Posted by: Kara Luker | October 28, 2022

Freedom from self-hatred

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

If you’ve read even a handful of posts from my blog, you probably know that I struggled intensely with self-hatred for many years and nearly self-destructed in the process. I honestly don’t know how I’m even still alive.

Well, that’s not true. It was God’s grace. He reached into my desperate mess and spoke truth through people I trusted; people who had the peace I wanted. The terrifying freefall ended and, bit by bit, I realized that I had solid ground beneath my feet, a life that was being built up rather than torn down and a beautiful relationship with the God who saved me.

What really makes me marvel is the way He is continuing to bring more joy and freedom with each passing day. Not only has self-hatred lost its hold, but I am coming to truly embrace who I am. As I told an old friend in an email this morning, “As it turns out, I’m pretty good at being me. It requires far less effort than being someone I think I should be or someone I think others want me to be. I’m sure this sounds incredibly elementary – like, no duh – but it is revelatory to me and the foundation of it seems to be surrender. That God made me as I am for His purposes; for His joy and mine. If that doesn’t look shiny and beautiful, that’s okay. Because even with all my shortcomings, I’m enough.” 

There is a deep rest that is coming from this place and some default ways of propping myself up to be this person I thought I should be are falling away because they are now unnecessary. It’s like I’m coming out of hiding; just showing up as I am. And do you know what? I am having the best time ever. I never realized that being me could be such fun.

I’m guessing this is something a lot of you already experience as a normal thing. If so, that thrills me. If you are someone who is struggling with self-hatred, let me be a voice of hope and truth as so many others were to me. Below is part of a letter I wrote to a young friend who has been struggling. I hope that it encourages you on your journey. I also highly recommend Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, which was incredibly helpful to me.

******

Dear friend,

This is what I have learned and what I can guarantee that you will find. The torment you are experiencing is not coming from who you are. Not how you look or how you act or how you interact with other people. Not from your weaknesses or imperfections. Not from what anyone thinks of you. It comes from one thing: Believing a lie the enemy has attached to who you are.

So any course you take, whether in thought or action, that is based on a belief that there is something inherently wrong with you will not ease your pain. It certainly might numb it, but it doesn’t address the actual problem so it is incapable of solving it and will only serve to prolong (and possibly increase) the torment. It will likely be a wild goose chase, under the false assumption that if you arrive over “there,” you won’t feel the pain of being yourself anymore. But every time you get there, you will find that the target has moved because there will always be some evidence left of the self you have learned to hate. I spent a good many years going down this path and it was nothing short of hell on earth.

And that’s the big setup. Satan is hellbent on destroying you – or at the very least removing you as far as possible from the person God made you to be because you bear God’s image and He hates God. He also knows how fervently God loves you and the easiest way to hurt Him is by hurting you. The only power Satan has is deception, but it’s enough. Because if he can get you to believe this warped version of yourself, you will self-destruct without any further work on his part.

No doubt, you think that there is sufficient “evidence” to back your reasons for self-hatred – legitimate reasons that could be proven in a court of law (and have certainly been proven daily in the unforgiving courtroom held in your mind) – and you are convinced of your guilt and your shame, not realizing that no one ever said you had to be innocent or get it right to have value or belong. We are all guilty. We’ve all gotten it wrong. We’re all failures. That is why we require Jesus’ redemption. If you think otherwise, you will spend the rest of your days defending yourself or running in fear of the condemnation that is following you, looking for peace but never finding it.

The only way to make the torment stop is to address the lie you are believing: That you are not worthy of love and acceptance as you are. The truth is that you are. Not because you’ve done a single thing right or because you feel like you have an ounce of value, purpose or belonging, but because God masterfully formed you; because He loves you and He allowed His son to die on the cross to silence every last word of judgment against you (not just from the enemy or from others but also from yourself). Accepting this truth – this love – is the key to peace.

It is a simple thing, but not an easy one. If you’re anything like me, you’re guarding the negative views of yourself and your solutions as if they were sacred treasures other people are trying to tear from your hands. As miserable as they are, they are your security.  Plus, you may think that if they only knew what really goes on inside or who you are deep down, they would understand that you’re one of those people outside the reach of love and acceptance; that you are different from all the other people who can find peace without running somewhere else or being someone else. 

But if you will ask God to help you and if you are willing to be honest with yourself, you will find that it is smelly trash you’re clinging to and you will come to want nothing more than to get rid of it. This is a powerful place where transformation takes place, but it will feel vulnerable. The enemy will double down on what he’s whispered in the dark places. Doubt will rise up. Fear will too. Maybe some anger. That’s okay. I’ve been there a thousand times and each time the Lord has used those places as an opportunity to speak His love, reassure me of His truth and lead me into more peace than I ever thought possible. I also learned to trust the input of adults who had gained freedom in their own hard places and had my best at heart. The truth they were able to reflect back to me was crucial, especially when I got tangled up in the lies and couldn’t tell which way was up. 

It wasn’t an overnight transformation for me and it probably won’t be for you either. You’ve learned to trust your own perceptions above what God says and learning to trust Him is going to take some time. But please believe me when I tell you how very worthwhile it is to set out on this path where your life is being built up rather than torn down. Freedom is yours for the taking.

Love, me 


Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this post! This exact same thing is happening to me right now. Wow, isn’t God wonderful!

    • That makes my heart so full! He is so good!

  2. Awesome! I remember the days when God started me too on this same road. Well said, Kara.

    • I love how good the lord is to all who will trust him! What he does for one, he will certainly do for another… which gives me such hope for everyone on this planet 😊


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