“I am my own worst critic.”
I am. I was. But then, one day last week, the Light walked into that place in me. For the first time, I realized these skeletons were still hanging there…
1) INDEPENDENCE: I am self-sufficient and safest within myself. I believe that “being me” means rising to my own flawed set of standards instead of submitting myself to the culture of a family (who, surprisingly, likes me more than I expected).
2) MISTRUST: I do not trust the people around me to embrace the entirety of me. Therefore, by constant analysis, I am determined to somehow avoid the potholes that my imperfection creates. I tend to fall apart when my failures or weaknesses cast a shadow on your perception of me. I totally believe that one error on my part could dismantle your entire perception of my character.
3) FEAR OF REJECTION: I am afraid to be rejected. I’m convinced that your truthful input into my life could be the most extreme form of rejection and pain I could ever encounter, and that is better to get out ahead of the certain heartbreak by seeking out the boom. At least that way you can’t surprise me. I prefer to feel in control than to be vulnerable.
4) OVER-THINKING: I over-think constantly, because I’m convinced you think things about me that you don’t say. This dismantles my excitement of my own beauty. Instead I create interpretations of body language, phrasing, and even non-gestures (example, not enough likes on Facebook sigh groan puke) and believe my conclusions to be fact, which then builds insecurity in my heart about you. I walk around ashamed of phantoms that have never actually entered your heart towards me. This also clouds my perception of who you really are and makes me completely unable to truly SEE and EMBRACE YOU. In over-thinking, I tumble down a rabbit hole that confuses my identity.
It’s remarkable what happens when you repent of his behavior. Time and creativity open up to you. You are surprised to realize how much real estate exists within your heart for other people.
Self-obsession is the detour of a heart who has yet to embrace the reality of being fully loved.
Self-obsession is the detour of a heart who has yet to embrace the reality of being fully loved. It’s the behavior of a teenager who is more concerned with their reflection than their actual value. You might be convinced you’re being mature (since you’re clearly so seriously committed to growth) or hungry (aren’t all the most impressive believers people of thoughtful introspection?) … But the process of becoming that the Lord laid before us isn’t one of effort, but of surrender. The most painful advice I’ve ever been given was to Lighten Up.
It’s also the best advice.
When, in spite of your chaotic internal processing, you walk away from the mental mirror and go out upon the road before your feet–serving, loving, giving, and allowing the cost of your cross of burn up your flesh–you just become. It’s the unavoidable result of His Way. To be so obsessed in your process, so critically distracted by yourself, so enamored and cocooned by your self-analysis–that your strengths and gifts and hands are of no earthly good–is absolute waste. Not one of holy affection like spilled expensive perfume; much more like the master’s money tucked in a hole in the ground.
Here’s the thing: we all have annoying quirks and persistent weaknesses. They exist as a platform for Him to demonstrate who HE is, and to bring us all into His fullness. They are for the Body to love you during (our cross) and through (His fruit). I am chief among the flawed (I actually question now if this is maturity to admit, or further evidence of my obsession), as those closest to me can attest. But I am also a vibrant canvas of His Glory. If your genuine expression isn’t rubbing someone the wrong way, bringing forward difficult conversations, revealing the frayed edges or releasing deep healing, I might be inclined to suggest some portion of you is still hiding. You, by design, will force others to grow. They too are the necessary secret ingredient to you being fully alive. WE are His body.
Abba, I belong to You. Family, I am yours. You are a tough gig–and certainly so too am I–but together, what a tremendous expression of powerful intimacy we create. This is Real Love. Let not one of us be so committed to our own self perfection and preservation that we rob the whole of that burden and joy. My becoming, your becoming–this Great Experiment that is transforming all of us–is such a mutual, beautiful reward.
It is a feast to be shared.