I have excessive self-consciousness and self-doubt.

Ralph,

I feel very much like the person who wrote that he/she hates life. I hate life and have hated it for many years. I have an ethical and Christian principle against suicide, because it's cruel to the people who care about me. I know that this is part of a personality disorder because I have excessive self-consciousness and self-doubt. Everytime I have ambitiously ignored these feelings and focused on activities or work or involvements, I have made a big screw-up, or someone scolded me for something I did that I thought was the right thing to do or accused me of something I didn't do or embarrassed me or teased me or made me feel unwelcome. Once, I went to a career counselor who also happened to be a psychologist. After 45 minutes conversation, I got no career counseling and the woman told me I was brain damaged. I was so disturbed by what she said that I wanted to crawl into bed and never come out again. I believe that God developed our elimination systems (going to the toilet) as a means of forcing depressed people to get out of bed. I spend all day every day faking like I'm fine and everything's cool, but I feel completely defective to the point that I am and am increasingly emotionally and mentally paralyzed. That woman was not the only psychologist who has said stupid, irresponsible, unprofessional things to me. Obviously, I never want to talk to a psychologist again.

I truly want to be dead. I have actually prayed for cancer. I feel stupid, weird, disliked, extraneous and like one big mistake. I feel like God was supposed to kill me off sometime along the way and forgot to. Everytime I developed a powerful desire or sense of calling to do something, whoever was in charge rejected me. Repeatedly, I have been put in situations where I've been expected to do things that are awkward or difficult for me to do, then I was judged harshly when I couldn't do them well. I've tried to be blunt with people by telling them when I can do well and cannot, but they have always believed they knew me better than I knew myself. I actually looked forward to getting gray hair so that I would appear as though I wasn't born yesterday, but since I've got gray hair, the attitude is, "We want someone younger." I see how talented, beautiful, capable, smart and quick-learning my daughters are and realize they represent my competition in the work world and I simply can't compete with people like that. So, I let my husband support me while I sit around going to weekly Bible study and watching Oprah and feeling dead inside. I offer to do this and that at church, but my heart isn't in it. I feel so fearful about screwing up and so discouraged with life that I don't have any motivation or desire to do anything anymore. I've disengaged, because I never fit in and never will and can't afford to invest anymore pain in trying. I have a big ball of deadness inside me and I keep hoping that it's not just a feeling but that it's real. I'm not picky. I'll take cardiac arrest, massive accident, killer asthma attack, cancer, anything. The bizarre thing is that I'm not a risk taker. In fact, I eat responsibly, exercise daily, and drive carefully. I so badly want God to take me, but I scrupulously make sure that I'm not doing myself in. Besides, I feel even worse when I don't exercise and don't eat right and would absolutely go insane if I ever hurt anybody, so I do what I can to relieve the situation, which is take good care of myself and be careful. But I hate life and want it over.

My response is in Green:

I have some good news for you. It is a good thing that you don't want to speak to another psychologist, because they have no answers. I have a lot of people disagree with me over that, but I could care less since it is what God says not me:

Jeremiah 17:5-9 This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. [6] He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. [7] "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. [8] He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." [9] The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? [NASB-U]

Now comes the hard part, I am a very blunt person, it isn't because I don't want to be compassionate, I just don't know how to say things in another way than to just say them. I hate candy coating, both when someone is speaking to me and when I am speaking to someone, so you won't get any candy coating in this response.

You made this statement; "I know that this is part of a personality disorder because I have excessive self-consciousness and self-doubt." This is the root of your problem. It isn't a mental disorder, it is a spiritual problem. You are not stupid, slow, or brain damaged, you have a spiritual problem that you need to deal with.

It is human nature for us to be self-centered, I am not talking about selfish, although that is also human nature. What I mean is that we tend to put ourselves above everything and everyone else. Even those people who claim to put themselves after their loved ones and friends, if you dig you will most often find that they are not really doing that, but rather they are 'sacrificing' so that they come over looking good, again it is about them. Often people write me and tell me that they hate themselves, but you know what, I have yet to find one person who truly hated themselves. The first clue is usually that they say they hate themselves so they want to commit suicide. That almost makes sense if they wanted to die as punishment, but that isn't what is going on, they want to die so that they will be out of the pain or situation that they hate, or in other words they want to be happier and are convinced that death holds the key. That isn't self-hate, it is self-love. They hate who they are and what their life is, but they love themselves and therefore want something better and think that death will give it to them.

I know that isn't you, but I wanted to make a point about human nature, we are born with a self-centered nature, it is a sinful nature. It is the reason that there are murders, thefts, affairs, you name it, most sin comes down to caring more about ourselves than others. Jesus knew it, that is why He said this:

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' [38] This is the first and greatest commandment. [39] And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." [NIV]

We are so evil and perverted that we tend to justify our self-love with Jesus' words. People claim He was promoting self-love by telling us to love others as we love ourselves, but that is not what He was saying, He was saying that we already love ourselves, now if we will just love others the same way, we will fulfill God's law. Let me show you something else that Jesus said:

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [NIV]

He said we can't follow Him unless we deny ourselves, that means putting self-love second to Him. That also means that our life is to be centered around Him and not us. Again let me show you from God's word what I mean:

1 Cor. 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? [20] For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. [NASB-U]

We are not our own, we were bought at a very high price and we are to focus on Him and care what He thinks and what He wants not what we want. You might be asking what in the world all of this has to do with you, well it has everything to do with you.

You hate life because you "have excessive self-consciousness and self-doubt" but why do you have these problems? Or more specifically what paralyzes you because you have these problems? It is what people will think of you. Let me ask you a question. Do you know what it was like for Jesus to be crucified? I don't mean just the physical part, but the rest of it. All the pictures or statues you see of the crucifixion show a cloth around Him, but that is not how it really happened. The person being crucified was stripped naked. So the Creator of the Universe hung on a cross naked and suffering, not because of anything He did but because of what we did or would do. They taunted Him, they told Him if He really was God's Son to come down from the cross, they spat on Him, they laughed at Him, they abused Him and yet He continued to hang there in shame and humiliation.... Why? Because He loved us, and yet we love ourselves so much that we refuse to honor Him by putting Him first in our lives, we put ourselves first and we pay the price for it.

I am sure this isn't what you want to hear, but it is what you need to hear. Oh I am sure I will get letters over the advise I am giving you if I post this on my site. Things like, "You are judgmental, you probably pushed that poor woman to commit suicide, etc..." Well the truth is still the truth and I stand by God's word. If you want eternal life, then Jesus must be Lord and Master of your life, you must put Him first and you know what you will benefit from it. Not only will you have eternal life, but your earthly life will change.

Philip. 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [22] If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! [23] I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; [24] but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. [NIV]

Those of us who follow Christ are not citizens of this world, I wish every day that Christ would return today to take us home, but if He chooses not to, then it is my responsibility to put Him first and that means going forward, not looking back, but continuing to run the race that He has put before me. I could care less what people say or think of me, I long for only one thing and that is to hear the words "Well done good and faithful servant." Nothing else means anything when compared to those words.

Of course I care about myself and this life, and my family, but I care most about Christ and what He wants. I don't know if you listen to the news or not, but there was man in Afghanistan just two weeks ago who was on trial for rejecting Islam and becoming a Christian. His family had turned him in and he was expected to get a death sentence. I don't know about you, but I think that he was much worse off than someone like me who people curse out in e-mail or who gets laughed at, yet he proudly proclaimed his love for Jesus Christ to the faces of those who held his life in their hands. He didn't want to die, he wanted to live, but only as a follower of Christ. He didn't care what people thought of him, he didn't even care what they did to him physically. We can take lessons from that man, and many more who have to choose between physical suffering and Christ on a daily basis. Praise be to God that the reason they stand firm isn't because they are so much braver than you and me, it is because the Holy Spirit who lives in them gives them the strength and courage.

The Holy Spirit will give you strength and courage too, if you are willing to put yourself second and follow Christ. What is it that God wants from your life. There must be something or He would take you home, so every day that you wake up you need to decide to follow Him, run the race and see what He has in store for you. Who might miss heaven because you stayed in bed instead of going about your business and witnessing to them? Who might decide to reject Christ because they look at your life and think if Christ is what she has, no thanks, I don't need any of that? Yes I am being hard, but again I painfully know what I am talking about. I had a best friend who I assume is in hell right now because of me. Oh, of course he is there because of his sin, not mine, but still it is partly my fault.

We used to drink and party together, then both being in the military we went different ways, to different parts of the world. After I came back to Christ, he called me one night and told me that he had been diagnosed with a rare disease. He was scared, he could no longer walk and was going down hill fast. I loved this man like a brother, yet my pride and my self-consciousness kept me from telling him about my Lord and Savior, I was afraid he might laugh at me. I hung up the phone, that was a Friday night and I felt guilty. I prayed for Bill, I pleaded with God to have someone talk to him. God used my wife to convict me, I needed to talk to Bill, I needed to put both Christ and Bill first and talk to him about his soul.

Finally I came to a conclusion I had to speak to Bill myself, that was Wednesday evening, I thought I would wait until Friday and call him and talk to him, that gave me two days to think of what to say. There was just one small problem, Bill died on Thursday evening. I never got to talk to him, I never gave him one last chance to know the love of Christ that saved a wretched sinner like me. That has been about 13 years ago, and I still feel the pain in my heart. I failed Christ and I failed Bill. Would Bill have responded? I don't know, but it doesn't matter, it wasn't my job to save Bill, it was just my job to be faithful to Christ, but I wasn't and it was because I was self-conscious and had self-doubts.

I have put away the self-love and I know have Christ-love. If people want to laugh at me or curse me, or whatever else they choose to do, I could care less, I will serve my King. It has changed my life and it will change yours too.

Ralph

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