eat for every emotion I have.

However, I have been losing my victory over weight loss.  I lost 55 pounds at one point over 2.5 years, but I have regained 35 of it.  The problem this time is not eating too much, it is eating the wrong things.  I know full well how to eat – I ate Vegan for 2 years and it worked wonders.

But when my dreams of what my life would be like after losing weight didn’t come to pass, and my life was just the same, I fell back on my self-comforting foods, and the result has been my weight gain.  In other words, I still had the same hurts and debilitating beliefs in my life, and the weight loss didn’t fix those.  Now, God is making me face those horrible thoughts and feelings, bringing me face to face with the realization that I bring those with me wherever I go, at whatever weight I am.  THOSE are the real problems, NOT my weight.

I am dealing with a combination of regret, fear and self-hatred right now.  “Why did I allow myself to get to this place?  What if I cannot break out of this pattern and change myself?  What if I am always this way?  If you could only control yourself, you wouldn’t be this way!” These are the thoughts that plague me today.  I look at myself with disgust and I can feel the self-hatred.

Then I hear God saying, “This is what I wanted you to see – your self-hatred rises up when you don’t like what you look like.  I don’t want there to be a shred of self-hatred in you, regardless of your appearance.  I want you to see why you hate yourself and be healed of that, not hide behind a false reason not to hate yourself.  You know that I don’t judge you on your looks.  I love you because you are my spirit-child, so you are not judging yourself based on my standards.  Whose standards are you judging yourself by?”

I hear in my spirit, “Oh, foolish Galatians, who is it that bewitched you?  Why, when you started with the truth, are you now following after a lie?”  Holy Spirit whispers, “What does the Father say about you?  What do you know to be TRUE? What have we taught you?”

So, deep in my soul still lurk the roots of self-hatred, borne of seeds of judgment sown in my life by others. I swallowed those seeds thrown at me by others, by society and by people I knew personally.  And I have let those roots grow deep in me, and now they are like the roots of California redwoods – massive and seemingly indestructible.

But my Father will not allow those roots to remain. He is determined to rid me of them, but I will have to do the digging to pull them up and destroy them. That means I have to feel when I stumble over one through painful or uncomfortable emotions.  Then I have to dig down to see where it comes from and spend time getting at it and cutting it out.  These roots have been there for decades, they are not coming out quickly, nor necessarily all at one time.  I will have to chip away at them over time.

So in the meanwhile, I’m going to share with you the ways I am fortifying my mind to believe the truth of God so I can continue digging up my roots and pursuing my healing. These are my ABCs for today, and they soothe my soul and help me return to faith in God, that He will complete the work which He has started in me, and that my past does not determine my future.  He loves me, and I am to love myself, not hate myself, and treat myself with loving-kindness and tenderness.  I hope these will help you to love and treat yourself with tenderness as well, while simultaneously transforming you by the renewing of your mind.

I feel like I’ll never conquer my problems because I haven’t succeeded in the past, BUT GOD SAYS that even though Penny hasn’t achieved it yet, Penny is to focus on one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.  Phil 3:13

I feel so ugly and ashamed of my appearance, BUT GOD SAYS that He does not look at Penny’s outward appearance. He looks at Penny’s heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

I just don’t see myself ever changing, BUT GOD SAYS that He is faithful. He’ll complete the good work that he has begun in Penny. Philippians 1:6

I want to comfort myself with food right now, BUT GOD SAYS Penny’s stomach cannot be her God. (Phil 3:19)

I really want to eat things that are bad for me, BUT GOD SAYS that Penny does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

No matter how much I consume, I still desire more, BUT GOD SAYS that He quiets Penny’s deep inner hunger because Penny is cherished by him. Psalm 17:14

I just can’t seem to get it all right, BUT GOD SAYS that Penny is to continue to work out Penny’s full salvation as God works in Penny according to His good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

I just want to do something for myself to feel better, regardless of the consequences, BUT GOD SAYS that Penny experiences true life when Penny denies herself, turns from Penny’s selfish ways and follows Jesus. Matthew 16:24-25

Sometimes I speak or act without thinking, BUT GOD SAYS that Penny is not to act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants Penny to do. Ephesians 5:17

I don’t feel loved or lovable, BUT GOD SAYS that He continually pours out his love into Penny’s heart by the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5

I feel so weak, like I’ll just keep giving in to temptation, BUT GOD SAYS that His power works best in Penny’s weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this, BUT GOD SAYS that God is Penny’s refuge and strength, always with Penny and ready to help Penny in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

I am so tired and weak right now, BUT GOD SAYS that He gives Penny strength when Penny is weary and increases Penny’s power when Penny is weak. Isaiah 40:29

I can’t see myself having victory in the long run, BUT GOD SAYS that because Penny places Penny’s hope in Him, Penny can soar like an eagle, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Your sister in Christ,