I am catching up with myself, having not blogged for a few days, partly because I am trying to change my routine, and partly because the black-dog has been whispering to me again! I really don’t know why I listen, but he/she creeps up on me without me noticing at times, I am not sure what gender to give this dog, because it has a number of different voices, often voices from my past, but probably most disturbingly it uses my own voice to put me down, to tell me I am useless and to keep repeating that in different ways. S/he also likes to accuse me, you are always irritable s/he’ll say, knowing that I am beating myself up for being irritable, or s/he’ll ask why I am not doing the thing I have promised myself that I will do, why aren’t you out walking, why aren’t you doing any painting, why can’t you engage in social activities, you are useless!
Frustrating, because I know that I am not useless, I had a lovely Facebook comment this morning thanking me for a poem, and a message from a friend thanking me for my prayers. I’ve had reminders of past creativity, and know that it is all still there within me.
But right now I am laid aside, I am finding myself in a season of rest and recuperation, but that does not make me useless, it just makes me human, we all need rest at times. My devotional today was the story of the woman caught in adultery, and yes it still riles me that the man – I assume it was a man, got off scot free, that however is not what struck me this morning, this morning it was Jesus words, I do not condemn you…
I do not condemn you! Such powerful words, with her accusers melting away the woman is left standing in front of Jesus and he does not condemn her, that feels to me so much more powerful than forgiving her, although he tells her not to continue sinning, she is quite simply not condemned, and is free to go. I wonder how she felt, one moment she was terrified and facing a certain stoning, the next she was told to go, to get on with her life, a fresh start lay before her.
When I condemn myself, and I am good at doing that, I want to remember her story, to see the accusers in my mind melting away, because I am not condemned, yes I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hurt people, I said inappropriate things, but I am not condemned. I have also done plenty of good stuff, but of course the black-dog doesn’t want to remind me of those things, they might build me up and encourage me. We are all mixtures of good and bad, light and shadow, and that is okay, because the miracle is that in daring to own that and stand vulnerable before Jesus we like the woman will find ourselves not condemned, we will be recipients of love and grace, and yes of forgiveness. I do need forgiveness and grace, at this point in time I need it for the way that I speak to myself more than anything else, if I speak to someone else harshly I am usually quite quick to apologise, but I rarely apologise to myself, I just burry the feeling and carry on. Maybe I need to write those words not only in my journal, but on a note to stick on my mirror, and another to put in the kitchen, and another… you get the picture.
I am not condemned, and I am not useless. I am a new creation in Christ, hidden with Christ in God…. time to give the black-dog a swift kick then!