Jesus sets architect free from self-hatred
C is an architect who followed Jesus faithfully for 23 years, serving on mission trips all around the world – from South America to China and Cambodia. Here is her story of how she was finally delivered from a secret life of self-hatred and a habit of self-harm. Praise God!
(See Chinese versions: 简体中文 > 耶稣使建筑师脱离自我憎恨 | 繁體中文 > 耶穌使建築師脫離自我憎恨)
There was always something hindering me from living fully in the joy and freedom I was proclaiming that Jesus gives.
I have diligently sought after God’s plan for me ever since I put my faith in Jesus Christ at age five. I have seen Him move in mighty ways all over the world, in my life and in other’s lives. I’ve been so humbled and in awe at how He has moved me geographically and spiritually to places I would have never imagined – further and further from my hometown, closer and closer to Him.
But deep down, I had always struggled with self-hatred, and I didn’t know why.
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.
I sensed God answering me to surrender not only to Him, but to confess to faithful friends the depth of my battle, past and present.
Perhaps this is the most difficult part about coming to a place of living free in the Spirit’s power: one must first come to a place of complete, vulnerable and transparent surrender.
I thought I was surrendered to Him, but every time I was in fellowship and considered confessing to others, I wouldn’t reveal the deep down struggles because of fear, pride and shame. I convinced myself I did not need community to help me break through – I just wanted it to be between God and me. It seemed so silly to me that I could fall for Satan’s ridiculous lies. So, the battle only continued.
One day, I slowly broke down and prayed for the right time with the right people to open up to.
During a women’s discipleship group, my friend had a vision for me. She saw crumpled pieces of paper in my right hand.
She told me God wanted me to let them go so He could move forward in showing me His plan. I didn’t tell the group, but I knew the crumpled pieces of paper were all those feelings and acts of self-hatred that I had written down in a journal, torn out and crumpled up. But I was still carrying them around in my heart.
At the following week’s meeting, they prayed for me again. This time the Spirit broke into my heart and I felt His Presence so strongly. I started laughing uncontrollably in pure joy! There is unbelievable joy when Jesus is near! As my friends prayed for me, my laughter gradually turned to tears, and my friend asked me if there was something I wanted to confess so they could help me pray through it. After a long pause, I finally confessed my battle to my sisters, and it was so freeing.
Confessing was not scary, not shameful – just freeing.
One of them subsequently organised a prayer session, where I shared my life story, confessing all the dirt and joys. The two prayer intercessors proceeded to ask more detailed questions about my life events, my family history and where I saw Christ in the midst of the accounts I gave.
Through their questions (prompted by God), my answers and their prayers, it became obvious that there was a long-running generational curse in my family: a spirit of accusation. I sort of always knew this but was never able to piece it together and spear it head-on, until now.
They explained that this generational spiritual stronghold was probably passed down through my grandmother, who was a practising witch back in America.
As a child, my grandmother would pass me gifts and crystals that she said would “protect” me, and even though I knew Jesus was the One who would protect me and didn’t want these gifts, I felt I could not refuse her.
I could suddenly see so clearly how it was Satan’s number one strategy of attack to penetrate my life from a young age. He even used other relationships (men, friends, coaches, colleagues, etc.) to accuse and make me feel like an unlovable, hopeless failure. We prayed for my family and me, proclaiming Christ’s victory over this generational stronghold.
During the prayer, I felt the Presence of God breathing through me and lifting me up in a way I never have before – I felt so connected, light, full, free, joyful, peaceful, complete, and excited!
I was laughing and crying with joy again. The prophesies and words of encouragement given during our prayer time were additional strong affirmations of what God has already hinted to me. I thought I knew, but now I finally (really) know what it means to desire more of Him and less of me.
I thought I knew scripture but it now seems to pop out with a whole new level of understanding.
I have been asking Him to teach me more how to pray. My connection with my Saviour in prayer has deepened beyond description. I no longer am constantly battling the inner shouts of accusation and self-hatred. I know the devil will attack again, but I will continue to proclaim my victory because Christ already has the victory!
After 23 years of following Jesus, I finally experienced living freely in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection – fully, passionately overflowing, unencumbered by strongholds deep beneath the surface.
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