by Brandy Webb
How do you treat yourself? When you “look” at yourself, do you like what you see? Do you struggle with self-condemnation? Is this how we are supposed to be?
It is easy for me to treat others with love and compassion. It is easy for me to try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they are not nice, but it is not easy for me to treat myself with the same affection. I am really hard on myself. I think that I am my worse judge. I also have a bad habit of self-comparison. You know, that bad habit of looking at others that seem so successful, blessed, faithful, happy, etc., and wondering, “What happened to me?” It is so easy to fall into the trap of self-pity and self-condemnation. The problem is that this does not glorify God.
We are made in His image. He loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son, so that we could live eternally with Them. So, why is it so hard to love ourselves? How are we supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves, if we are constantly berating ourselves?
I guess, for me, the issue is that I didn’t quite achieve my goals for myself as I have gotten older. I look back at my “castles in the sky” dreams that I had when I was a teen, and I realize that those castles are still in the sky and I’m still on the ground. Yet, I know as a Christian that I’m not supposed to look at all the “what ifs,” the mistakes, the detours, or to dwell on what I haven’t achieved. I’m supposed to focus in the present, and to be grateful for the things I have achieved. I need to look at myself through a different set of eyes. I need to strive to look at myself the way my Heavenly Father and Savior look at me.
When David was chosen to become king of Israel, Samuel was confused when God passed up the brothers that “looked” the part. God tells Samuel that He doesn’t look at people the way we do, “for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). I may not have accomplished much on the physical side of things and in ways that the world deems as successful. However, I am still striving to walk the path of faith, to raise my kids in a Christian home in words and deeds, and to learn to love myself as God loves me, and these are traits that I believe God looks for in us.
We are not our own (1 Cor 6:19). We were bought at a price (1 Cor 6:20), a very high price. Therefore, we need to halt the thoughts that want to destroy our self-worth. Satan knows how to get at us. One way that is easy for him to attack me is through my thoughts regarding myself. Thoughts need to change for the better. All thoughts need to be brought in submission to Christ (2 Cor 10:15). Christ loves us, He likes us, He protects us, He forgives us, and He gives us His Spirit to help us. I need to make sure I’m listening to the right Spirit, the Spirit of truth, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control, love, forgiveness… (Gal 5:22-23). Truth is not emotional. Emotions cloud truth. They darkens our discernment.
The truth is, I am successful. I have a loving husband, daughter, son, family, friends, and a God who helps me to write these blogs. I have a God who loves me and sees me as a beautiful person, the person He created me to be. Just like He sees you. He formed us, and it isn’t our job to turn to the Maker and say, “Hey why didn’t you make me into a vase instead of a bowl?” (Rom 9:19-21). His hands created who we are, and He likes His creation. He may not like some of our actions, and that is why He gave us His Holy Spirit to try to help us overcome our carnal selves.
Do we realize that when we go around “beating ourselves up” on the inside, we are in essence telling God that He did a lousy job creating us? We are figuratively spitting in His face, and we are also doubting His forgiveness and total power to help us become a beautiful work of art. We are putting our own emotionally driven opinions in front of His truthful thoughts regarding us. Therefore, I ask God to help me see myself through His eyes, so that when I really look at myself, I will see what He sees, the person He created me to be.