Self Hate, Stinking Thinking, and the Habits I Love to Loathe
It is quite easy, much easier to think about the bad. The bad comes easy, sticky happens, and from that place of brokenness, it seems to get even more broken, and more sticky.
Our youngest son, Charlie, is four. He is a fascinating little guy. We met him when he was just three months old. He was injured. I held him that first night, all night. I remember praying big prayers, crying ugly cries, and wondering, how do things get so bad… so fast?
Things got better, harder, easier, harder, and better again.
He is fully our son, and yet, fully someone else’s son. I see things in him that are foreign to our DNA. At his birth family’s birthday party for him, my daughter noted he has the exact same shaped head as his brothers, and the same laugh, and an identical cry.
He has taken on some our characteristics too. But the truth of his creation still comes up now and again. A week ago he said, “When I was growing in your tummy did you feel me kick you?” I explained, “Son, remember the story? You grew in your birth mom’s tummy, and then there was a season that she couldn’t take care of you, and so we adopted you, and then I became your mommy.”
He gazed out the window and said, “That doesn’t sound right? My teacher says I was in your tummy. I remember being in dare, youm’s ate a bunch of burritos.”
Part of me wished I could confirm that story, I do like burritos.
Another part of me knows he has to know the truth of his past in order to face his future. And isn’t that the way of things, the old creates the new? Dwelling on the past or wishing it was different, regret, remorse, and all the ick that either drags us down or makes us… better.
Another one of Charming Charlie’s traits is his ability to make up songs… on the fly, constantly. Not too many days after I explained his adoption story I heard him singing in his room. “My mom isn’t my mom, and my dad isn’t my dad cause I is dopted.”
I rushed to him and told him that wasn’t the happy song of his adoption, and I helped him sing another one. “I gots lots of people who love me best, there is plenty of love from all the rest!”
He loves that tune, and we have been singing it a lot.
Four-year-olds are easier to sway with happy songs.
I confess this is the saddest and most discouraging season of my life. And in that dark space, I say dark things to myself. “Dumb-butt, fat chick, loser, this is all my fault…”
I caught myself alone in my car this week chanting lyrics of my folly. My friend Tracy Levison calls it “stinking thinking.” In my case, it was stinking singing. I quickly fashioned a song about my awfulness. Somewhere in the hymn, I heard a deeper voice pray… “Jesus, help me dig out.”
Immediately a car whipped in front of me. It was a black sedan with white lettering across the back window that read, “Exodus 20:8.”
A message from the Lord!
I pulled over and googled Exodus 20:8.
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
Thanks for that…
How is that the key to solving my problems, and how did this earn a spot on the back of a car? Why is this message relevant in any form or fashion??
I wanted to catch up with the sedan and beg, “Is this your life’s mission?? Because it really just ticked me off!”
Alas, I couldn’t catch the sedan. I drove home and chastised myself further.
“God has nothing to say to you… you are pathetic.”
Such hard words, so easy to speak, easier to believe.
I drudged through to bedtime, uncertain of what awful thing might happen next, fully believing I was the worst, and basking in self-hate, stinking thinking, and the all the habits I need to break but love to loathe.
Humming that familiar and icky song.
In the background, I heard the television hum…
“Happenings will never make you happy…”
“Philippians has the word joy in it more than any other book of the Bible, and it was written by Paul… from prison.”
“Be joyful, be of good cheer.”
“Rejoice in Jesus, not in your happenings.”
“Joy in the Lord, no matter your circumstances, and no matter the day. Not just on the Sabbath… Every single day. You must focus on the goodness of Jesus and be joyful and of good cheer. This must be your entire focus.”
I could hear the message faintly, I rushed through my face washing, and bolted to the living room to catch the rest of the message… alas, it was over.
But I know, it was for me… and you.
Yes, sometimes I rehash my past, it has brought me to this place. In this place I still struggle, things are utterly the worst… but I do not rejoice in the situation or condition of my life, I rejoice in Jesus.
I have read and re-read this post twice now. Here is the thing, it isn’t the best and it isn’t the worst, but it is the truth. What good does it do for me to write a message of hope as if hope is my constant companion? For if that were true of me, I would be nothing but another resounding gong that would distract you from the one who died for you.
I am so glad I didn’t make it out to see who preached the message on the television. Just as I am glad, I didn’t catch up with the black sedan. Here among the humans, we are easily distracted by shiny things. Further discouraged by the prison cell and the fascinating creatures that praise Him from behind bars.
I confess things are the pits.
I rejoice, He wants me to focus on Him.
If you are reading this… He wants you to focus on Him too.
Speak Lord, your servant is listening. We are listening, and we are waiting. Perhaps a “Christian” blog post should always dictate the wonder of my walk. My walk right now is less than wonderful, but I am proud to show my whole bum… for I am not the hope.
I am not the last straw, the weakest link, or the prototypical for your walk.
I am here, walking wounded, who halfway through this post was lead to confess, I am losing it… and He is for me, with me, and all about a future that He has paved the way for.
In spite of a good word that traveled from some random preacher under my bathroom door, I am still all Jami, all the time. And I am focused and diligently looking up and believing Jesus.
My song has to be all about the good in Him and what that creates in me.
I admit this is my goal – not my triumph.
This is my struggle, basking in self-hate, stinking thinking, and the all the habits I need to break but love to loathe.
This is my hope, Jesus.
The truth of my past helps me navigate my future, a future held in the palm of my Lord’s hand. From deep within this prison cell, even if it is just a whimper, my song is “Jesus.”
And all the choir hums… “Yes, Jesus.”
Keep on friends, I believe.
May your floors are sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produce character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope do not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
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