Giving Up Self-Criticism for Lent

Learning to see yourself through God's eyes–as loving, worthy and deserving of compassion

Posted in Mar 1, 2017

Treating yourself with compassion during Lent

My anorexic daughter suddenly asked on Sunday, nearly in tears, "What can I give up for Lent?" Sweets and treats have long since disappeared from her menu.

"How about trying to give up being critical of yourself?" I replied. Anorexia is a mental illness characterized by intense anxiety over food and eating, and the mental anguish my daughter suffers as she goes through "refeeding" to a normal weight is extreme. She spends hours each day in tears, wracked by thoughts that she is gross, worthless and disgusting.

"It would be a lot of work to be merciful to yourself and to try to see yourself the way God does," I cautioned.

She nodded, and then shuddered. I could see she didn't think she was capable of it. So I said, "I can help you."

She nodded again, this time with acceptance.

Check Out Guideposts Collection of Books for Lent

So that is what my daughter is doing this Lent: giving up harsh self-criticism, arguing with self-bullying and praying back against despair. It seems like a good way to grow closer to God.

If you're too hard on yourself, I invite you to join us. We're going to start with a simple prayer each day, "Lord, help me see myself as You do, and teach me to treat myself as You would. Amen."

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