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Ways we punish ourselves

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By Dave Henning / July 14, 2019

“One of the ways we punish ourselves for not being more or better or thinner or stronger is by trying to squeeze ourselves — force ourselves, even — into all kinds of ill-fitting relationships.  With other people, with ourselves, with our pants.”- Leeana Tankersley, Breathing Room

In Chapter 21 (“Wear Better Pants”) of The Next Right Thing, Emily P. Freeman states that, in the midst of busyness, it’s easy to forget your center.  Piles of daily activity and shadows of shame often hide a portion of our self.

Therefore, Emily encourages, it’s helpful to find spiritual disciplines to help support you as you come home to yourself.  Yet, as author and philosopher Dallas Willard once wrote (Living in Christ’s Presence): “If a discipline is not producing freedom in me, it’s probably the wrong thing for me to be doing.”

Hence, Emily observes, practicing a spiritual discipline is about:

  • receiving power to live in the kingdom
  • being aware of God’s presence and intentionally putting myself there so He transforms my character
  • training my mind and will to put into practice what my heart deeply believes
  • knowing that God packs each moment with grace – sometimes, though, I need practice to see it
  • becoming the person I already am in Christ

In conclusion, Emily observes, spiritual practices help us to take time to honestly confront some of the small ways we disrespect ourselves.  That’s why Emily practices the spiritual discipline of wearing better pants.  Furthermore, the author explains:

“But wearing better pants (or an equivalent personal choice) is an accessible way to begin practice decision-making that has no consequence for anyone else but you.  Again this can be anything: a walk, an early arrival, a cup of coffee on the porch.  Any small thing counts if it helps to place you in God’s presence and reminds you that you are loved.”

Today’s question: How do you identify with the ways we punish ourselves?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the July Short Meditation, “The Ark Encounter – Noah walked with God”

About the author

Dave Henning


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