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There are some tricky things going on at work – the honeymoon period is well and truly over. Lots of things are great, but some aren’t and I’ve been worrying in my usual style. Enough to really wish I had a stash of Diazepam.

One thing I’m doing to combat imminent panic and doom is remembering the good things in my life. So much so that I even said one of those good things in front of the whole church on Sunday (blushing bright red and regretting every second of it, of course). I’ve managed to make friends with the team of people I work with. I have felt quite lonely when I work in their office and last week when something hard happened at work I really regretted having nobody to talk to about it. Hopefully that’s over now.

Also, my line manager is being really great and supporting me, standing behind me the whole way.

And I have a lovely friend who blogs here and here. She spent Sunday afternoon and evening with hubby and me and we cuddled almost the whole time. 🙂 This friend is good for me because I have a history of building immense walls around myself and she somehow just hops over the top of them.

Hubby is as wonderful as ever, repeating reassurances not to worry over and over again (not that that works but, you know, points for effort). He’s sad and frustrated just now because his arthritis is getting worse. He hurts more and can do less with his hands. A couple of nights ago he fidgeted a lot because his hip hurt and neither of us slept too well. Last night he said he’s sad because he thinks I shouldn’t have to deal with that. But really, neither should he have to deal with my worry and tears and sadness. We look after each other. That’s what marriage is.

And so far this week I’m remembering to pray. Not long or in depth prayers by any means, but asking for help and thanking God for the good things he gives me. I want to be more than I am. I have wished throughout my life that I could be a calmer person, gentler, quieter, more loving. I’m this big, lumbering, loud mouth and I often feel so ashamed of myself. When things get tricky like they are right now I instantly revert to default and blame myself, berate myself for every little mistake I’ve made, go round in circles wishing I could be better, that God had made me different.

But the friend I mentioned above said recently that my big, lumbering, loud mouth nature is part of what she loves about me. That’s weird. I would think that my friends would love me in spite of that stuff, not because of it. But I remember last summer, realising that by wishing that God had made me differently I am therefore criticising him. Do I really want to say that God made a mistake when he chose me to be the way I am?

So I go back to this when my default self hatred rears its ugly head. God freed me from that over a year ago, I just forget the freedom and remember the chains. Now I can place myself directly into his embrace and let him shape me the way he wants. He chose me to be me, just me, all me, and he chooses to smooth away a rough edge here, a sharp corner there. Who better to help me in my quest to be softer, gentler, more loving than the one who knows every little bit of me?

It’s a quest for holiness. To be set apart to do God’s work, to become more like him every day. He created me in his image and continues to do so.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

That is one of my most favourite passages in the Bible. It makes me love Jesus more and more, it fills me with joy for the things to come, but it also challenges me to be like that. And maybe I can, because I’m not trying to change from something horrible and grotesque into this beautiful, selfless holiness. I’m not horrible, not grotesque, I’m not any of the things my mind would have me believe. I have been made beautiful and when I give myself to God he makes me more beautiful.

So this is a reminder. I don’t need to be reminded of the difficulties I face right now, I have them recorded elsewhere. But when I start to fight with myself, when I hurt myself, that’s when I need to stand up straight and refuse to believe the lies any longer. I was made by God, chosen by God and I am loved by God. Just as my friend loves me for who I am, so does God and that should be penetrating the very essence of who I am. I know I’m not the only one who needs to understand this.