This week I realised that as well as complaining about the world out there, a lot of the negative, critical thoughts that have gone (mostly) unvoiced in my mind since I gave up complaining for Lent are actually about me. Things done or not done, said or not said. And it’s a tricky balance for a Christian because we are all aware, or should be, that we are sinners who mess up; the reason God had to make a rescue plan in the first place. So yes of course I’m rubbish at keeping it together. I wouldn’t need God otherwise. But I have been stuck in front of my own flawed reflection, and it’s not healthy.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, according to Psalm 139, and God knows all about me and loves me anyway, whether I’ve got it together or not.
It’s been difficult hearing my inner moaner revealing some awkward attitudes and expectations of life, God and the people around me. However, this past week has been more about hearing what’s wrong with me than anything else. Yes I’ve just repeated myself. Just one of the things I’ve been noticing and criticising more and more of late.
I have 8 days to go, I think. Who knows what cheery revelations they will bring. I can hardly wait. But – hold on, I seem to be complaining, don’t I. About complaining about I. See where this stuff can take you?
So I am resolved now to bring an end to this hitherto unnoticed habit of finding fault with myself. Of harping on my defects, and all the reasons I can’t do things. When I say this habit has gone unnoticed, that’s perhaps not strictly true. Others have noticed. My parents. My husband. My friends. Almost everyone who gets to know me, in fact. But I have not believed them before this week. Because I could not hear myself. This week it has been loud and clear. And, at times, very hard to bear. I realised that what may have started life as false modesty or shyness had grown into a deep valley of distrust of my own abilities. I need to climb out, but how?
This week has been one the most difficult yet. But I am grateful for it, even though I had no idea where to start my recovery until this afternoon. At my kids’ school assembly, a class of 1st-Graders shared what they were good at. These accomplishments covered diverse skills like bike riding, singing, playing Minecraft, hiding in small spaces (loved that) and making friends. And I thought, what a great exercise. Instead of finding fault with myself I can try listing the things I’m good at. Some days the list may be shorter than others. It doesn’t matter. Beats stabbing myself with a fork.