Not to long ago He spoke to me again about how I think about myself. I think He was getting tired of me being totally deflated. Lately I had been beating myself up for so many things going on in my life. I spend too much time crafting and my house ends up a mess, I'm not disciplined enough with my kids, my husband seems to be going through bouts of mild depression and I think he's looking to me to fix it, and projects I started have not yet been finished. And even though I spend a lot of time crafting my creativity has come to a complete standstill. And to further my problems I still battle shopaholicism and food addiction.
Well, to be honest I have beat myself up my whole life. As far as I can remember I have always had a self deprecating humor and I have always put myself down. Because of my low self esteem I have always second guessed myself. When I was a child some people (who will go nameless) repeatedly told me bad things about myself and I believed them. So when a child thinks they're bad, they do bad. I have so many regrets. In my 30s as I grew in the knowledge of God's love I learned to love myself. Learning to love myself has been hard work. But even though I have learned to love myself I didn't stop thinking badly about myself. Loving myself and thinking good things about myself are two different things. It's like loving a family member but you don't really like them.
One Sunday as I was getting ready to out to lunch at PF Changs I heard Joel Osteen on TV. It was as if he were talking directly to me.
"...If you're waiting to feel good about yourself until you overcome in every area and perform perfectly 100% of the time you will be waiting your whole life. You have to give yourself permission to have some flaws. You'll never be happy if you don't give yourself the right to have some weaknesses. We should always be growing, improving, striving to do better. But in the meantime we should not beat ourselves up because we haven't arrived. There will always be some area that God is dealing with you in about coming up higher. The scripture says we are God's workmanship. It indicates it's an ongoing process. Just because we havent arrived doesn't mean we're supposed to sit on the sidelines until we get it all together. God wants to use us with our limitations."
He also said: "Don't go around feeling bad about yourself. Many times the enemy doesn't have to condemn us. We condemn ourselves. If you stay focused on your weaknesses, your faults, on how you didn't measure up. That's not going to help you improve. That's just going to drag you down and cause you to do worse.
The scripture says "Our faith is made effective by acknowleding everything good." (Philemon 1:6)
If you're acknowledging everything wrong with you, your faith is not going to be effective.
If you're focused on your flaws and reliving every mistake you've made for the last 30 years and you're down on yourself because you're not where want to be. Because you're acknowledging what's wrong it will keep you from moving forward. One of the worst mistakes going through life being against ourselves. There's already enough people against us. Enough circumstances against us. Quit beating yourself up. Quit over analyzing your faults. Quit taking inventory of everything you don't like about yourself.
So often we spend more time looking at what's wrong with us than what we do that is right with us. It should just the opposite. Start acknowledging everything good about you. Start focusing on the good that's what makes your faith effective. When you're for yourself, instead of against yourself, you are in agreement with God. He'll breathe in your direction. You'll be stronger, more focused, more disciplined, more determined. That will help you overcome anything that is holding you back.
If we're going to live in victory, instead of condemning ourselves we need to start approving ourselves. Something powerful happens when you say, 'I like who I am. I am not perfect. I got some faults. Areas I need to improve in. But I know I'm growing. I'm improving. And since God approves me then I approve myself.' When you put on the breastplate of God's approval in the unseen realm chains are broken. Chains of inferiority, chains of guilt, chains of low self esteem. Those strongholds are broken and God's favor is released."
Joel is right. I acknowledge I am not perfect, but more importantly I will acknowledge the good things about myself. I know that I am kind and I always try to help others in their need. I do random acts of kindness like open doors for strangers, sort thru hundreds of coupons to send to soldiers, give money, and if I can't give money I give my time. I have always tried to be a good friend and give people the benefit of a doubt. I try to control my temper and don't yell like I used to. My husband and I enjoy each other and have put more effort into our marriage than we have in the past. I have sacrificed to help my family members. My house isn't dirty it's just messy because of my crafting stuff , I'm not the best disciplinarian but my children know they are loved, I am not crafting on the level that I yearn to be at but I'm learning and improving with every mistake. I may have bought a lot of stuff, but I have given and donated a lot of stuff too, and food addiction is better than drug addiction.
Now for the hard part: acknowledging the good things instead of the bad things on a daily basis. This is just one day of a breakthrough. I have 30something years of a bad habit to break.
God is definitely not finished with me yet.