Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
How UNTRUE that turned out to be, huh? Words are powerful! Words spoken (internally or externally) communicate information to our brains about how to feel, how to think, what to believe about ourselves, others, our circumstances and the world around us. And often the words that can have the greatest impact on our habits of mind are those that we speak to ourselves.
Sometimes, I speak words to myself that look like this …
I am TIRED, worn out, done.
I can’t DO that, HAVE that, BE that until … unless …
I am TOO MUCH (too slow, too fast, too loud, too quiet) …
I am NOT ENOUGH.
In my clear-headed moments, I know that these words spoken about myself are not true. And in my boldest moments, I dare to call them lies and to recognize them for what they are: the words that the great liar, Satan, wants me to believe about myself.
When I believe these lies, I am falling into the trap of self-rejection.
“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” – Henri Nouwen in Life of the Beloved.
Our core truth – our core identity – is Beloved. I am the beloved one of God. Yes!
I am LOVED by God.
I am WANTED by God.
I am CHERISHED by God.
I am PRECIOUS to God.
These are the words I want to live by. These are words of Truth, that empower, embolden, and enliven!
As we intentionally allow life-giving words to penetrate our hearts and minds, we slowly overcome our temptation towards self-rejection. Use the exercise that follows to intentionally claim the truth of your belovedness throughout the day!
- Pick an action you do many times a day (walking through doorways, washing your hands, checking your phone, taking a drink of water, and so on) and every time you do that action repeat to yourself (aloud if possible!): “I am the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.”
- At the end of each day, jot down a few words about what it was like for you to repeatedly state this truth.
A side note: We’ve been studying Nouwen’s ideas about self-rejection and the truth of our belovedness, using his book, “Life of the Beloved,” in our free online book club. Join us!
Copyright 2018 De Yarrison