Giving Up Self-Criticism for Lent

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

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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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