My Own Worst Enemy
A couple of weeks ago Christy had to run some errands, which meant that I was going to be with the kids, making dinner and cleaning up. I wanted to keep them occupied and interested in something while I made dinner so that they didn’t just trash the house, so I came up with the idea of having them write and illustrate story books for Christy. First of all, let me say that in my extremely biased opinion, both of these monumental works should be published. Norah wrote a story about a butterfly and decided to employ the very Avant-Garde technique of using precisely the same illustration for every page of the book. Anna wrote a book about rainbows which is very informative and entertaining and uses the correct color order on every rainbow.
The thing that surprised me in the midst of all this creative output was Anna’s attitude toward her own book. During the process of writing and drawing, she kept looking over at Norah’s book and encouraging her. She would tell Norah how much liked the butterflies she was drawing and how pretty it looked and then she would follow up by bashing her own drawings, saying things like, “Norah, your book is really beautiful, but I think my book is just really ugly.” Now, you may be thinking, “Well, she was just fishing for compliments... she just wanted to hear someone tell her how awesome her book was.” And maybe that’s the case, but I don’t really think so. When she’s pumped about something she’s done, she’s not afraid to say it. In this case, she seemed to be sincere. I encouraged her a ton about her story and her illustrations, which were really, very cool, but she was convinced it wasn’t very good.
I think most folks do this kind of thing to themselves constantly. I know I do. We don’t see what we’re good at, we don’t know what we’re doing here, we want to be used by God, but don’t really know if that’s happening. If you’re like me, you may even catch an occasional glimpse of how God is using you, only to think, “Yeah, but I bet He’s settling. I’m pretty sure He’d rather use someone else for this...” What I’m talking about isn’t just low self-esteem, it’s spiritual self-sabotage. I look around at other folks and see God at work in their lives, but then I look at myself and see mainly my failures, struggles and doubts. As Mike Mason said one time, if I had any friends that spoke to me the way I speak to myself, I’d fire them as my friend!
In 1 Peter 2, he says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” In Colossians 3, Paul calls us, “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” You see, the solution to this issue is not about having more self confidence... it’s simply about believing God! He says He picked me. He says I’m different than other folks to Him. He says I’m one of His people. He says I’m holy and dearly loved! He says He wanted me because He loved me. When it comes right down to it, I don’t have the right to make more of myself than God does, but at the same time, I don’t have any right to say anything less about myself than God does either. If He says it, He means it and it’s true. I’m lovable, useful and special to God, and so are you.