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It’s Annoying That Self-Help Was So Demonized

As I was meditating this morning, the word “is” came to me.

I have never had a “word of the year,” but perhaps “is” is a good enough one to start with. I am always getting hung up over what isn’t, or what should be, or what could be, or what might be.

But is is where the rest is. The okay-ness. The is is where the be still and know that I am God lives.

Where does the stillness lie? In the God who is. The I AM who IS. The Lord who has made what is.

I get so hung up on the me that isn’t that I fail to love the one who is.

The life that should be, instead of the life that is.

The task that could be, instead of the one that is at hand.

The God that might be, instead of the One Who Is.

The eternity that will be, instead of the one found right here, right now, beginning and ending in each and every moment.

I told Alex a couple of months ago that future-orientation is difficult for me to find hope in. Some friends of mine told me about how they are striving to be "eternity-minded." I understand the premise but it sounds awful to me, and besides, the only place I've experience anything close to eternity is in what I think James Finley might call "the deathless presence" of the present moment.

It's always nice to find language that fits the experience you couldn't explain before it showed up.

I've been reading daily excerpts of The Language of Letting Go each morning. 

The quote that stood out to me today is this:

In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God's will and plan for our life. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.

So, here's something that is:

I'm frustrated about the way that self-care and self-help was always so demonized by the popular teachers I followed growing up. They always made it sound anti-gospel, something anti-Christ.

And yet the Scripture says to love others as we love ourselves. And I have always wondered how someone who hates himself is supposed to do that, or how a people-pleasing, codependent Enneagram 9 who is supposed to deny himself (👈 that keeps coming up and I want to dig into what it really means) and became accustomed to pouring water out of an empty bucket (nonconsenual taking) in order to be a servant who is nonetheless wicked and totally depraved could ever have his overflow of "love" come from... well... his heart?

But as I embrace myself — the one who God made, this God I can never wrap my mind around — I see that the fruit of that embrace is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control.

And although I questioned — yesterday — whether it is actually Satan concealing himself beneath the fruit of the Spirit in order to destroy me, I — in this moment — see that that is not what is.

What is is the Fruit of the Spirit, working Its way in my healing.

And so, this year, I want to devote myself to what is. And if that's in writing, so be it. If it's in anger, so be it. It is like she says:

"What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don't you trust? What doesn't feel right? What can't you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don't you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good?"

She is asking, "What is?"

Lord, help me to be faithful to the Truth in my answers.