I’m a Treasure – Part 1
Ego – the opinion you have about yourself… Psychologically– a part of the mind which senses and adapts to the real world… Self esteem.
My ego bruises easily. Approaching this age of life I hoped I would no longer seek the approval of others. I hoped I’d unearthed enough confidence in God’s calling to say, “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – it only matters what God thinks”. Alas, I still have work to do.
The other day I found myself swallowed up in a moment of self-esteem bashing. I began experiencing thoughts such as you really are stupid; no one really cares. If you died tomorrow weeks would pass before anyone noticed you missing (except for my hubby of course). The devil had me…. and he knew it. He didn’t stop there, he went on to attack the very thing I love to do; write. He questioned me, much as he did Eve in the garden. “Did God really call you to write?” “You call yourself a writer, yet you’ve “formally” published nothing”. “Your writing has no eternal value, it will mean nothing once you die”. “You have no education to do this”…. aka no credentials. and one of my favorites where the enemy gets me each and every time… “Even your friend __________ doesn’t think your writing has merit.
We all have these moments. For you the words might be similar or they might go something like, “Your parenting sucks – your child’s always in trouble or your marriage is failing because you’re a lousy wife, not sexy enough. Your hubby only tolerates you. If your hubby truly loved you he would _____ or wouldn’t _________ ! This is the best job you can get. You’re too fat too _____________, and the list goes on and on. I have a dear friend who grew up hearing the words, “Why aren’t you more like your brother?” inferring he was not good enough; he didn’t measure up. He spent his growing up years seemingly living in the shadow of his sibling, striving for his parent’s approval, yet always falling just short of the mark. When he was unable to obtain their seal of approval he sought to find value in the approval of others.
I find it interesting that in my later years, God called me to write. Writing puts me in a career which bases success on what others think and value; interesting, very interesting. The Lord called and provided the gifting of talent by which I’m able to put words on paper and achieve any level of success. I knew going in my desire and skill were coming from God. In my head I could say it does not matter if anyone likes what I write, I am writing for you, Lord; I am writing because you have called me to write; the outcome of such is yours. Then reality sets in and as much as I desire to say it does not matter, it does. The enemy knows it matters and uses every opportunity to remind me of my weaknesses for his benefit.
God understands it matters and it’s okay. The key lies in how I respond to the thoughts which say I am not worthy. I can take them personally, internalize them, make them about my value as a person, see myself as failing, continue to ride the enemies roller coaster; or, I can step off, stand on solid ground and look to the Truth.
I find writing this blog extremely hard as I lay my vulnerability out here for all too see. I’m not writing so all my friends and readers will respond, commenting wonderfully, on how great I am; for this would serve no point. I’m writing because I firmly believe there’s someone who needs to hear my message; someone midlife to later in age who currently battles the message of a valueless existence.
When a person seeks the approval of others they can’t win. It only takes one negative to bring them down to a zero balance. Not fair – shouldn’t be this way. For approval seekers –that’s how it is – one negative wipes out the whole bank of positives! The opinions, the likes and dislikes of people often change with the wind. One moment you may be flying high with friendly accolades which bring about feelings of I am loved. One negative comes along and all those accolades shatter and you find yourself in the gutter of self-worth.
As a Christian receiving our value from the approval of others is a form of idol worship. When we place our value by the thoughts and opinions of others, we place their thoughts before God’s; “Doesn’t matter what you say God, only matters what my friends, co-workers, peers, parents, etc. think.
When we seek the approval of others in order for us to feel good about ourselves we lose. We lose any sense of self and independence. Our world revolves around the thoughts and ideas of others – we may feel we are in control but the truth is they are! Our motivations and everything we do becomes about them; what will they think? How will they respond or react? Will they love me if…. it is all about them. If the response is anything less than wonderful our self-esteem drops several notches. If we allow the pattern to continue a time comes when self is no longer evident – to have a thought of our own is unheard of – self has been buried too deep. We can no longer make a simple decision without help.
More to come …. Promise
Until next time,