Self-Examination

Workshop: Acceptance the Pathway to PeacePremium Content

Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.

karladowning: Ok. Let's start off with a definition of acceptance. It is "taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of "accept" is "to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive."

The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don't want; don't like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.

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Learning and Coping in Recovery

There's a theory out there which asserts we have only two jobs in life:

    1) to learn
    2) to cope.

Spiritually, if we expound on this principle, we can see Divine Intervention at work, should we choose to embrace it.

The First Job: To Learn:

Scripture addresses our human need to learn. Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 4:7, for instance, are just a couple of verses which tout the important of wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

And, again, we are in dire need of this wisdom, as Paul reminds us of our vulnerable human condition...

The Serenity Prayer: A Weeble Lesson

While sifting through my childhood toys, I happened upon some Weebles.

What are they - and what do they do?

"...an egg-shaped Weeble causes a weight located at the bottom-center to be lifted off the ground. Once released, gravitational force brings the Weeble back into an upright position... The popular catchphrase, 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.' was used in advertising during their rise in popularity..." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeble

As I was reunited with these toys, I remembered how, in my playtime, I often tried to put my Weebles to bed, lying them on their sides, only to watch them quickly spring to their vertical stance again. There was no keeping these suckers down.

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

You better believe it.

Therefore, reacquainting myself with them in my adult life, I now view them through the recovery/struggle context and the famous Serenity Prayer:

Life Choices: Thermometer or Thermostat?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

Senator Cory Booker, on an appearance of "The Daily Show," recently shared a powerful lesson with the audience:

"My father told me there are two ways to go through life: as a thermometer or as a thermostat. A thermometer: whatever someone says about you, you go up or down. A thermostat: you set the temperature."

Both the thermometer and the thermostat reflect life and its issues, including our stance on addiction and recovery.

And our choice has significant ramifications concerning health, well-being and prosperity. Each option offers its inevitable results.

So, it might be worth our while to ponder what those very results may mean for us.

First, the thermometer: its appeal is that self-gratifying moment. It doesn't require much work. You just let your feelings rip.

Meddling or Helping - Which One Is It?

One of my favorite television series, "Mad Men" offers up a scene in which one ad mad conveys this message to another character:

"Stay out of it."

Hmmm. Sometimes, that is sometimes spot-on spiritual advice, isn't it?

Meddling or helping- which one is it each of us are doing at any given time?

This becomes an especially valid question concerning our own self-interest. And, c'mon, be honest, most of us are EXTREMELY self-interested.

The entertainer, RuPaul states it this way:

"Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business."

Male Body Image and Eating Disorders

When you think of an eating or image disorder, what springs to mind?

If we're honest, often our knee-jerk characterization is female. A lot of us think disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are a "women's issue."

But what about the male gender?

"In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). For various reasons, many cases are likely not to be reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa is body dissatisfaction." www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Unfortunately, both the male and female genders suffer from distorted and disordered image messages and practices. Perhaps, males don't always possess the same behaviors as those of their female counterparts. Nevertheless, the obsession and self-destructive evidence is there. And, at some of its most extreme, it often manifests in the bodybuilding arena.

"...The onset of disease in males is typically triggered by a concern with bodybuilding and sport training..."

Trick Images of Self

I recently came across a souvenir my mother received from her British pen pal in the 1950's. It's one of those trick images of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; who you see depends on the angle of the portrait.

It brings to mind the following scripture:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

And it made me think of my distorted image issues:

"...I stood in my bedroom, in front of my three-way mirror. I’d seen so many versions of myself. I’d been fat and thin, feeling both unworthy and worthy. Yet I was never satisfied..."
(Excerpt taken from Cruse's book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder")

Images and mirrors don't delve into great detail about each trauma, milestone, issue and phase of our lives. They don't accurately depict things as they are. Smudges and warps can alter what reflects back at us. And these images and mirrors certainly don't predict the future or explain the Most High completely.

Overcoming Self-loathing

I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like...

    "I hate myself; I'm so ugly, disgusting and stupid."
    "I hate myself. There's nothing good about me."


When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:

"I don't know."

For what I am doing, I do not understand..." Romans 7:15

Statistics show...

"One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly."

Perseverance: The Race Set Before Us

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity". The term is generally translated as "perseverance" or "patience."

And, within Scripture, this principle is, indeed, a faith focal point.

... we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36

I don't know about your physical education experience when you were a kid, but my class always participated in the annual presidential physical fitness test.

Is anyone out there groaning yet?

As part of that test to assess kids' fitness levels, things like pushups, sit ups and pull ups were measured. But the thing which caused me the most dread- and the least success- was the 600 yard run.

Now, is anyone out there groaning?

If you're not familiar with

What is "SELF?"

The English Dictionary defines *SELF* as...

A person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one's own self; a person's nature, character, etc.: his or her better self; personal interest; Philosophy, the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.


I came to an understanding a while ago that my *SELF*, has many different hats so to say. For instance there is my Family-Self, (represented by my surname and genetic inheritance) My Work-Self, my Cultural-Self, my Social-Self, my Happy-self, my Sad-self, my National-self, my Lower-self
and my Higher-Self (which equals my Higher Power or Spirit- Self). I have a body-self, a mind-self, emotional-self. I also have an Addict-Self, and a Co-dependent-Self...etc...

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