Recognizing that you are your own worst enemy is an extremely painful experience.
I know, because it happened to me. Not only was I in the habit of beating myself up, but I used to sabotage myself on a regular basis without even knowing it.
We singles often look for someone else to blame--even God. It can be humbling, even humiliating to look in the mirror and see the one who's doing you the most harm.
The good news is -- and this is very good news -- you have an opportunity to make a major improvement in your life when you recognize this problem. Once I understood that I was getting in my own way, I started to look for ways to change that. I found many.
You can too.
Those of us who have self esteem problems have a hard time admitting our mistakes. Acknowledging that you're doing yourself harm can be very depressing.
But patterns start emerging. If you abuse alcohol or other substances, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Singles with those problems are loathe to recognize they have a problem. And yes, Christians can and do get involved in substance abuse.
Being promiscuous because of a deep desire for love can also get you into trouble. It's not only unwanted pregnancies or STDs, but the inevitable broken heart that comes from shallow encounters.
It's hard for us singles to be objective. It's difficult to stand back, look at yourself and say, "These bad things that have happened weren't caused by someone else. You're your own worst enemy." That really hurts.
Here's where to start. Get it firmly lodged in your mind that every action has consequences.
That may seem like an absurdly simple truth, but what's frightening is that most of us ignore it. We act as if we can stumble along through life, doing whatever we please, and nothing bad will ever happen because of it. Here's something worth remembering:
God does not protect us from
the consequences of our reckless behavior.
Let's clarify that. God does forgive our sins. But it's like jumping off a cliff. The law of gravity applies to Christians just as it does to unbelievers. God's not going to suspend his laws because of our bad choices.
An awful lot of singles' problems occur because we're too self-absorbed to look into the future and foresee the consequences of our actions. I know I've done that. How about you?
We're so wrapped up in the pleasure or excitement of the moment that we turn a blind eye toward any potential bad outcome. But none of us can escape consequences, including me, and including you.
Every so often, if you're paying attention, God gives you a glimpse of the truth. However, he doesn't beat you over the head with it. He does expect you to take some initiative.
It's my goal on this web site to help you get to the truth, both about yourself and about God. One of those truths is that God does not want you to be your own worst enemy. Another truth is that he wants to help you stop that.
Maybe you don't believe in God at all. Or maybe you think he is your worst enemy. Sorry. You're wrong. God is your best friend, not your worst enemy. In fact, he loves you more than you love yourself, and he loves you consistently, all the time, no matter what. You can't say that for yourself. I know I can't.
That's important to remember in this situation. I needed God's help to quit sabotaging myself, and you do too. First, he helps you become aware of the pattern, and second, he shows you how to do something about it.
Changing bad habits is never easy. That's why we need God's help. Once you accept responsibility for being your own worst enemy, it's time to forget blame and guilt and move on toward a solution.
With the case of an addiction, professional help is required. It's got too tight a hold on you for you to kick it on your own. There's no do-it-yourself fix to such a problem.
Small steps are crucial. None of us changes overnight. In my case, it took me years to stop putting myself down and to see myself realistically, in the light of God's love. I had to overcome a church background that constantly told me I was never good enough. That simply wasn't true.
But back to you. How do you know when you're your own worst enemy? A simple test is to take one of the bad situations you're in now, and trace back to what caused it. It's crucial to do this honestly. Shifting the blame or ducking responsibility won't help. With prayer and patience, you may remember a decision you made or an action you took (or didn't take but should have) that led to the problem you have today.
Then what? Well, when something isn't working, why do more of it? There's an old joke about a man hitting himself in the head with a hammer. Another fellow asks him why he's doing it. The first man says, "Because it feels so good when I stop."
So why start in the first place? Many of us are doing the equivalent of hitting ourselves in the head with a hammer. We have a choice. We always have a choice. Sometimes that choice is hard, and we may not like it, but let's recognize that we do have a choice.
With God's help we can each review our life and see where we went wrong. We can see the why and how. Obviously, you're not responsible for all the bad things that happen to you. But in some instances you can see where you bore some responsibility.
We certainly need God's help to stop repeating our mistakes. This is a change that takes courage, sometimes more than we have available. That's where God comes in. His goal is to make us more like his son, Jesus, and he will supply the grace and help we need to do that.
Be kind to yourself. You're worth going through this exercise. When you grasp God's love for you and approach this without blame and guilt, you have your attitude right.
Your mind and heart are ready to set things straight. It's an act of love toward yourself when you stop being your own worst enemy.