let’s rewind just under a month to the goals I set for myself during my 24th year of life. They were: leadership, honesty, eliminating unhealthy habits, taking risks, reducing entertainment, thoroughness, and leaving work at work.
This is going to be a bit of an update, because I have a lot of honesty (a lot of which pertains to leadership) to share here.
I’ve come face to face with another ugly reality (seems to be a theme in my blogs) that I’m really mercurial in my disposition. My mood can change at the drop of a hat. A small part of me is concerned that I have some chemical imbalances, but a big part of me thinks that I need to just address some negative self-schema I’ve constructed – but to do so with the Gospel.
Here are some of the things I’ve realized I believe about myself:
I’m not good at anything
I’m a burden, not a blessing
to ask for help meant I’m weak & burdensome
nobody respects me, and if they do – it’s because they’re obligated to
if I accept the fact that I’m loved, respected, and/or even liked, it implies pride
What’s funny is that I seem to hold myself to a different standard than I do others. I want to do things to bless others and show them that I love and appreciate them, and I expect them to receive it with grace and to feel blessed, loved, and appreciated. And yet if people do something to bless me, or show their appreciation to me, I reject it as superficial, bribery, or insincerity.
I refuse to believe that I’m a blessing.
And I’m afraid to admit that because I hate the idea that people think I’m being weak and asking for compliments. I’m afraid to admit I’m weak.
But you know – I really am weak.
I refuse to believe that I’m a leader.
And I hate that because I know that in that, I’m not living anywhere near my potential.
but you know – I’ve been a leader longer than I know and in more ways than I understand. At every job I’ve worked, I’ve taken on leadership. In church, I led worship, I led life groups, I taught children’s ministry, I preached, I was on the council – and I would tell you I wasn’t a leader, because in the name of humility I refused to believe I was a leader. But I am. I am a leader. I don’t know why or at what point it happened, I can’t place a finger on it. But it happened, and that character has formed in me now.
I refuse to let go of how people think of me.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
This is me pulling my hair out wondering why the heck I don’t believe that. I know it’s true.
For some reason, I see it as risky not to think that people think of me, though. I guess it’s this idea that I thrive off of feedback, and if I’m being lazy, rude, inconsiderate, mean, hurtful, or anything less than a Christ-like person, I want to know that. And to not heed people’s thoughts of me is to risk getting into a set hurtful habits. But isn’t that what community is for? I could either live hyper-sensitively in a state of perpetual stress while I worry about what people think of me, or I could live relaxed, trusting people to call me out when I’m wrong?
I guess you could say I’m frustrated – because somewhere along the line I began to adhere to a path which says, “unhealthy humility is better than unhealthy pride.” But where unhealthy pride can hurt others, unhealthy humility wears me down and erodes me the way water erodes a rock – slow and sure.
But here’s where I am with this now: I’m going to choose to believe different things now.
I will, to the best of my ability, and by the grace of God, believe I’m a blessing, not a burden.
I’m going to believe I have things to offer – friendship, wisdom, humor, etc.
I’m going to believe that community is trustworthy.
I’m going to believe that I’m significant.
I’m going to believe that people actually like me.
Well, let’s start here: I’m not much of a humanist. In fact, I’m often times overly pessimistic and negative towards the human race…
…but Jesus wasn’t.
The reality is that Jesus loved (and continues to love) me at the deepest possible level – He knows every flaw, every tendency, every reason there is to dislike me as a human, to stop loving me – and yet He persists.
The reason I can believe good things about myself is not because I’m good, but because Jesus’ love is good, and He declares me righteous, and He deposited in me the Holy Spirit to change and transform me. And realistically, the term “deposit” implies that value is instilled in something – that is, my bank account has no value if I don’t deposit in it – likewise, I have no value but for the value that Jesus gives me.
And blessed be the name of the Lord – that value is infinitely more than I’ll ever know in this life.