Scrupulosity and could we please just give ourselves a break? {#31Days of "The Little Way"}

photoWhen I was a little girl, I went through feverish bouts of compulsive repentance. This wasn't your garden-variety "oops, I feel bad because I made a mistake." This was: "I am a vile, wicked sinner and I deserve harsh punishment."

If no-one was around to punish me, well, I spanked myself. Because VILE WICKED SINNER.

My bedtime prayers were lengthy litanies of my sins. I confessed everything. And then I confessed anything I might have done that I didn't know was a sin. Lastly, could God please, please, please forgive me for anyone I've ever hurt or anything I've ever done or said or thought that was displeasing to Him? In Jesus' name, amen.

Confession was exhausting. This was only made worse by the fact that my view of God was as a punishing abuser. It meant I stayed in a perpetual state of terror for most of my life. Newsflash: this does bad things to your brain.

If only I'd been comforted, like St. Thérèse, by a benevolent, merciful understanding of God.

Like me, St. Thérèse went through her own bouts of scruples--obsessively confessing and worrying about the tiniest sins. But her older sisters comforted her with the words that God was infinitely merciful, gracious and abounding in lovingkindness.

To be honest, I'm still rather neurotic about confession. I shame myself. I beat myself up. Almost all my difficulties in life come from this deep-seated belief that I'm not lovable. Therefore, I don't LET God--or even my friends--love me. I always SAY I want love, but then when anyone gets close, I push them away because I'm terrified.

I am slowly relaxing enough (THANK YOU ANTI-ANXIETY MEDS) to begin believing I am inherently, irrefutably, undeniably loved and lovable. I am learning that I don't have to over-work. I don't have to stay constantly busy. I don't even have to get all hard-core and overwork my recovery because that just leads to another type of neuroses. I am learning it is OK for me to rest in God's love.

Today's Little Way Challenge:

Today I will believe God loves me with an infinite, unchanging, everlasting love. Nothing I do or don't do will ever change God's love for me.