Practice Inward Kindness

Practice Inward Kindness | August 25, 2023

Sometimes, we are guilty of being the plumber with the leaky pipes! We fix everyone else's problems but neglect our own. Think of it this way: We help others when needed, especially if they are grieving. We bring meals, make calls, and even give money if necessary—all admirable actions to take when someone is suffering. We get an A+ for showing compassion!

However, when it comes to our pain, ironically, we lack understanding. We don't allow ourselves time to heal or space to be discouraged. We don't rest and take care of our bodies like we should. We entertain negative self-thoughts and condemn ourselves for not being further along. Continuing down this path will only multiply our pain. Therefore, we need to come to a place of wisdom that says it's okay to practice inward kindness and make the daily decision to go easy on ourselves during and after adversities of life, particularly grief.

The concept of self-compassion is familiar, but its teaching is rare. In addition to being a proponent of self-compassion, I like the work of Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the study of self-compassion, who said, "Self-compassion is simply the process of turning compassion inward."
‌Knowing this, how do we properly care for ourselves? The work begins by understanding the difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction comes from God. Condemnation comes from the devil. The primary purpose of conviction is to point out something wrong in your life. At the same time, condemnation is designed to put you down. At its core, condemnation is a tactic of hell to make you more miserable. Thus, when you have those cynical thoughts about how you need to be stronger in your struggle and recover faster, that is an example of condemnation. But if you have the urge to pray more, go to church, or see a counselor, that's conviction, which is a good thing!

A verse that puts this into perspective is Romans 8:1, which says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

If you feel self-condemnation in the form of thoughts, that is not from God. That is your pride talking, and your enemy, the devil, is fanning the flame of those falsehoods. If you are in Christ, you stand forgiven of your past sins. Indeed, if God can offer forgiveness of wrongdoings, He can surely give you grace to recover from your troubles.

Listen, friend, you don't have to have it all figured out. You are allowed to cry, doubt, and even be confused when grieving or going through a storm. God has big shoulders; trust Him to sustain you and take the time you need to heal.

Once you practice inward kindness, you can trust God by leaning on Him. When we do this, healing is not far behind! Deuteronomy 33:27 says, "The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms..."

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