One of the most remarkable features of the human condition is our capacity to pretend that we are healthy when our lives are in total chaos.
We work hard to cover up our problems and flaws in our character. We will sacrifice almost anything to keep from facing the truth about ourselves. We work this hard to look good because we experience our human needs, limits and failures with deep shame - a shame that drives us to strive harder and harder to look better and better. We sacrifice our serenity, our relationships, our sanity on the altar of perfectionism. We also sacrifice any possibility of getting the help we need by continuing to insist that "we can handle it."
God does not ask such sacrifices from us. God has no need for us to be perfect. Jesus speaks to us gently but very clearly about this issue. He confronts our pretense, shame and perfectionistic strivings. He says in effect "you do not have to sacrifice yourself in this way. You do not have to drive yourself like this. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I want you to learn to be mercy-full to yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. It will free you to accept your need of healing. It will allow you to acknowledge your longing for me."
Jesus was saying "I did not come to pass out blue ribbons to the people who have all the answers and have worked hard to prove themselves. I came to bring hope and healing to people who know they need help." We can stop shaming and condemning ourselves because God does not shame or condemn us. God knows our brokenness, our pain, our need. We can give up our attempts to prove ourselves and acknowledge our need for help and healing.
Lord, I don't want to be needy.
I want to be strong for you.
But, I can't sustain the pretense any longer
I have nothing to show for all my efforts to look good.
All I have done is shut you out of my life.
Today I acknowledge my need for you, Lord.
I need your healing and your forgiveness.
I am not healthy.
I need a doctor.
I need you.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery