Reality Check, Walking With God

What’s In A Phrase?

There are key phrases in our culture and daily lives that we hear and say often, but have we stopped to think what they actually mean?

One that’s sticking out to me at the moment is our “self worth”.

Each of us have value to many other people and sources. The value isn’t always a positive thing, or in our best interest, though.

Take our current online culture, for instance— our individual and collective value is often in the form of data. Pieces of us— information or data, have become a type of currency in some ways, as Social Media platforms make deals with various advertisers, government officials, even governments themselves, to get as much data as possible in an infinite number of ways.

We are valuable sources for information.

To politicians, we are valuable for molding by opinions and “news” reports to help “shape” our opinions through fear, outrage, disappointment and anger. They value us for our votes for them or their causes.

But self worth— that’s a whole different facet.

Self worth is often influenced by the negative things people say about us or to us, or negative reactions.

For instance, if, as a child, we grew up in a critical environment where complimentary things spoken to us was not common-place, our understanding of our self worth can morph into the pictures we get from the words of others, or develop as a reflection within that environment.

For instance— being called “good-for-nothing”, “worthless” and “just in the way”— that has affected how I view myself, in so many ways. I heard those things decades ago, but somehow they became embedded in the make-up of who I have developed into.

In some ways, that has actually spurred on some positive things. Having lived through the impact of those words hitting my malleable confidence, I know how much they hurt to both hear and receive treatment from others as being true.

But, even now I have a tough time finding my footing to be solid in relationships with others. I don’t have the benefit of self confidence near as much as I did years ago.

Life has happened. Circumstances have beaten me down. Health issues have left me tired and weakened.

I’m finding I have a new resolve now, though.

I’m resolved to surround myself, carefully, with those who purpose to build me up. I can’t use my limited energy on having to repair what others would tear down with their harsh opinions and treatment.

I’m finding, for the first time in my life, I feel delicate and I need to guard that.

And anyone who would mock that, I don’t even want them to be a part of my life.

My confidence is not the self worth that the world insists that I have.

My only worth is in Jesus. He highlights Himself in me— my words and my actions.

These aren’t just words and actions to me. I can dazzle the world all I want with gifts, talents, and pizzazz— but I cannot fool God. The things we strive for in this life mean nothing in Eternity with God.

So— in my personal life I have set up boundaries for me— Either I am built-up in Him by those who love Him, or I hide in Him to block out the mean and spiteful things meant to pull me down on a level God never created me to be on.

If I am really hidden in Christ Jesus, the things or people that seek to tear me down, can’t touch me.

I wish I were there already!! I have such a long way to go! Until then— I’m gonna struggle with confidence and sure-footedness with others.

I’m giving myself permission to be who I am as I continue to grow into who God is shaping me to be.

I can’t conjure up self-confidence just because some demonstrate no grace, no tolerance, or no understanding.

I apologize for how I am way too often. I care about the opinions of others way too much. I’ve tried to live up to those heavy expectations and opinions— until I just can’t any longer.

I’m not strong enough.

I try to hold myself up to a different standard because I know how it feels to be on the end I have where lived my entire life— where my personal beliefs, my experiences, my opinions have been treated as stupid, unimportant, uninformed or wrong because someone doesn’t agree.

My self confidence has taken many direct hits during it’s existence. I’ve lived with the belief if I’m not doing something perfect, I’ll just be messing it up for everyone. If I make a mistake, that’s what people will remember, not the 99% that was done right.

To some degree, everyone experiences this— I know.

I have built up a personal intolerance for it.

I believe God also has intolerance for it, as well.

Modeling myself after Christ means I have to self-regulate the way I treat others.

I have to monitor myself.

I also have to protect myself in Christ to be sure I am being built-up in Him.

Not by the world’s standards.

By Christ’s standards.

Demonstrating not only His love for others— but His love for me— His confidence in me.

I’m not used to anyone having confidence in me.

So— the Creator having confidence in me?

That is a tough one to keep a grip on.

True humility is admitting and embracing God’s truth about ourselves.

He thinks more highly of me than most in my family ever will, more highly than any person I’ve ever interacted with—

More highly than I could ever imagine, or dare to think/believe about myself.

He sees the whole picture.

I see one pixel of the picture…

He has chosen to use this nearly-destroyed vessel— in remarkable ways I still can’t believe He chooses to.

He knit me in my mother’s womb, and He is still reshaping what He put together.

I am not kidding when I say— if He can use my life, my heart, and instill His purpose in me— He absolutely can and will in anyone!!

In you.

I am amazed by His work in and through my life.

He weaves threads continuously that are creating a perfect picture— tapestry— throughout all of time.

My life is one thin, short strand in the most beautiful picture ever created by anyone.

God’s Eternal tapestry.

Walking With God

The Heart That Holds On

“Oh no, You never let go

Through the calm, through the storm

Oh no, You never let go

Through every high and every low

Oh no, You never let go

You never let go of me!”

I can’t begin to tell you how God used this song to rescue me, to reach deep into my soul, during one of the most difficult times of my life.

He never let go. He didn’t turn me away. He wasn’t too busy for me.

He saw me.

I don’t think my circumstance had even reached the next portion of this song, but it gave me hope.

“I can see the Light that is coming for the heart that holds on

There will be an end to these troubles

But until that day comes

Still I will praise You

Still I will praise You”

And then, now when I look back— I can recognize I am now walking within that hope, living within it.

My heart is one that has held on. At times, in desperation, and at other times in the dull numbness that traumatic situations tend to cause. There has been an end to deep troubles, and I have been able to praise Him— even when I didn’t see how things could change. But— I believed God could make the changes— if it was His Will to.

It was His Will.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

His Word never changes.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28