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Life With Self

“How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” Augustine

“Self-awareness involves deep personal honesty. It comes from asking and answering hard questions.” Steven Covey

I had a long week with a few disappointing conversations. The last thing I wanted to do was host dinner Sunday night with a couple I know and love dearly. Instead, I wanted to hide. This bothered me, yet I sucked it up and carried on like the strong and happy person I was expected to be.

Which is my typical pattern. Except something that day nudged me on the inside to take a few moments and really ponder what was underneath this iceberg and do a self-examen.

I was becoming braver. God’s love and acceptance was inviting me to take a look at some hidden pain. I am learning that as He invites me to do this, it is not some sort of “sin hunt” but to bring me back to the center of who I really am----His much loved child who can be honest about what she is feeling.

This is true salvation and it is bringing more and more freedom into my soul as I consent to His love.

I rehearsed the disappointing conversations again and heard God ask me, “Beth, what were you looking for?” A sting of tears welled up and immediately I knew—connection.

I had walked away from those meetings feeling more disconnected and unseen than I had hoped for. I wanted so badly for these persons to “get me”. Let’s face it---putting ourselves out there and getting blank stares, or no words to affirm, does take its toll. And my hurt heart needed healing before I was willing to do that again.

God reminded me to re-read Matt 5:3, a verse that jumped out to me earlier that week. “What happiness comes to you when you feel your spiritual poverty.” Happiness. Feel. Spiritual Poverty. I had never considered those 3 thoughts to be related! Yet, I heard God say—"feel your spiritual poverty, feel your inability to be connected at the level you desire.” As I did, I began to feel His understanding of me…and the pain that He too experienced, when no one in the world understood Him fully. I was sharing in His suffering. The union and connection I desired was actually beginning to happen between Jesus and me.

On my journey to emotional health, I am realizing there is only one remedy to gain what I desire: looking a little deeper with Him as I explore more fully my true self. I will always find acceptance, understanding, love.

Here are a few “life with self” practices---

  • Be self-aware of what you feel, why you feel it, and how you respond

  • Understand common emotions such as: sadness, anger, happiness, fear, shame, disappointment

  • Break the power of the past by understanding how your family of

origin and the wounds from the past have shaped you

  • Grieve losses and changes through life

  • Embrace your limits

  • Set healthy boundaries

  • Be vulnerable and transparent

  • Live unhurried

  • Practice self-care including rest, activities that cultivate joy, being with friends, and intentional times of silence

  • Talk about these issues with a spiritual friend or spiritual director

Happy July 4th and Happy Feeling Your Emotions and the freedom that self- awareness brings!

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