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Hi guys.

So, Lisa and I are getting ready to go on a little trip today for a week. It’s our 35th wedding anniversary tomorrow… May 4th. I never realized until the day when someone said, “May the forth be with you!” that it is a cool date to get married.

Lisa and I were talking late into the night last night. Thirty-five years is a long time. We’ve learned a lot. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how much or how many times I’ve hurt Lisa over the years. I think the hardest years for me personally, and Lisa suffered for it as well, was since I left the church in 2010. I went through a major kind of personal, emotional, and psychological deconstruction and reconstruction. I’m still under development in a big way.

I spoke with my counselor and spiritual director yesterday. While talking with her… she’s such a good listener, very wise, and very helpful… but her greatest gift is just listening to me talk and talk and talk. In a way she helps me to be my own therapist. I came to some pretty major revelations yesterday about myself. In fact, I feel it was life-changing. It’s like there was such a jumbled mess inside my heart and mind, and I honestly felt like I was going crazy. But yesterday’s talk provided, in a flash of insight, a key to unlock it all. Suddenly, I saw the picture I needed to make sense of everything. It was like there were all these confusing, unrelated parts, but this revelation, this picture, suddenly melded them all together into a unifying whole that made sense to me and set me free. I actually felt better… not thought better, but felt better… after this talk. Now I just have to be patient and allow my self, my body, my mind, my heart, to integrate with this revelation, for me to become whole.

Here are three things I preached to myself yesterday. Maybe you can use this for yourself.

1. Forgive yourself: This is the first thing I have to do. I have to forgive myself. Not for all those years of ministry. I was a pretty good pastor. I don’t have any major regrets there. My regrets come from when I left the ministry. I didn’t kill anyone or sleep with anyone else or anything dramatic like that. Mainly, I was absent emotionally and mentally. I lived inside my own head and wanted to run away from everything. But I have to forgive myself. I have to let that go. If I were talking with anyone else who went through this, I would encourage that man to just empathize, understand, listen, and encourage him to forgive himself. I have to take my own medicine.

2. Love yourself: It’s not enough to just forgive myself. That almost has a cold feel to it. Something final. No further commitment required. I have to go deeper to not just say to myself, “It’s okay.” I have to move on even further than that to love myself. Appreciate myself. I need to get to the place where I actually care for myself, believe in myself, and even admire myself for who I am. A wise woman once said that humility is when you have an accurate opinion of yourself and you live that out. To have a higher than accurate opinion of yourself is pride. To have a lower than accurate opinion of yourself is false-humility. I’m a decent person. I’m a good person. I have excellent qualities. Sure, I have issues just like anyone else. But I’m intent on working through those. And I love me for it!

3. Embrace yourself: And it’s not enough to just love myself. Love needs skin on. I need to get into me. Excuse the sexual innuendo, but I need to make love with myself. You know? It’s not enough to forgive. It’s not enough to love. Those are just feelings. Emotions. I have to be good to myself and show myself love. Pamper myself. That would mean talking nicely to myself. Being gentle with myself. Kind. Patient. Understanding. Encouraging. Edifying. Believing. Which would mean I would stop being mean to myself. This is the hard part because I’ve been harsh with myself in many ways. I’ve been encouraging to myself but undermining that by meaning harsh to myself. I realized that not only do I often sabotage myself in my business life, but in my emotional life. My negative talk was sabotaging my positive talk. STOP THAT! Just be honest but positive whenever possible.

You guys are amazing people. I love you. Love yourself!

I hope this helps you guys like it helps me.

I’ll be thinking of you while I’m on the beach.

Peace out lovely peeps!