There was a GIANT spider floating in my toilet bowl early in the morning.
I freaked out for a moment but I remembered: I am a brave warrior.
In the night that spider had been hanging out on the wall next to the toilet paper. With a TP wad in hand I moved in and killed the beast. Then I squealed a little and jiggled high up on my toes as I tossed the fidgeting body into the toilet bowl.
A short night’s sleep was all that was needed for me to totally forgot about my powerful Buffy the spider slayer adventure. I don’t know why I didn’t flush. But now I’m glad I didn’t. As I pondered that floating spider corpse I realized something major: I don’t remember how awesome I am.
It’s much easier to remember my failings. My faults. My errors. It’s much easier to believe the bad. My worthlessness. My being the odd man out.
And when I look back through my life, I see that I’ve mostly listened to the voices who point out my faults. I’ve often allowed my value to be defined by others. After all, isn’t beauty is in the eye of the beholder? I’ve looked to my beholders to determine my worth.
My spider morning was a gift. A reminder. I am a woman of strength and beauty. I am a human with giftings and unique powers. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (psalms 139:14). Hmmm. I need more metaphorical spiders in my proverbial toilet.
For the past four years, God has been speaking to me about me. Layer by layer He has lovingly been stripping away my self-depreciating ways. I have been discovering the beauty of who I am.
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“There is an epidemic of insecurity in our society today. Many people are insecure and feel bad about themselves, which steals their joy and causes major problems in all their relationships… They are miserable if anyone seems to not approve of them in any way or for any reason and they are anxious about the disapproval until they feel they are once again accepted.” “A sense of security is something everyone needs and desires. Security enables us to enjoy healthy thinking and living. It means we feel safe, accepted, and approved of. When we are secure we approve of ourselves, we have confidence, we accept and love ourselves in a balanced way. We don’t necessarily need approval from others to feel confident. Security enables us to reach our potential and fulfill our God-given destiny.” Meyer, Joyce (2005), Approval Addiction. New York: Warner Faith.
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It has been a shock for me to realize that not everyone lives the way I have been living. I am in awe of people who seem immune to and even unaware of the judgements and critiques of others. It been sad to discover the cage that has restricted my joy of life and the use of my gifts. I am so grateful that God is healing and freeing me.
People who know me will be surprised to hear about my insecurity and low self-esteem. Recently when I shared my journey with a friend she said that she doesn’t believe me because I’m the most confident person she knows. She’s right. I am pretty confident and verbal and strong. My issue is not in being true to myself. My issue is in loving my true self.
You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. (Song of Songs 4:1)
There is such a fine balance in this. A see-saw between arrogance and feelings of no-worth. I think in Christian circles we prefer people who are self-loathing. We really don’t like people who are conceited and self-promoting. But neither extreme is healthy.
I love this blog post by Mike Glenn:
“The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard told a story of thieves who broke into a jewelry store and didn’t steal anything; they simply rearranged the price tags. The next morning, the expensive jewelry was sold as junk, and the junk jewelry was sold as expensive. His point is obvious. We live in a world where someone has rearranged the price tags.
“Nowhere is this switching of price tags more evident than in the area of self-esteem. In our culture, people are valued for how they look, what they can do or even what they have, but rarely for who they are. In our world, you have to be beautiful by mathematical standards (and yes there is a formula for beauty—it’s all about ratios), entertaining (not talented, but entertaining), and if you are not, the world has no place for you. If you can’t make the Top 100 in the world on some list, you are nothing.
“This pressure on self-esteem has devastating consequences in the lives our young adults. Young men commit heinous acts just to prove to someone they are a man. Young women get involved in destructive relationships because they are told they are nothing is they do not follow the culture’s standards.
“Every week I’m reminded of how important the gospel message is: You are loved! You didn’t do anything to earn it or deserve it, but God gives it freely! It’s grace! You are created in His image, paid for by His death and invited to live a new way with Him in His resurrection. You are valuable—indescribably so—and it is only the good news of Jesus that tells you that.
“Paintings are valuable because the artist signs them. Imagine—please, take a few minutes to imagine—what some museum would say you were worth if you could show them the signature of God upon you. That’s what the Imago Dei means: God, the greatest Artist, has signed you and me. Our self-esteem is not based on what we have done, but in who made us.
“We are deemed beautiful, not by some arbitrary standard of the world, but by our Maker. God has created us and loves us. That makes us—everyone of us—beautiful, because we are the bearers of God’s beauty.
“When you know what you are worth, things change. Your life changes. What will you change about your life, as you understand the value God has given you?”
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How are you? Do you see the beauty of God’s workmanship in you? Do you see others through a lens of criticism? What is your story of discovering your self-worth?
Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s readings are Psalm 36; Luke 20:27-47