“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
God has made me in his image, and He says I am His masterpiece. Not only do I look like him, but I have Jesus’ record of perfection in His eyes. This is such a beautiful, scandalous imbalance: my imperfections and flaws are justified by Jesus Christ’s sacrificial life and death. The Gospel at work in my life is so powerful, the enemy will do whatever he can to decrease my chances at walking in freedom. Deeply rooted self-hatred and false humility are the greatest barriers that hinder my freedom in Jesus.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
If there is life and death in the tongue, shouldn’t we speak life over ourselves? I would never talk to a friend, family member, or stranger the way I talk to myself. There are times when I do need tough love, but there’s a difference between humility and self-deprecation. In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul urges the church of Ephesus to “walk in a manner worthy of your calling, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” None of those traits are meant to contradict one another. If we are humble, we are gentle; if we are patient, we are loving. Therefore, how can a truly humble person hate themselves?
When I was a child, I convinced myself that no one would want to spend time with me because I was so nerdy, clumsy, and quirky. I secluded myself from my peers and hid behind books, because I was afraid of being rejected. I didn’t believe anyone would choose to love me, despite the fact that I was raised by incredibly attentive and encouraging parents. This negative self-talk manifests itself in my marriage, too. When Tim and I argue, I often get far more upset with myself than I do with him. I get frustrated that I can’t express myself more coherently, that my opinion was so illogical, or that I brought up the subject at all. If we disagree on something, I immediately blame myself.
When I blame myself for everything, I weaken my ability to walk in freedom and joy. Everything that makes me sad, angry, or stressed is a result of a fallen world. I can’t control how other people act, but I can control how I respond to their actions. It’s not my job to be the judge and place blame in life’s trials. My only job is to love God and all of His children, including myself. I haven’t fully overcome self-hatred, but I am striving to focus on Christ’s goodness rather than my flaws. I’ve learned that if I look in the mirror for too long, I start to idolize myself rather than my Creator. The only way to love myself is to love God more. After all, He’s given me endless reasons to sing His praises.
Photo Credit to my good friend, Ezra Guerra Photography