Before you read this post, please know that I write in an effort to be an open book. I write with hopes of inspiring others to 1) learn from my mistakes/successes, 2) be authentic, and 3) live intentionally. I do not write from the perspective of searching out reassurance or kudos or a pat on the back – and quite frankly, that all makes me very uncomfortable. I write because I was meant to write. I write for the purpose of writing…
That said, please refrain from posting a comment to tell me that my feelings of inadequacy are ridiculous or that I shouldn’t feel this way or that I’m crazy. I already know these things. But I still feel this way. And this year is dedicated to letting the word of God remind me that my worth is in Him, that I am valued just the way I am and that God has something greater for me to believe about myself. Telling someone they should FEEL different from how they feel doesn’t typically go over very well… they just have to figure it out in their own time.
Over the past several months I’ve gone through some inward and personally trying times… where I was faced with thoughts of inadequacy (“maybe this ISN’T a strength of yours after all”), low self-esteem (“there you go again, setting yourself up for failure”) and major doubt (“did i do that right? or did i botch it up again?”). I’ve been questioning why I am where I am. I’ve been questioning why I am motivated to do what I do. I’ve been doubting my decisions. I’ve been second-guessing my stance, on just about everything. I’ve recently become concerned about what certain individuals are thinking about me. And all of these emotions and doubts feel so foreign to me.
And as year-end approached I did what I always do: I started thinking through areas of my life that could improve. I started contemplating what internal improvements I could/should make and what to focus on in 2014. Because there’s always a theme, or a word or a verse… in place of a New Year’s resolution.
So when I stumbled upon Psalm 139 (for about the 100th time), which tells us that God knows us better than anyone else, I felt a twinge in my heart. The passage states that He knows my innermost being… to me that means “the good, the bad and the ugly”. He knows my thoughts, my fears, my concerns… my Heavenly Father knows me better than I think I know myself.
He also hears what I call the “tape recorders” that play in my head …berating me with messages like (and when you’re reading these don’t forget to add the snarky tone): “OK dummy – why did you do that AGAIN?”, or “Really, Lori?! THOSE are the words you chose to express that thought?!”, and “Why can’t you just focus on this until you finish it?”, or “It can’t be THAT difficult, why are you struggling with this concept?!” Yes, it’s true. I have one of THOSE tape recorders in my head.
So, in lieu of a New Year’s Resolution (and as I do every year), I vow to focus on Psalm 139 this year… and primarily verses 13-14.
I’d also like to share this challenging thought from Henri Nouwen…
“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen
I will post a follow-up to this post at the end of 2014, or early 2015 (like I did this year). And I am looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned through this process…
Do YOU make resolutions? Care to share? Or do you choose a word, or theme, or verse, or? I’d love to know what you’re focusing on this year… leave a comment?