So I spent 45 minutes earlier writing down notes for my next blog post that I had titled “hate is a really strong word!” It’s a phrase I was told a lot as I grew up. My original plan for this latest blog post was to discuss how hate can warp our view of things – which I still believe to be true – particularly ourselves. I had planned to speak of my hate for myself but then I stopped and as I broke from concentration I felt a shift in my thought process –  this was not hate that I had for myself but fear! I am fearful of becoming someone I don’t like or someone unrighteous; someone that others don’t like; someone perhaps that even God doesn’t like. It is in fact this fear that has driven me into disliking parts of me; it’s this fear that has driven me to reject parts of who I am; it is this fear that holds me back and the same fear that fills me with guilt and shame if I cross a border that could be disliked!

The fear of becoming unlikable is a strange fear because in a way it has lead me to believe I am unlikable. Fear makes us focus on the negative; it gives us tunnel vision; it forces us to do one of two things: fight or fly! If we fight our fear we want to eradicate the cause of our fear; if we fly we want to escape what causes our fear. Either way we are trying to live a life without the cause of fear; so what happens when our fear is within us or is even a potential version of ourselves. How we can we live a life without ourselves?

This is precisely how I have lived my life – certainly in recent years. I seem to have created in my minds eye the view of a likable person and an unlikable person. With my all or nothing brain in action there is no middle ground allowed for me – I can either be likable or unlikable so I have to try and either eradicate anything that may make me unlikable or attempt to run away from it. Both these options have left me focusing on the negative – looking out for the potential ‘bad’ in me – it gave me a tunnel vision view of myself. The fear of being unlikable drove me to hate myself. Ironically my fear caused me to believe that I actually was unlikable.

Fear drives us to believe what is untrue; it convinces us of danger when it is not really there; it convinces us that we need to eradicate the cause; it convinces us to hate. When people fear spiders do they say ‘oh I love spiders’? no usually it’s ‘I HATE spiders’.  When people fear the dark do they love walking out in the night? no they most likely HATE it. When people say they HATE confined spaces are they not simply saying that they fear the feeling confined spaces cause them to feel? The root cause of hate is often fear.

So is it possible to live with fear and not hate? Can we get rid of fear without eradicating the cause?

I think it is hard to separate fear and hate – they are so intertwined with deception and lies; with warped views and  ideas. All I can simply say is neither belong in our hearts – we have not been made to fear and we have not been made to hate. God created us to trust in Him and live a life of love. To me it’s clear that the fear is an essential element of my insecurities and low self-esteem it is a cause of my hate for myself and it is the thing that needs to go. However I don’t want to lose the things that make me me in the process – I have to stop seeing my weaknesses as something to be fearful of but yet something to embrace. The weaknesses that I have viewed ‘unlikable’ in me may in fact hold some strength but my fear and hate has not allowed me to dwell on them.

I spent the beginning of this week feeling pretty bad about myself; viewing the things I was lacking and the things I wasn’t doing.
I hated that I hadn’t spent time tidying the house.
I hated that I struggled to keep up to date with the washing.
I hate that I enjoyed my weekend without my children.
I hated that I felt useless and was pretty certain I was going to fail at my new work venture.
I hated that I was lazy.
I hated that I was struggling to remain out of debt.
I hated that I had allowed myself to become grumpy.
I hated that I had allowed myself to feel so horrible.
I hated that I wasn’t patient. I hated that I ate too much bad food.
I was fearful that I had become an adult that I didn’t want to be – I hated me!

But maybe the me that I feared being is the me that God created me to be.
Perhaps a messy house didn’t matter because it meant I was able to do things for others.
Maybe not keeping up with the clean washing meant I wasn’t spending everday saying ‘not now’ to my youngest
Maybe enjoying my weekend without my children meant I had a special time with my husband; keeping our relationship ours.
Perhaps I feel useless because I actually care;
Perhaps being scared of failure will drive me to succeed.
Maybe rest has kept me from falling.
Perhaps the way I view money means I don’t hold on to it too tightly
Perhaps grumpy makes me human – more relatable.
Maybe I wouldn’t find ways to change without feeling horrible.
Perhaps food is sometimes yummy!!!!

When I begin to think hateful thoughts towards myself I need to remember to check they aren’t hateful because of fear.  I need to learn that my weaknesses aren’t necessarily something to fear but instead something to embrace.

Greatness can be found in our greatest weaknesses because God has a special way of turning things upside down!!

Is your hate really hate or is it just a fear? Are you fighting or flying or simply ready to eradicate that fear?