A couple years ago, out of the blue, I heard myself say outloud, “You’re fifty years old. It’s ridiculous that you’re still struggling with these things from your childhood.”

The last time I was about to attend a family function, my body was letting me know that despite all my best efforts, the anxiety was working its way through my system and setting up camp in my tummy, and I said to myself, “This is ridiculous. You love them. You should be able to handle a social interaction like this without feeling sick to your stomach.”

In the past, as in, thirty, twenty, ten, five, even two years ago, the self-interaction would’ve ended right there. I mean, the self-talk would have ended. But the agreeing within myself – heart, mind, body, will, soul – that I’m ridiculous, that I’m more broken than the next person, that I’m incapable of adult relationships, of healing, of feeling steady and whole, well, that would have all taken place and I would’ve moved on feeling a bit disappointed in myself, carrying shame into the rest of my day.

But here’s the beautiful thing. I didn’t just leave either of those interactions there. I spoke up. Yes, to myself. To the enemy. To the lies.

To the lie that I’m ridiculous for still struggling with childhood pain, I said, “Wait. Of course you’re still struggling with all of that. Those wounds have been lifelong. And they cut to the core of who you are. And you’re human. And you won’t be fully healed from all of that until you’re with Jesus face-to-face. But you’re more healed than you were a year ago, and you’ll be more healed in another year. And it’s all okay.” And then I went on with my day. And I felt a bit better and lighter and much less shame.

And to the lie that I shouldn’t feel yucky before I see people I love, I said, “It’s okay. It’s okay that you feel this way. Some of this is historical and it’s getting better but you (my body) are still carrying it. But you’re safe. And they love you. And you can be yourself. It’s okay.” And then I went on to see the people I loved. And I felt a bit better and more loved and much less shame.

Can I give you a little red flag to look for? If you hear yourself should-ing yourself, you might be in shame territory.

I should be able to handle this.
I shouldn’t feel this way.
I should be stronger.
I should be hustling more.
I should…

If you find yourself having these kinds of harsh conversations with yourself, try a couple things.

First, ask the Spirit to nudge you the next time it happens.

Second, say stop. Outloud if possible. In your head if you’re not alone.

Third, try to assess what’s really going on. Take some deep breaths.

Fourth, talk to yourself, to your body, to your heart, maybe even placing your hand on the tummy that’s upset or the heart that feels anxious, and give yourself a Truth-based peptalk, the kind you’d give a friend, with all the gentleness of a mother with a young child. Remind yourself you’re okay, that you’re safe, that you’re loved, that you’re fill-in-the-blank. Remind yourself that Jesus has healed you, is healing you and will one day heal you all the way through.

These steps aren’t magic. But they can help you move towards wholeness and healing.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:6

You’re invited to join me and other likeminded women pursuing Jesus and wholeness in my free Facebook coaching group, WholeHearted. And check out my podcast – All That to Say – for over one hundred episodes created to inspire and encourage. 

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