Punishing Myself

[Published first: October 17, 2006]

So here is a topic I have been conversing about with someone today. (I had to struggle to get that sentence to make some sort of sense… so forgive me if it still doesn’t “graph”).

Ever done this:

“I really should sit down and scrapbook these pictures… but I really can’t because I haven’t finished folding the laundry.”

“I promised to knit so and so that sweater and I really enjoy doing that, but since I haven’t done the dishes… I can’t.”

“MY muscles are just aching… I really want to soak in the tub in a nice bubble bath and read a good book, but I haven’t cleaned the bathroom in ages… Can’t have a bath until I do.”

Ever noticed you do this to the kids:

“I know you want to go and play with your friends… but you didn’t clean the bathroom to my satisfaction… Work before play!”

“Hmm, want to have a friend over to play, sorry, the house isn’t clean enough!”

“You didn’t do your homework well enough, sorry, you can’t go and play at the park with your friends.”

Wonder where you get your self-punishment behaviours from?

Here is some scripture I read to try and help with this situation:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour s yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18

Question… ever dropped everything to go off and do something for someone else? Something nice for them that would raise their spirits?

My question then becomes this, why then when you want to do something to bolster your spirit do you destroy yourself by punishing yourself because you weren’t perfect?

It takes a bit of a leap… but perhaps it is out of pride. “I” should have been able to do all of that work, and I didn’t, but “I” know I could have. I am going to punish me… So that I can do better next time.

It doesn’t help that we learned this habit as a child. The whole, “do it perfectly” business, which I have yet to see in the Bible…. IN fact, I have only found examples of God working in imperfect people. HE leaves the perfect humans out of the Bible. And… HE still blesses all of those imperfect people with pretty amazing lives!

Then in James there are some pretty amazing scriptures.

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honour.
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have not right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.”

Excerpted from The Message, James 3: 17 to James 4:3.

Ever spent time in prayer that “I might get this house perfect,” or “that I might come up with the perfect home-school schedule.” Etc?

Are these thoughts of God? Sure he wants us to try for our best… but it isn’t a requirement for salvation… If you repent, are baptized and believe… You are going to heaven… I don’t care what your church defines those things to be… the fact is, if you do… you are saved.

Give yourself a little of the mercy that God has granted to you… Are you denying yourself a few moments of enjoyment for God’s creation because you are fighting God for control?

I realize that this is a bit of a disjointed entry at the moment… it isn’t as smooth as I would like it to be, but that is because I have been writing this while the kids are still up and are in their be-witching hour moments of the day… Still… wink.gif

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