Psalm 139:14 NLT
'Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it.'
In the past I had a tendency towards self-criticism. This has not usually been a rational, objective self-criticism aimed at self-improvement. My instinct has been to walk away when things don’t go well. I have been described as “brittle” when it comes to facing and enduring pressure. This all lies in the fact that I have lived with poor self-esteem for many years. Consequently, I was emotionally unstable, reacted unpredictably in situations, so driving friends away and frustrating my own inner ambitions.
Facing this reality was tough. I first had to acknowledge its reality and facedown, then slay, my inner critic. This inner sense that clung to me like a shadow interpreted life through a self-critical lens. I desperately wanted to be accepted and affirmed, yet tried too hard. As I confronted my inner critic by accepting God’s appreciation expressed here by the psalmist, I slowly exchanged self-doubt for self-acceptance, which grew into self-confidence. I moved from focusing on self-criticism to expressing in positive terms what I did well, no matter how small. I redefined myself as ‘friend and friar’. I offered support and encouragement to people in making their way through life, and enjoyed doing so. I also devised a simple rhythm around which I built my daily life. The very act of creating this rhythm provided me with a positive approach to each day. I set the pace and plan for my time; I chose not to respond to the inner critic.
For me, slaying the dragon required identifying the lenses through which I viewed the world. Rather than assume a negative when I perceived things going wrong, I began to look for the positives. I adopted a glass half-full approach to life. I began to write down the things I wanted to achieve in work and leisure. I dared to write down my goals and identify steps I might take towards reaching them. The energy I once used to count myself out I turned into energy invested into making myself count. I chose to believe what God always believed about me.
QUESTION: What are the differences between how God sees you and how you see yourself?
PRAYER: Lord, help me to love what you love including, thankfully, myself.