Yesterday one of my favorite authors, Mary DeMuth, published a blog post titled “Confessions of a girl with a hyperactive conscience.”
(Click here to read it)
“That’s me!” I thought and clicked the link to read Mary’s thoughts. Judging by the number of responses she’s received, there are a lot of women in the same boat with Mary and me.
We question ourselves. We doubt our worth. We berate ourselves for our mistakes and failures.
Even though we know we shouldn’t.
Are you in the boat with us?
I’ve battled this hyperactive conscience for years and so I posted a comment on Mary’s blog. She wrote back:
“Wow, Linda, this has “book” written all over it.”
So Mary, it’s not a book, but here’s a blog post, and I pray God uses your words and mine to bring healing to all of us who want our hyperactive consciences to just shut up.
First, here is the response I posted on Mary’s blog:
At times in my life this battle against my conscience has had me curled up in a fetal position on the floor in agony. My wise husband finally told me one day that every time I questioned my worth or berated myself for doing/saying something wrong that I was calling God a liar : Isaiah 45:9 “Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’”
God’s been busy shaping me and my conscience over the last five years as I have yielded to accepting the TRUTH of who God says I am and what I was created for—to love God and to love others. As long as I stay in that battle with my conscience I’m too preoccupied to do either of those things. Precisely the way the enemy of God wants it…
I have to choose to take an action that is completely the opposite of what I’m feeling and go love on somebody. And guess what happens with that battle with my conscience?
Let me elaborate on this a little more…AS LONG AS I STAY IN THAT BATTLE WITH MY CONSCIENCE I’M TOO PREOCCUPIED TO BE WHO GOD CREATED ME TO BE.
Sorry for shouting at you, but I feel pretty strongly about this. Here’s why:
I spent years talking truth back at my conscience (even shouting at times). I prayed, read my Bible, read books on the topic, and I asked for wisdom from my friends. Now I’m here to tell you that ALL of those things were beneficial. But they only led to a certain level of healing—an incomplete one. After years the battle was still waging in my mind and I was ready to wave the white flag and surrender. I figured the war would never end, no matter what I did.
“I’m not good enough. You shouldn’t have said that. You messed up…again.”
I shot those fiery darts at myself almost daily…even though I knew they were lies. Like an addiction or bad habit, I simply couldn’t break myself of it.
Until the “I could have had a V8” day. The day God put two scripture passages together in my head:
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. James 2:17, 22
My paraphrase: Love with all my mind. Love my neighbor as myself. My faith is made complete through acting in love.
Yeah right, I thought. At the time my mind was so preoccupied with me, there was no way I could love God or others. And then I saw how this had played out in my life:
Withdrawl. Hiding from people. Avoiding situations where I might feel unworthy. Trying to find a “safe” space where my conscience would not be tested.
My hyperactive conscience had the power in my life, not God. I realized the only way out was to take action. To fight the enemy on God’s terms, not man’s. I started to unfurl from my fetal position and make a choice to take a loving action. So when I started to berate myself I would purposefully go and encourage someone else instead. To be who God created me to be!
I discovered that I knew all the truth I needed to know, but I was waiting for the actions to just follow naturally. Nope, God said, YOU make the choice to act in truth and that’s when your faith is made complete. Your healing is made complete.
I think Joyce Meyer is famous for saying “Take the right action and the feelings will follow.” I’m here to tell you it works.
No, I’m not perfect at always taking the right action. But I haven’t been curled up in a ball for years. A little stomach ache now and I know what I need to do.
Do you have a hyperactive conscience? Put my method to the test and see if you can make it shut up too.
After all, what good does it do me, or you, or God if we’re wasting all our time talking to a liar?
By the way…you are beautiful, you are worthy, you are used mightily by God and He has great plans for your life!
Go forth and conquer!