By V.J. Wakefield
Now, this title may seem a little strange, but for some Christians and other people, in general, it is true. You are your harshest critic. What I mean is that sometimes you are too hard on yourself. Have you ever had thoughts in your head that go along the lines of this?:
” I am so stupid!”
“I will never be able to get through this.”
“I can’t do anything right!”
This is what it means to be hard on yourself. And this can start in your brain as one little voice, but over time it can get louder and louder as you face more challenges, and it can make your mind become darker and darker as these thoughts progress. You might stop asking for help. You may start to compare yourself to others around you and you might isolate yourself and be horrible to your family and friends. I should know all of this because I was one of these people.
See, I was never good at math and geometry, and during the school year, I had the mentality of being hard on myself which I mistook for determination. I didn’t do well in the school year which started my mentality over the summer. That I can’t get the answers right and that I couldn’t do it. I carried this into the summer school program that my parents signed me up for. I didn’t see that they were trying to help, and instead, the voice started to get louder. You can’t do it. You’ll do worse than this year. So I tried my hardest to prove myself wrong.
At first, the class for me went off to a rocky start. I was so stressed out and confused that I would go home a little bit salty after each day because I was hard on myself for not understanding the concepts, which ended up in me not asking my parents for help on them. And one of them was an engineer before becoming a teacher to support us when she came to the US. I just sat done on the couch and watched baking shows. (They didn’t give us homework). However, God didn’t give up on me.
He told me the truth through me finally asking my mother for help. When I did it was all a little clearer. However, we had to learn a whole new concept from what I reviewed with my mom, which was about the last test that I took which wasn’t good. I had trouble once again, and went home, but reviewed it with my mother, and it started to click for me. When night rolled around, and after I prayed and went to bed, God had me thinking about my situation. Through Him I was able to find out that I was being too hard on myself, which then made the voice louder, criticizing me on being too hard on myself. The next day I looked up what it meant to be hard on yourself, and as I read through the questions the article asked me, I thought more about them. God was telling me that if I continue this, I will never succeed, and I will never get a good grade. I finally concluded that the thoughts are not what I want. I needed to stop.
Now pause. Some might be confused and write a lengthy comment about how I might be wrong about not being hard on myself. However, according to The Bible and to an article called 10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself By Kelly Balarie, Jesus has already taken all of the guilt and shame and nailed it to that cross. And when it was done all of your guilt is washed away. So give Him your guilt, shame, and thoughts. He will help you and fix you. You can’t succeed without Him. It may seem so, but really, He’s the one helping you. Unpause. So I gave Him my thoughts and commanded my thoughts to be obedient to Jesus at once in His name, which is also written in The Bible: 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” And I immediately felt so much better and did much better in class. However, the biggest test I had was the semester 1 final exam.
I sat done at my usual desk. I quickly review the notes and waited for the test to start. Before I did this, I gave my thoughts to Jesus. I let Him take control. First part comes onto my desk. I work hard but then the thoughts started again. I finished the first part and watched the teacher grade the part. I saw him circle some questions. The thoughts come back. I tell them that I captured them and to be obedient to Jesus in His name. I then started the second part. I was laser focused on part 2. My mind was clear. No voices. Only one song (which was Hamilton for some reason). I then checked over my answers and handed them into the teacher. Then the results come in. I didn’t feel dread anymore. Instead, I felt hope. I had a C and a B for the school year and a D and an F for the final exams. But I knew that this time was different.
I got a B+.
My heart leaped out of my throat. I was smiling like an idiot, I turned to my brother (a freshman who wanted to take the class with me), and showed him my score. He was so happy for me. I immediately emailed my dad and told him what happened, and the car ride home was more pleasant for me. My mom was so proud of me, and I was satisfied. I then praised God. I thanked Him for getting me out of the evil place I was in. For helping me on the test and helping me do way more better in geometry. He is good.
Which leads to today. Depending on when you see this, June 21st is when my B+ happened, and I had an urging to tell people my story. To let them know that they should stop being hard on themselves and let Jesus take all of their guilt and pain, and trust Him to help them and take away all of the evil and replace it with hope. I hope you learned something from this article and true story. Don’t be hard on yourself, if you do, you’ll never succeed.
Thank you for reading!
Kelly Balarie’s Blog and post:
The Scripture used: