Hand Cramps/ Head to Heart Truths

When I was a little girl and I got in trouble, I remember my parents or teachers would punish me through the process of writing sentences. This may be familiar to some of you. If you are unfamiliar, it would go something like this.

9 year old Calah would steal candy from the candy cabinet after being told not to do so (Disclaimer: 21 year old Calah would probably still do this…)  and as a punishment, I would have to write the following sentence a few dozen times. 

I will not take candy from the cabinet without asking. 

I will not take candy from the cabinet without asking.

Or I would let my thirteen year old girl emotions get the best of me and say a sassy comment to my mom or dad. Then, they would send me to my desk where I would have to write the same sentence 50- 100 times. 

I will not talk back rudely to my parents.

I will not talk back rudely to my parents.

I will not talk back rudely to my parents.

I will not talk back rudely to my parents.

I will not talk back rudely  to my parents.

And so on.. 

The process is supposed to focus the mind, make clear what I had done wrong, and engrain a new, proper action into my mind. And after writing the same sentence 100 times, it is nearly impossible to forget. At the time, I hated this exercise, because about 30 lines in, my hand would be cramping and my head was full of regretful thoughts for not thinking before speaking or acting. 

The whole speaking without thinking thing and stealing candy are still bad habits (sorry if I have ever taken your sour patch or chocolate covered raisins,) but recently, I’ve been struggling with another bad habit- listening to lies of inadequacy or comparison that tell me I am not worth knowing, not valuable, not lovable, and overall just not enough or too much. 

This morning, I was having a conversation with a friend who was confessing that she too has this habit because the enemy consistently seeks to call us other names and to rob us of our identity as chosen and loved. As she was talking, I thought back to a book I read last year by Henri Houwen called Life of The Beloved. In the book, Nouwen explains that if there were one thought that he could establish in the hearts of people, it would be these words spoken over Jesus by His Father: “You are my Beloved.” In that moment, I thought, all I want if for this truth to sink into her heart and mine. 

Hours later, I was sitting in class, and I found myself utilizing the process of sentence repetition to focus my mind on this truth and to let it sink in. 

So, I wrote out “I am the beloved” over and over until I started to believe it.


As I wrote, the hand cramps kicked in, but so did the transfer of knowledge from my head to my heart, that I am the beloved and that is enough. 

“Self Rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’” Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”

– Henri Houwen



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