I just returned from Chicago where I had a great visit with my parents, siblings and spouses. I’m so grateful I still get to have these wonderful weekends with my family. It’s a tradition my dad and step-mom started years ago. Instead of buying us gifts, they gift us with a dinner out and going together to a play. For those of us who live a distance, we make sure we clear our calendar so we can fly in. It’s our time to be together as adults. This year we laughed as we noticed that now, most of us are on Social Security. Scary. We are all older, not just our parents. Whatever moments you can take to enjoy, enjoy them. They do not last forever.
Today’s question is more personal than relational. However, her passivity and self-conscious nature will impact all relationships she has, both male and female.
Today’s Question: For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely shy and self-conscious. I constantly worry about what others think about me. I don’t feel worth much and have a very hard time asserting myself. I know this isn’t good but I don’t know how to change. Any suggestions?
Answer: Being aware of your problems and wanting to change is a very good first step. God has an answer for you, but first, you must understand what the root of your problem is.
Most of us tend to see a person who thinks highly of themselves, being self-absorbed with their talents, abilities, beauty, or success, as being self-centered and prideful. On the other hand, we see those who tend to be more self-deprecating and self-conscious, as more humble and meek.
However, the truth is, both individuals have the same problem, just experienced in opposite ways. Both are self-absorbed. One person thinks too much of themselves positively, the other person thinks too much of themselves negatively.
It is good that you have begun to realize the bondage of such thinking. There is no freedom to love because you are too worried about YOU. You fear how you will do or be received. You worry whether or not you can use your gifts, abilities, or talents to reach out to another person in love without any rejection or failure. Friend, it is not possible.
These words may seem hard to accept, but loving and giving always involve risk. However, if you try to solve your problem the traditional way, by focusing more on your good qualities, or trying to think more highly of yourself, you aren’t really addressing the inherent self-centered focus of your life.
God calls you to become God-centered, not other-centered or self-centered. When you take your eyes off yourself and put them on Christ, then you can begin to see yourself with new eyes: as he sees you. Click To Tweet
What does that mean practically for your situation and personality? Here are two anchors.
First: You are created in his image and for a relationship with your Creator. You are special to God and he made you with dignity, value, and purpose (Psalm 8:5-8). You are NOT worthless. Each of us, including you, are designed by God to fulfill a special purpose that only you can do.
Second: Although we all have all fallen short and made some terrible mistakes, God has still put goodness in us and in you (1 Corinthians 4:7). Your gifts, talents, and abilities are to be used to benefit and serve others (1 Peter 4:10). When you get caught up in morbid self-consciousness, your fears (of failure and rejection), will keep you from discovering and using who you are, and the good qualities you have.
However, the bottom line is to put those beliefs into practice. You probably already know what I’ve told you about what God says. But knowing the truth is not the same as believing it. Satan knows more truth about God than you or I will ever know, yet he does not believe it. He does not trust.
So let me ask you a question. How would your life be different if you believed that God put good qualities in you to use for eternal purposes? What might you do differently in your relationships if you believed that God has a purpose for your life and that you were created with dignity and value? How would your life story play out in new ways in this new decade of 2020, if you believed God instead of living by your fear of inadequacy, rejection or failure?
I encourage you to reflect upon God’s truths for you and then live as you believe them. Watch what happens in you and in your relationships. You may be in for a big surprise.
Friends, what do you do when the lie of “I’m not enough” rears its ugly head in your life and relationships?
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I made a list of verses that tell me who I am in Christ and what He has done for me. For example, Second Peter 1:3 says, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the full knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and virtue.” Wow! That’s a powerful verse, and if you take time to chew on it, absorb it into your heart, and pray that God will make it real to you, it will begin a change in you. So, I recommend reading through the New Testament with this in mind: copy the verses that speak to who you are in Christ and what He has done for you, write them and pray over them. The word of God will operate in you and change your life.
If I catch myself falling for the lie that I am not worthy or not good enough I replace it with the truth that I am human, and I will not do every task or say everything perfectly…that cannot separate me from who God created me to be and no one has the final say about who I am but him! He is my anchor in a sea of shifting thoughts and opinions, including my own! If he doesn’t condemn us who are we or anyone else to condemn us? I can only stand in dignity because Jesus’ righteousness clothes and covers me , not mine! ☺️
“All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends” G.K. Chesterton
God’s love has come, and keeps coming for us, EMMANUEL, God with us, so have no fear, He always gives the gift of himself so Merry Christmas!
My initial reaction is usually to JADE (justify-argue-defend-explain) why I am enough or why I should be here or my reasons for what I did. But I am working on recognizing when I do that and stopping it. And I pray that God would teach me to know his voice and speak to me about who he is and who I am, that I would see the world with his eyes, and that I would experience his love so deeply that I can live out of it, instead of myself.
It’s slow going, but I am learning to walk out the truth “Jesus doesn’t see me as broken” (which is something he showed me last year).
This is articulated so well, Leslie. Both have the same problem : they are both self-absorbed. One positively, one negatively.
Our Pastor is always defining sin in the following way: it is not a behavioural problem or a moral problem. At it’s core sin is a relational problem. We chose to dethrone God and place ourselves as king of our lives. The first relationship that is broken is the one with God, and everything from there gets skewed. (including our view of ourselves).
What devastation sin causes!
Keeping a God-centered focus is imperative, but I can’t do this without Him. He’s the One who enables me. The second I fall into ‘self-help’ mode, is the second I struggle.
Thank you for your heart for the oppressed in marriage, Leslie. The Biblical clarity you bring is life giving.
Merry, merry Christmas ❤️