Friday, June 15, 2012

What I Am [Not]

Have you ever struggled with self-condemnation? Well, welcome to the club. I don't mean that to sound trivial or unsympathetic, because I know that it is a serious struggle, both for myself and others. And for us women, we tend to heap the mounds of defeat on ourselves much more than the opposite gender, although they are definitely not immune either. Two verses specifically combat this struggle, that come to mind:

  • Ephesians 1:18: "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints"
  • Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Look at these truths. Both pack a whole lot of self-condemnation battle punch. And when applied correctly and thoughtfully to those thoughts and feelings that are contrary to what is true, the weight of shame and guilt that you are relieved of is truly remarkable. As I was considering the struggle of self-condemnation today, I want you to think about the reasons why we wrestle so much with these type of thoughts and emotions. I believe that the battle begins when we fail to live up to arbitrary standards that either the world or ourselves have put on us. The struggle may begin when you start thinking about your weight for instance. You mull over what your body "should" look like, and then start inwardly complaining/condemning yourself over what your body actually looks like. The cycle is sped up when we mount on all of our own personal failures and then we become consumed in this unhealthy, unhelpful, ungodly pattern of thinking that does nothing but make us depressed and pitiful. At the root of these thoughts: self. We are focusing way too much on ourselves, and way too little on Christ. That is why when I read Ephesians 1:18 today, I was considerably helped. Think about this: I am stuck in my downward cycle of thoughts about the way I feel, look, am acting, etc. and cannot 'see' what is really true because I am just caught in this web of terrible thoughts about myself that continue to get worse. Then all of a sudden [TRUTH] steps in, your eyes are enlightened, you remember the HOPE to which God has called you, and the glorious riches that you inherit as saint (one who is set apart for God)! Your thoughts begin to lift, maybe slowly at first, but in rememberance of what is really true, you forget what is really not. Our eyes, heart, and mind shifts from focusing on ourselves' to focusing on Christ. And when we focus on Christ, we see ourselves in a new light. We remember that we were bought with a price, that we are not defined by how we look, the way we have acted, what we've said, the ways in which we failed, nor the ways in which we are currently struggling. We are defined by [Christ].

So I thought I'd write a little poem to help me to remember that although I 'am' a lot of things, I am primarily a daughter of the King's:

I am [not] the fastest runner.
I am [not] a health nut.
I am [not] the perfect wife.
I am [not] the most efficient worker.
I am [not] the most beautiful woman.
I am [not] the best writer.
I am [not] the most talented chef.
I am [not] always a neat freak.
I am [not] already glorified.
I am [not] sinless.
I am [not] without baggage.
But I am Christ's.
I do belong to Him.  

Although I still may not measure up to all of my standards, I meet his: I am a sinner, in need of a Savior. And when my identity is all wrapped up in Jesus, and when I can boast in nothing else but my Him, then I no longer need to condemn myself, because He was already condemned for me.

*written on June 1, 2012*

Feel free to share with me your thoughts -

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