When We Rebel Against Ourselves

Why do we rebel against ourselves?

  • I vow to give up the evening glass of wine (that has become too much of a habit) and tonight have a 3rd glass instead of my usual two.
  • I decide to start a healthy eating plan on Monday, so this weekend becomes a gorge fest of all the junk foods I envision never eating again — adding two extra pounds to the total I will need to lose.
  • I swear I am done yelling at my kids, only to start the screaming the minute they walk in the door after school dropping their coats, shoes, and backpacks right in the doorway.

When a toddler protests getting dressed for a trip to the grocery story, the tantrum is understandable. After all, maybe he is in the middle of playing and doesn’t want to go to the store. Prisoners who form a militia and rebel against their captors are being held against their will. It might not be good, but it does make sense.

Why do we rebel against ourselves?  We are adults, free to make our own choices.

I do..and I don’t.

We might say things like, “A part of me wants to eat healthy and a part of me is resisting.” or, “I really want to start working out but, _______ (fill in the blank with our excuse of the day).”

Let’s consider our parts for a moment. Look at those parts as little “mini-mes.” (Don’t stress — we don’t have a split personalities. We all do this.) Give them fun names and big personalities. The stronger our imaginations, the better this works! Each part of us has good intentions and is trying to give us something.

Imagine the Healthy Me (or Righteous Me, or Victorious Me, or ???). What does that part look like? How does she talk? Act? Think? How old is she?

Now imagine the Rebellious Me (Overeating Me, Party Girl Me, Little Girl Me, or ???) as the other part. What does she look, act, and sound like?

My Healthy Me is strong, energetic, smart, and adult. She is also an all-or-nothing thinker who expects perfection and is rather judgmental. She tends get things done with a to-do-list clipboard in hand, and points her finger at anyone who gets in the way!

My Rebellious Me is fun-loving, playful, and little girl. If you tell her what to do, she says hell no, you can’t make me! Give her rules, and she will figure out how to break them plus add some extra rebellion on for good measure!

What do your “Me’s” look like?

Time for a Heart to Heart Conversation!

The number one key to this process: Realize that all our parts have good intentions for us!

Be creative and have fun with this. (Like I said, don’t freak out about the split personality idea.) What if the two parts of us could sit down and have a conversation? They both have the same end goal in mind — they want us to move forward with our lives in a positive way.

Just like any other type of compromise, we can help the parts of us come together to move forward in a healthy way.

Believe it or not, the parts of us that do what we consider “bad things” (overeating, smoking, drinking) actually have good intentions and are in some way trying to take care of us. As we grow and mature, we can learn to take care of ourselves in healthier, more positive ways.

Take a peek at an internal conversation I had with myself this morning:

Healthy Me: You’ve been eating way too much junk food and processed crap lately. Time to get on the straight and narrow. Whip into shape! Let’s go! No more junk — only healthy food from now on.

Rebellious Me: What? I just got back from vacation. Who wants to live like a saint all the time? I’m heading for the kids’ Halloween candy, stat. I wonder how much of it I can mow down before Healthy Me notices.

Healthy Me: I heard that. You’re right, I was a little harsh there. But I’m serious. You know you feel lousy with all the junk you’ve been eating lately. Plus think of the example you are setting for your kids and the people you are leading. It’s time to start eating whole, unprocessed foods and follow a healthier program.

Rebellious Me: (sigh) I know you are right, but dang, you are such a party pooper! What’s wrong with some junk food now and again? Everyone eats junk food sometimes.

Healthy Me: Yes, of course everyone eats junk food sometimes. Take a breath here. I’m not saying you can’t eat junk food ever again or even sometimes. I’m just saying, how about if we follow a clean eating plan for 90% of the time. Is that reasonable to you?

Rebellious Me: 90%? That means I still get 10% for Reeses Peanut Butter cups?

Healthy Me: Yes, you still get 10% for Reeses or whatever you want. (laughing), but it needs to stay close to your daily calorie goals. No binging since you haven’t done that for a couple years now. And let’s find some new clean eating recipes to try, maybe some whole foods cookies on Pinterest. It’s fun to try new foods.

Rebellious Me: Deal.

Healthy Me: Deal.

What would your Mes conversation sound like? Do you see how both parts of you have the same end goals?

How God Works

How can we say all our parts have good intentions? What about sin?

This is what Paul says:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Romans 7:15-20

Paul makes it very clear. We are sinful. We are born sinful and every part of us is sinful. Thank goodness the chapter doesn’t stop there.

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

Romans 7:24-25

Who will deliver us? Jesus Christ is our Deliverer!

The only salvation we have is through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Because of his death on the cross, we not only look forward to salvation with Him eternally, we live in a state of grace and forgiveness now.

Are we perfect? Of course not — we are stuck in this sinful life with sinful bodies, which is why we continue to mess up. Yet we have the grace of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us. The power of the Holy, Creator God lives in us! All our strength comes from God at work:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Grace is God’s answer to our rebellion question.

In what area of your life do you have parts that do and parts that don’t? How can you help the parts of you come together in compromise?