If you’re a “She Blossoms” subscriber, you may have received my last newsletter – Your Heart Changes Everything – Blossom Tip 74 – twice. If so, I apologize! I often send my Wednesday newsletter to new subscribers on Sunday afternoon; this week I think I sent it to everyone by mistake.
I once found those kind of mistakes — though small and not terrible in the grand scheme of things — difficult to live with. I didn’t know how to make peace with myself, much less forgive myself. I’d beat myself up for days, wondering how I could be so stupid and what people would think. I carried the burdens of regret, self-loathing, guilt and even shame for days, months, and even years.
Things are different now. Not just because I follow Jesus and He’s happy to carry my burdens so I don’t have to, but because I am consciously choosing to let things go and make peace with myself.
Recently my church asked me to write an article for the newsletter. I called it “3 Tips for Sleepy Christians” — and after I accidentally emailed an extra She Blossoms newsletter to everyone, I realized how helpful those tips were to me. So I decided to share them with you, but with a slightly different twist.
How to Make Peace With Yourself
May you find these three ways to make peace with yourself helpful, encouraging, and inspiring.
1. Meet God’s gaze
When you find yourself lifting the heavy burdens of unhealthy thoughts, obsessive rumination, self-pity or self-hatred, choose to make peace with yourself. It can be as simple as returning the gaze of God. You don’t need total silence, a church pew, or even a Bible to meet God’s gaze. You can be quietly, humbly aware of His presence when you’re standing in line at the bank, watching your kids dribble, or waiting for the workday to be over so you can get to what “really” matters.
Remember when Jesus “looked at him and loved him” in Mark 10:21? That wasn’t a one-time thing for one man. If you follow Jesus, you can rest assured that God is always watching you with love and compassion, grace and pleasure. When you return His gaze you don’t have to worry about trying to make peace with yourself. You will immediately, deeply, perfectly feel His peace…and you can rest right there.
2. See God’s fingerprints in the celebrations and the crashes
Even our biggest mistakes, failures and regrets have God’s fingerprints all over them. Fingerprints are often invisible; special dust or ink is required for revelation. Sometimes you have to apply the dust yourself. Sometimes fingerprints are so thick you can barely see through the glass! Fingerprints don’t always show up right away. Sometimes they stay hidden for days, weeks, months or even years…but they were always there.
God’s fingerprints are all over your life, in the celebrations and the crashes. Maybe you’ve been struggling to make peace with yourself — or something you did, or something you didn’t do — for months or years. Maybe you have no energy to look in the mirror, much less forgive yourself for not doing more. You’re tired of fighting. That’s okay. You don’t have to fight. Simply meet God’s gaze and feel His soft, gentle fingerprints all over you and your life.
3. Savor it for 30 seconds
Did you know that negative thoughts and emotions damage every cell of your body? Even worse, they stick and are impossibly hard to shake off. Positive images and information, on the other hand, slide right by – whoosh! This is why it’s so hard to make peace with ourselves: we tend to briefly enjoy and quickly dismiss the beauty, joy and wonder of life. We shrug off the good, and immerse ourselves in the horrors, fears, possible catastrophes and worst case scenarios.
To make peace with yourself, take 30 seconds to deliberately and mindfully savor (delight in, enjoy, taste, revel in, soak up) something good in your day. I love my daily mug of chocolate chai tea (with a spoonful of cocoa). I love the feeling of publishing an article on She Blossoms. I love seeing my community group eat my husband’s pulled pork and mashed potatoes. I love not cooking. What do you love? Savor it for at least 30 seconds. Give your mind, body, and spirit time to absorb that which is good, true, holy and beautiful.
Making peace with yourself is about awakening to the beauty and joy of life — the life Jesus died to give us. It’s about meeting God’s gaze in the ordinary moments, responding to the nudges of the Holy Spirit, and following Jesus home.
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