Lately there’s been a little too much elephant in my life. (See this post)
Too much fear and self-doubt and guilt that has invaded my life like an unwelcome elephant.
As soon as I wrote that the question, “What if I am worth hating?” no longer dominates my life because I know the reality is that I am loved, the gnawing fear began to creep back in. Suddenly I’m aware of my every failing and my every selfish thought. How I will never be good enough.
I’m acing legalism 101, but failing life. I’m coming unraveled.
Where has this unwelcome elephant come from? Who let in him the door to my heart, my mind, my relationships, and my sanity?
I’ve heard it said that sometimes persecution is a sign that God is on the move.
As much as I’d like to think these ambushes of opposition are a sign of God’s great work through me, I can’t help but wonder if it’s not also a sign of my own neuroticism.
Neuroticism—yes it’s a real word (although we still have dibs on “neurotica,” Emily)—is “the enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states…such as anxiety, anger, guilt, and depressed mood” and explains a lot about my life.
I’ve always found a way to doubt my strengths, to fear the future, and guilt away my joy. But the thing is, I had gotten better. A lot better. I was experiencing freedom and I thought the elephant was gone for good. That is, until I started writing about it getting better.
So in this recent bout of guilt and anxiety and grace stealing, I ask myself the question: why now? Is it because God is moving more powerfully, so the opposition comes on stronger, or am I simply slipping back into my naturally neurotic ways?
The only answer I can come up with is that it’s both.
I think it’s a sign that God is moving because I think that God is always moving. And I think it’s a sign of my own neuroticism because, quite frankly, I’m always neurotic.
The greater question is “what is my response?”
Like I said before, the only antidote to this fear, this self-doubt and self-hatred that can sneak in and poison our lives like unwelcome elephants, is compassion. For ourselves. A surrender to God’s grace when we really just want to be the ones controlling our need for grace.
Whether the anxiety comes from the accuser inside or out, I can choose to love myself. I can choose to accept God’s grace and relinquish my pride.
Today at church, my pastor encouraged us to ask the Holy Spirit to show us evidence of God’s love.
I echo that request. Holy Spirit, please help me to taste touch see hear feel know that I know that I know God’s love.
Love, please give me hope for a day without an elephant.