Do you ever hear a new word and have it suddenly resonate within you? I first read the term “self-companionship” in the title of recent a blog post by Leeana Tankersley and was immediately intrigued. Toward the end of the post she had this to say:
“Self-companionship is not self-worship. Let me be clear. Self-companionship is about being able to see our beauty and our brokenness alike and to hold them and allow God to heal them instead of needing to hide our own wonder or our own wounds.
This is transformation.”
I don’t know about you but I often feel I have to hide my own wonder at the person God has created me to be or else hide the wounds I have experienced in life. However, as Leeana says, true transformation means holding both of these faults up before God in order to let Him heal me in these areas.
Why is it we always seem to live in the extremes of life? In the instance of self-companionship it is between pride over our God-given beauty or shame over the inevitable brokenness that comes from living in a fallen world. I feel Leeana is onto something here because in an earlier blog post I shared this from my pastor’s recent sermon:
“I really liked his definition [meekness is a middle ground between anger and disengagement] because I do see myself having a tendency to vacillate on issues between the two extremes of anger and frustration or disengagement and indifference. And maybe if you always get swept along by the current opinions of the day that is usually the case? So the idea that instead we can actively move toward a different way sounded interesting to me.”
Whether you call it “transformation” or “actively moving toward a different way” I think that the basic premise is the same: What we are doing now, our default way of living, is not working! We need a change in the way we view ourselves and hopefully, as a result, in the way we view others.
In all of this I am reminded of phrase another blogger, Tara Ulrich, has often used to describe herself lately, “a beloved, broken, blessed child of God.” In this blog post she shared the following about the struggle to finally tell her story about being a daughter of someone dealing with mental illness:
“The truth is that through our stories, we are God’s Word embodied and made Flesh in this world. And there are days that we probably want to take our stories, with their brokenness and pack them away like they were never unleashed in the first place. But the beauty is that God takes those cracks and makes them beautiful. Those cracks remind us of the power of God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness in each of our lives…
Our stories, full of their own cracks and brokenness, remind us always of who and whose we are. Our stories break open into the world bringing about God’s Word right here in this broken messed up world. And I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in knowing that God created us each for a specific calling and purpose.”
I don’t know if I’m getting my thoughts out correctly here or not, but putting together all these surprisingly similar truths coming at me from different places feels potentially life-changing. My own words fail me so I’ll end with another quote from Leeana’s blog post on self-companionship: “However, I have found in my own life that as soon as I can—because of God’s deep grace and love for me—access a place of compassion and care for myself, I can begin to see a way forward, a way out.”
May we seek to encourage one another as we each begin to find our own way forward in all this, our own way out.