Sunday, September 7, 2014

Trading Self-Harm for Self-Worth

As I’m writing this post, I have just celebrated 100 days clean from self-harm. I have not cut, burned, or bruised myself since May. Yes, I am thankful for this achievement, but to be honest milestones scare me. To me they represent how much harder I’m going to fall if/when I mess up again. This morning I texted a friend, “I don’t think I need to cut anymore.” But right now, I’m not in crisis. Sure, I still have things going on in my life. Relationship issues, especially with my family are a constant concern and very heavy on my heart. I am still texting another friend daily about taking my medicine, because I am not at the point where I will without that support and accountability. However, my new job is going well, I have an amazing support system, I feel happier being by myself—more confident and independent, and I’m able to keep my house up much better than I have been able to in years. My relationship with Jesus is strengthening and growing, and I’m learning how to say “no,” take breaks, rest, and not to feel guilty about asking for what I need from my close friends. As Lysa TerKeurst said in her new book, The Best Yes, “Saying yes all the time won’t make me wonder woman. It will make me a worn out woman.” I am so thankful, and incredibly grateful for this season in my life.

Recently, while I was reading through some articles, I came across this truth that said something to the effect, “Be thankful for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.” I’m thankful, I truly am. But, I’m not giving up on fighting for what I hope to be—whole, clean, at peace with my family, a better friend, recovered, physically and mentally healthy, and totally obsessed with my Savior. It’s a process, I know, I know. And, I also realize the majority of those things I’m fighting for are things I will be fighting for my entire life. But, I do have hope. I feel stronger every day. I feel loved and supported. I am leaning into the strength, hope, and love I believe I can only find in Jesus by studying His Word, spending time with Him, working on constantly communing throughout the day, and receiving grace for each day—one day at a time.

I have no idea what the future will hold. I pray I hold onto His promises and do not fall into the addicting cycle of self-harm, guilt, avoidance, and shame again. Lately, I am spending a lot of time in the Psalms, and repeating to myself Psalm 139: 14,I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I know when I hurt myself, it is more than just hurting me. I also hurt the ones I love the most. I hurt God. I inadvertently hurt my students by not being 100% there for them. Although before I knew hurting myself didn’t really solve my problems or help me express my feelings, I am understanding that in a different light now. I am not naïve to the fact that I very well may fall again. The statistics are not in my favor. But, I know if I do, I won’t stay there. I now know life is so much better and fuller without it. I don’t want to hurt my loved ones. I don’t want to hurt myself. I don’t want to hurt Jesus.

So today, although you may not specifically struggle with these particular “ashes,” I can say almost certainly that you know someone who does. I hope this post has helped you better understand the daily battle and feelings behind self-harm. I pray that compassion grows in your heart and you love your friend or family member struggling so much that they feel hope and can begin to heal and recover. That is how I began healing—not because my friends shamed me into stopping, but because they held me, cried with me, looked at my scars, and spoke life into me through both their words and actions. I cannot tell you how much a card, a kind word, a hug, or a meal out means to someone who feels like they are not worth loving.

If you are struggling with these ashes, you can shake them off and find the beauty in them. Scars show healing. Scars can remind you of what didn’t work—the hurt, but then the recovery—the hope. Be thankful for your rock bottom, because that can become a solid foundation for you to rebuild your life. Find the people or perhaps person in your life that you can trust and be completely honest with. Prayerfully seek these friends. You should seek someone who you can be real life with every single day. Sometimes there are people who will not be able to be there for you. Let them go, but don’t lose hope that no one will love you. There are people who will understand and love you unconditionally. Even if you are not ready to share yet, know your Heavenly Father understands you, hurts when you hurt, and loves you no matter what. Rest in Him and remember you are being held in the palm of His hand. Trade with me the ashes of self-harm for the beauty of self-worth. You are worthy. You are made in His image and do not need to hurt yourself. He already took all your hurt and scars. You are worth that and so much more. You are loved by the Maker of the universe. Now, I can confidently say that is without a single doubt worth the trade.  


With love and the hope of healing, 


1 comment:

  1. Firstly, high five for 100 (now 102) days self-harm free!

    Self-harm is a very difficult topic to explain, especially to people who have never dealt with it. I think you did a masterful job of handling it. My self-harm issues cropped up again recently. It always helps to hear someone else be open with their issues.

    As always, you are an inspiration.