I’m learning something about being a peacemaker. This lesson has been a long time in coming, and I’m sure I will continue to learn it for the rest of my life. It is the lesson of making peace with myself.
I can’t tell you how many things I’ve wanted to change about myself. My hair, my height, my weight, the color of my skin, the way my voice sounds, the way I walk, my teeth – and those are just the physical things! Women can be so darn hard on themselves. We have the need to feel desirable, to feel wanted and loved, to be successful, – all while the world screams at us to be sexier and funnier and louder and thinner.
The world tells us there is something wrong with us if men aren’t lining up left and right to be with us. In a world where sex is currency, we feel like we aren’t valuable if we aren’t desirable. And most of the time, we don’t feel desirable.
We don’t feel desirable because we don’t feel like we are enough. We don’t think that being who we are is ever, ever going to be enough. We put the pressure on ourselves to work hard, be organized, multi-task, care for family, cook, clean, get a good education, have fun, be sexy, be pretty, wear more makeup, wear less makeup, dress differently, buy different things, eat and drink differently, the list goes on (and I mean it, the list of pressures we put on ourselves could fill up the whole internet).
When will it ever be enough? When will we get to the point when we are able to say, “I’m happy with who I am, I’m content with what I do, I don’t have to prove myself”?
I’ve fallen prey to the lies of the enemy so many times that I get into a rut of telling myself I’m not good enough. I can get so caught up in caring for others that I forget to care for myself, or on the opposite end I can become self-focused trying to become prettier, smarter, better. Either side of the spectrum is not what God has designed.
You know something? God has called His children to be peacemakers, and that includes making peace with yourself. Yes, you heard me. Make peace with yourself. Do it, I dare you.
Making peace with yourself is one of the most important endeavors of your life.
I say this because a lot of scripture is about making peace between ourselves, God, and others. A lot of scripture is about ceasing striving, about abiding in Christ, about loving others as we have been loved by God. A lot of scripture is about offering grace, living in joy, having patience and longsuffering. These elements are difficult if we don’t let grace change our own hearts. Being unkind, impatient, and critical to ourselves is still being unkind, impatient, and critical – even if the only person it hurts is ourselves. The fruits of the Spirit are not criticism, impatience, or hatred.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…” – Galatians 5:22
“Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called children of God” – Matthew 5:9
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18
I think most of us are just looking for permission to take it easier on ourselves. We desperately want to give up our self-loathing, but we feel that we just don’t have the permission to do so. We feel like we need to be hard on ourselves to survive, being self-critical is the norm.
Let this be your permission: you are enough.
Give up the self-hatred, the self-punishment, the self-loathing that leads to destruction. Make peace with yourself.
God has already given you permission – He says not to worry (Matt. 6), He says He will provide, He says to cast all of our burdens on Him (1 Pet. 5:7), He says not to be troubled because He has given us peace (John 14:27). There you have it. That is your permission. Cast your cares on Him, live in His grace.
In her book Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You, Staci Elderedge writes: “God does not live in a perpetual state of disappointment over who we are.” He just doesn’t. What does disappoint Him is when we aren’t experiencing the freedom and life that He has created us to live. Read scripture. He wants to give us abundant life, that is why He has commandments for us to follow, that is why He gave us His son Jesus Christ as redemption for our sin.
Abundant life. Doesn’t that sound nice?
I don’t have to run myself in to the ground trying to be everything for everyone. I am enough, just as I am. God’s word and His divine power have given us everything we need for a life of godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), if we abide in Him. Live a life of peace with God, others, and yes, even yourself.
Let this be your permission: live in peace with who God has made you to be.
And while you’re thinking about making peace with yourself, here are some songs to remind you of what God has done for you: