This morning I was reading the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. I decided to take a closer look at one of the eight beatitudes because I felt like God wanted to give me some insight on verse 7, “blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
The point of the beatitudes was to give vision to what the kingdom of God looks like here on earth. What does it look like to really love God with all your heart, soul, and strength? I believe that the answer to that question lies in the Beatitudes. There is something to be said about mercy in relation to learning what it is to know and love God.
When I thought about the words “for they will be shown mercy” the first thing that I felt God say to me was that when you show mercy to others, they might not always show mercy to you in return. That probably goes without saying. But, God does keep track of when you show mercy because he desires to shower mercy on his beloved. Part of learning to love God with all your heart is learning to recognize and receive the mercy He wants to give us.
As I thought about this, I realized, shoot I’m not very merciful to myself. I often hold myself to an unrealistic standard of perfection and get disappointed in myself if I fall short of perfection.
If I’m being honest, I often imagine the negative perceptions other people must have of me. If I don't measure up in my own eyes, it makes sense that a part of me believes I don’t measure up in other people’s eyes.
Can anyone else relate? I feel God challenging us to look at the areas in our lives where we are taking in a lot more self-judgment than showing ourselves mercy. Why? Because if you can’t be merciful to yourself and others, how will you be able to receive the mercy God has waiting for you? You can’t really.
Let's get practical for a moment, what does showing mercy to yourself actually look like?
1. Let God Into The Mix - If you've been reading this and can relate to not being good at showing yourself mercy, I would challenge you to go before God and ask Him to bring to your mind the places in your life where you are withholding mercy from yourself. The first step is to be able to recognize where you need God’s help to change.
2. Speak To Yourself Like You Would A Friend - Ask yourself, what would I say to a close friend regarding this situation that I'm being so hard on myself for? We are often more forgiving and uplifting towards are friends when offering comfort and advice then we are to ourselves. So think about how you’d speak to a friend and talk to yourself that way.
3. Stop Comparing. It's The Thief Of Joy - This is a big one for me. I am very guilty of making negative comparisons between others and myself, but it steals my joy every time. Instead, try making a list of the things that are special and unique to you. Invite God into this one as well. Get into His Word and find out what He says about you, better yet, ask God yourself what He loves about you and write it down.
4. Treat Yo' Self - This is my funny way of saying TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Self-care is really important because you can’t be your best self for others if you're tired, worn down, and feel like crap because you haven’t taken any time to do the things that refuel you and make you happy. This doesn't have to look like an expensive spa day either. For me, it’s as simple as swimming laps at the pool.
5. Take A Compliment - When you need encouragement ask your friends and family what good things they see in you. Take these compliments to heart and try to believe the nice things people say about you, even if you don’t always believe them about yourself
6. Kind Self-Talk - You is kind. You is smart. You is important. Okay, maybe not that mantra exactly, but saying encouraging things to yourself is a good way to put a halt to self-deprecating thoughts.
7. Feel Your Feelings - We have to be able to give ourselves space to feel what we are feeling instead of shoving it down or thinking, “I shouldn’t feel this right now.” Because let's face it, the emotions are going to come out in some way or another, and allowing ourselves time and space to feel what we are feeling is a healthy way to acknowledge we are human and we have emotions and that is 100% okay.
This guest post was submitted by Annie Starkey. If you have a story or piece you'd like to submit, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.