For the majority of my life, I used my perfectionism as a way to counteract it. But any time some aspect of my health, academics, athletics or relationships were less than perfect, I would increasingly hear a whisper: “Your fault. You did this to yourself. You failed. You’re terrible and unworthy.” And the self-hatred cycle continued.

It brought me to shameful places I never would have imagined.

These included physical ailments and deep depression, opting out of ministry and career opportunities and “punishing” myself – all the way down to suicidal thoughts and cutting my wrists. When the accusations came with such intensity, it was like someone or something else was taking over my thoughts and actions – not me and certainly not Christ.

I wondered, “Maybe this is a ‘thorn’ in my side I must deal with, to keep me humble and dependent on God?”

But no, I was confused. I continued to grow in my faith and knowledge of God, and knew these inner shouts of self-hatred, accusation and inadequacy were Satan’s lies. I truly believed in all the Biblical truths about my identity in Christ and that “it is for freedom Christ set us free.” I tried to proclaim these truths over the lies, but somehow I still felt trapped. I knew there was abundant, overflowing joy, and powerful, Spirit-filled living in store. I had experienced many glimpses of it while doing full-time ministry. But now where was it? I kept praying desperately for this freedom.

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