If you’re unable to accept yourself, you’re missing out on the joy that comes from contentment. God created you as you are for a specific reason. Life’s bumps and bruises can lead you to believe you have to be someone more or less than you are.
If you are not gifted athletically (or choose another ability), but compare yourself to those that are, you’ll always come up short and feel less than.
Have you ever tried something and felt inadequate? Or maybe someone told you that you didn’t measure up? If you can walk away understanding, “this isn’t for me,” then you have a healthy perspective. If you conclude that you are defective, then you are making it personal and that isn’t helpful.
Are you measuring yourself against the right ruler? God measures you by His original design. Everything else will give you a faulty or inaccurate measurement.
But more than that, you’ll feel miserable because there is no way for you to win. Proverbs 11:1 declar
It’s possible to think you accept yourself when you really don’t. It’s possible to live with the heavy burden of trying to be who you think God wants you to be. But that can be different than who God knows you to be.
Are you living with an uncomfortable tension of always pushing yourself to reach some ever-elusive goal? If so, you’re never going to reach self-acceptance.
Below are 6 questions to help you assess how close your presented self (how others see you) is to your ideal self (how you see you). Answer the first 3 questions to determine your ideal self and the second 3 questions to define how you feel obligated to act to fulfill life’s demands.
- The thing I like most about myself is…
- I’m at my best when I contribute…
- I feel most connected to God when I…
- Others appreciate me for…
- My job requires me to…
- I feel like a fish out of water when I…
Now, compare your answers between all the questions. How consistent (or inconsistent) are you? Bonus question: Who does God say you are?
Imagine what it will feel like if your ideal self and God’s ideal for you are the same. That’s self-acceptance.
Is self-acceptance clear to you? Are you amazed by God’s goodness that He created us to enjoy Him and enjoy who He made you to be? If not, what seems to be hindering your understanding?
Image by Janine Bolon from Pixabay
So what do we do if these questions are VERY difficult to come up with answers?
Matt Pavlik says
That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked. First off, I’ll say that to truly answer these questions is hard. You answer them with your life (as you live it). To answer them you must be seeking the answer. Finally, God wants you to have answers.
The reason the questions may be hard to answer could be a few different reasons:
1) It’s possible you don’t know yourself well enough. What this means is you need more experiences so you have substantial answers.
2) Are some questions more difficult than others? If so, which ones? What makes those questions in particular so difficult?
3) The bonus question is a bit of a trick question because only God knows who you are. That question is as much about how you see God. It’s an important question too.
Have you ever seen the movie, Chariots of Fire? In it, the main character Eric says, “God made me for a purpose. For China (to be a missionary). But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
This isn’t to say that you should always or automatically feel God’s pleasure. But there is a sweet spot. God made you for a purpose, and there is no greater feeling than, “running in that purpose and hitting your stride.” Getting there requires practice, ability, and faith.
There is a significant contrast in the movie between two talented runners. Harold runs for his own glory and is filled with anxiety and self-loathing. Eric runs for God and he feels peace and God’s pleasure.
The contrast highlights the difference in the burden being carried. Eric can run “lighter” because he carries less of a burden. He trusts God with the outcome while still giving everything he has in order to win. His running is exercise and effort, but he runs easier because he feels God with him.
I hope this helps. If you have a follow-up question, perhaps I can address it in a future post.
I recommend you watch the movie for inspiration. If you want some quick clips from the movie, search for Chariots of Fire on YouTube.