From Self-Loathing to Complete Surrender
The daughter of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar shares her spiritual journey of transformation.
For over a quarter of a century I lived every day with regret, shame, guilt, grief, pain and a deep, underlying depression. I was exhausted from hurting and tired of running from the memory and magnitude of what I’d done and the life I’d been living. As the daughter of the motivator’s motivator, Zig Ziglar, I knew that I needed to be positive and that “negative thinking” would just make things worse.
So I gathered up all of my negative self-talk—the disgust, self-loathing, anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt and shame—and squashed it down deep inside where it couldn’t seep out and ruin the bright and practiced smile I presented to the world.
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My thought life was like a war zone. The negative, self-degrading words that dominated my thinking battled daily with the positive, uplifting words of encouragement my father taught from the platform and in his many books. One thing I knew for sure, I was positive I was miserable!
Many people know a little something about my father being a motivational and inspirational icon, and they don’t expect a child who had the obvious advantages of growing up with a loving, positive, encouraging father and mother to have made such a mess of her life. My double life as a secret misfit and an outward overachiever was a living lie, but it has led me to a life of transparency and the topics of repentance, restoration, and becoming your best you.
For most of my life I heard my father say, “You have to be the right kind of person to succeed in life. You have to “be” before you can “do.” You have to do before you can have.” I didn’t understand what it meant to be the “right kind” of person until I was well into my fourth decade of living.
Today I know that it is impossible to fully achieve what my father teaches without surrendering your life to God. It is only through God’s power that man can overcome his selfish, self-destructive ways and become someone who can glorify God and praise Him in all things.
More than anything I want to help people who struggle with feeling that they can’t come to Jesus until they become perfect. The notion that you have to be good and make all the right choices to be loved by God keeps countless numbers of people from the most astounding, uplifting, incredible relationship available to mankind. I didn’t understand grace when I was first saved, and when I fell back into sin I thought Jesus would never have me back because I betrayed Him and let Him down. Now I know the sweetness of complete surrender, and I want everybody to know Jesus on that level.
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The people with whom I hope to resonate intuitively “know” that God is the answer to their problems, but they feel unworthy of Him because they don’t understand His grace. Some have never been to church, others have given up on going to church where they feel the absolute worst of all, but many are sitting in churches feeling less than, apart from, and undeserving of a relationship with Jesus and those who sit around them.
They have prayed for forgiveness and rededicated their lives to Jesus innumerable times, and yet they are stuck, feeling unforgiven and unworthy of His love. So they exercise their freedom of choice and do another “this will make me feel better” compulsive behavior.
I have firsthand knowledge that this tentative, one step forward and two steps back Christianity leads to fence-straddling misery.
This article was excerpted from Growing Up Ziglar: A Daughter’s Broken Journey from Heartache to Hope (Guideposts 2012) by Julie Ziglar Norman. For more information or to buy the book, go to ShopGuideposts.