Tag Archive | self-esteem

Cutting (self-injury)

You may not realize that 20% of high-school and college students engage in the self-injuring practice of cutting. As this becomes more common, it also affects more marriages.

Most of us have not purposely cut ourselves, but we have all experienced inner pain, and we have all searched for ways to relieve that pain. Although this is not my usual topic, I am sharing this today with the prayer that it will be helpful—perhaps to you or someone you know. 

The Cutting that Cures

God understands this pain
of cutting.

He knows this pain
that cries
with the voice of a knife.

He feels this pain too heavy
for words or tears
alone
to carry;
the flesh must join.

If only burdens
would flow
with blood.
If only blades
could strip sorrow
as well as skin.¹

This draining of the body
leeches life from the soul.

“Imago Dei”²
is written upon us,
yet we mar,
not knowing
the handwriting of God.

*

“Without the shedding of blood,
there is no remission of sin.”³
Without having heard,
we seem to know.
But we hope only
for the remission of pain.

Only God really knows
how great is the loss and
how deep is the pain.

Through the tearing of His own flesh,
He felt the torment of the whole world.
With the gushing of His own blood,
He marked the loss of love.

He carried the weight of our suffering
in His own body
that we would not
in ours.

cutting

Our pain became His pain,
and His wounds became our healing.
His brokenness
bought our wholeness.

There is, therefore, now
no cutting
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
for there is now
no condemnation and
no separation.

There is no loss
that He will not accept as His.
There is no emptiness
that He cannot turn
inside out
into fullness.

The only cutting
that will ever put things back together
was the crushing of Christ on the Cross–
the tearing of a veil,
and a new covenant cut.4

“It is finished.”

cutting

With lavish love,
He engraved our names
forever
on His palms.

The scars of Christ,
sealed on our souls,
mark us now
as His.

cutting

 

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1 In The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp writes that she cut herself as if “you could drain yourself out of pain” (Zondervan, 2016, page 11).
2 This is the Latin phrase for “image of God.” Genesis 1:27 says that God created people in His own image.
*  By User:BardFuse (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
3 From Hebrews 9:22. The Bible teaches that the consequence of our rejection of God (who is Life) is death.
4 In English, we say that we make a covenant. But in the Hebrew language of Scripture, a covenant is “cut.”

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FOR HELP in overcoming cutting, please visit Focus on the Family’s website for a series of helpful articles.

 

 

Purpose for the Body

We can spend a lifetime living in our bodies without once asking ourselves this simple question:

“What is the purpose of my body?”

Amazing, isn’t it?

We can invest a ton of time, money, and emotional turmoil in dealing with our bodies. Maybe it would be good to stop for a moment to think more deeply about where we are going with all this body busyness.

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Misunderstood Purpose

Many believe that the purpose of the body is to attract attention, hoping that attracting attention is the same thing as gaining value.  Sometimes we want to attract attention (in general) in order to attract love (in particular). Massive quantities of marketing assure us that if we can just manipulate our bodies correctly, we will receive the affection and cherishing that we crave.

Wow. No wonder we are obsessed with our bodies! We believe that they are the tickets to our self-worth and our emotional well-being.

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No Purpose

Some people believe that there is no inherent purpose for our bodies. Our bodies are flukes of natural selection. They may be amazing and interesting flukes, but they are meaningless, all the same. The best we can do is devise purpose and meaning for ourselves, and then cross our evolved fingers.

body

Divine Purpose

According to the Bible, God created our bodies with fantastic purpose and meaning. The triune God made human beings in His image as body, soul, and spirit. We are not just spirits: we are embodied spirits, able to relate physically, socially, and spiritually.

Society says that the purpose of the body is to:                             

  • attract attention to self    
  • make me look good   
  • worship self   
  • attract love                   
  • please myself                                         
  • earn value                                              
  • pursue pleasure for self                        

God says that the purpose of the body is to:                           

  • create attraction to Christ
  • make God look good
  • worship God
  • give love
  • serve others
  • celebrate God-given worth and dignity
  • enjoy God’s gifts as a way of enjoying Him

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We tend to think that our bodies belong to us. But God says that our bodies belong to Him. Not only did He create them, but then He bought them with His own lifeblood:

You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)

This means that our bodies are significant! What we do with our bodies is important to the Lord. Through our bodies, we either honor God or dishonor Him.

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We are stewards of these bodies, which belong to God. They are not ours to mistreat, neglect, or demean. We have the privilege and responsibility to use our bodies to serve Christ and to promote Him.

Sacred Honor

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NIV)

What an amazing honor to be the sanctuary of God! Knowing that we are temples of the Living God prompts us to be reverent of our own bodies. This multiples again the sacredness of our bodies and lives.

A beautiful friend and I were discussing these concepts over tea one morning recently. She made these great comments: “I love 1 Peter 3, which teaches that I shouldn’t focus on outward beauty but on adorning myself with a gentle and quiet spirit. And for me, exercise and food can become enslaving, creating a vicious cycle. But in Christ, I am set free! Praise the Lord!”¹

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Awesome Design

I  sometimes thought that I would be happier with different body parts. But then I realized that if something would truly make me happier—would truly bless me—then God would be the first to give it to me! God is eager to pour out good gifts to His children. His generosity is lavish, and His wisdom is perfect. I can trust His engineering.

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. (Psalm 139:14, HCSB)

body

We are His masterpieces, both physically and spiritually (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). As we yield our spirits to God’s Spirit, we then obey Him in our bodies. As a result, our bodies and spirits can harmonize in rich, full worship.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1, NLT)

Ann Swindell sums it up beautifully:

Your body’s main purpose is not to attract others to it. … Your body’s  main purpose is to worship the God who created it. …Your body is primarily a means of worshiping God—through service, through love, through acts of praise and mercy.²

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Blessings to you,
Tami

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¹Romans 6:17-18
²Ann Swindell. August 16, 2016. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/what-i-wish-i-knew-about-my-body-my-twenties