The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good News From Christianity: Overcoming Self-Rejection

One of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is self-rejection. When we say, "If people really knew me, they wouldn't love me," we choose the road toward darkness. Often we are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite of self-deprecation. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God's eyes and that all we are is pure gift. To grow beyond self-rejection we must have the courage to listen to the voice calling us God's beloved sons and daughters, and the determination always to live our lives according to this truth
Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey

Along with self-rejection comes hypercritical judgment of oneself. I've been there, done that, been miserable for it, and with God's grace gotten beyond that (with the help of friends and colleagues) to live a much happier life. If you make mistakes and rake yourself over the coals in a way you would never let anyone else, know that this is not the life you are called to live. If you beat yourself up this way, in time you'll feel so miserable you'll treat others in the same way. 

Seek to free yourself from both self-rejection and hypercritical judgment. Seek the help of those who love you and spiritual guidance of those trained to help. As Henri Nouwen wrote, you are a much loved child of God and God wants to journey with you through a beautiful (if sometimes difficult) life.

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