I have always had a tender heart. Growing up, I collected little pieces of who others told me I was. As a little girl I was told I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle. I was precocious. (both always said with a sharp tongue and an eyeroll-cluing me in to the fact that being smart and talkative were negative traits). I was a puppet. I was a nark. I was clumsy. I was too much. I was not enough. These are the adjectives that I believed described me. I carried this picture of myself into adulthood. Truth be told, this is how I saw myself until last year. I was never enough, I was too emotional, I was draining. Satan loves to get into our thinking, tie emotion to an event, or to a thought, and twist it just enough to keep us in bondage. Somehow the truth that others could not appreciate the way that I was created was morphed into a false belief that I must not have been good enough. I came to a place where I believed that my love for relationships and the ease with which I can talk to people were negative character traits. I love to write, but it seemed ridiculous to dream of writing a book. I always believed I was clumsy, turns out I love to work out and be active. What lies about yourself have you collected over the years? I encourage you to let that question be the prompt for some more writing in your notebook.
So, it is clear that my self esteem didn't fall under the healthy range. I believe that my poor self image and desire to hide were fuel to my Yahbuts. I could always come up with a reason why I couldn't. Couldn't what, you ask? You can fill in the blank.... Couldn't stick to a diet. Couldn't stick to an exercise plan. Couldn't set healthy boundaries. Couldn't embrace who I was. Couldn't see how beautifully God created me. Couldn't see that I was worth the effort. Couldn't see the blessing I could bring to others. So many snares. They kept me in the dark. They kept me in fear. Occasionally, I would dare to step out a little, but the Yahbuts would chase me back in. My spirit would stir, " I want to loose weight", Yah, but you'll never loose all of the weight you need to loose. My lonely heart would desire friendship. Yah, but you aren't loveable. People will be nice to you, but they will never love you....never really love you. I want to be a good wife. Yah, but you are too emotional, your too much to deal with. I want to be a good mom. Yah, but you've never been good enough. Before I knew it, Yah buts took over my thinking. I should go exercise....Yah, but I'm tired. I should pass on dessert tonight....Yah, but it's been a rough week I deserve a treat. I should not eat that box of Cheez Its....Yah, but it's pms week...I always had a reason, and I always felt less than.
Today I am so grateful that I could not loose the weight. Oh, my weight would fluctuate, but I never could reach my goal, and the weight would never stay gone. Don't get me wrong, it hurt. A LOT. But for me, that was necessary.(I tend to learn my lessons the hard way.) My self esteem was directly tied to my weight. If I could just hit that magic number, I knew I would be happy and lovable. My heavenly father saw me struggle with that, and I have no doubt it broke his heart. He placed people in my life to speak of what they saw in me. He was relentless in encouraging me to do the hard work. To get to a place where I could love myself, as he created me. I had to learn to love myself first, because if my self esteem was based on a number instead Him, it was worthless. It was quicksand. A worthless idol that could be wiped away. A worthless idol that SHOULD be wiped away.
Little by slow, my heart softened. I started with biblical counseling through my church. It was there that I became willing to see myself as God sees me. It was a VERY slow process,, I had a very negative and critical opinion of myself. I would step out and receive some truth, than run back into my shell and hide for a while. Then I would get uncomfortable, and again reach out, receive a little truth, and run back into my shell and hide. I am talking years, here. Please, let me encourage you, go ahead, step out. Yes, it is hard work.Yes, it means moving in a different direction. It takes looking at the broken parts of our hearts and our lives,and exchanging our lies for his truth.
It can be easy for us, as believers, to receive the truth that we are called to love others as we love ourselves.(mat 22:39) We focus so much on the first part of that sentence...and can often negate the second half. Jesus calls us to love others, carefully and intentionally. Which means he is expecting that we will be careful and intentional as we love and care for ourselves. He wants us to love and embrace who we are, and take good care of ourselves.... spiritually, emotionally, physically. Because then, we will be ready to extend his endless grace and love to those he has placed in our lives. This is freedom. (Gal 5:13-14) This is where the fruits of the spirit bubble up out of our hearts and wrap those around us in encouragement and truth and blessing. (Gal 5:22-23)
Appreciating his beautiful handwork in us frees us to appreciate his beautiful handiwork in others.
What are your Yahbuts? Are you ready to exchange them for his truth?
Please, please leave comments. I see that a number of people have seen my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts.