12 Jul Self Worth: Re-examined
Dear brothers and sisters, each of us are made up of our own set of strengths and weaknesses. And of course, it is easy to accept what we are good at, but when it comes to weaknesses, it is always an area where we may struggle within us. Recently, there has also been a few incidents where I have fallen short, even in areas where I expected myself to excel in. Naturally, when this happens, one will start to doubt themselves and negative insinuations will come along. How about yourself? Do you sometimes struggle with looking at your own weaknesses, lack of abilities, and start comparing with others? We may start internalising questions like: “Why am I so weak? Why can’t I be like this person? Am I good enough for this role? Someone else should do it because I am not competent enough.” Now, self doubt is a very prevalent issue. Especially in this era where we are living in, merits, successes, results and outlooks are what people tend to tie in with what is considered good. Thus, it adds a lot of pressure on what it means by having a good self image and self worth. At times, even though we have had a wonderful track record of how we portray ourselves, at the snap of a finger when we make a failure, it is so easy to strike off all the successes before and sink into a state of low self esteem. When this happens, it also reveal something important to believers. That is, even though we might be listening to God’s word, coming to church, serving in ministries, but deep down in our hearts, we may still have areas where we cannot fully accept the conditions that God has given us. In fact, this is exactly where Satan likes to ambush in our faith. Finding our weak spot and waiting to pounce on our confidence and contentment as a child of God. So let us reexamine our conditions today and restore the right perspective so that we do not get carried away with pride of our strengths or paralysed by our inabilities.
Everyone has their God-given conditions and talents:
We must confirm that God has given every individual their unique set of qualities and talents. And even if some qualities may seem more obvious or measurably better than others, in God’s eyes, there is not one talent that is more superior than the other. Whatever we do is actually not done for the sake of our own motives. God’s purpose is for His children to work together, complement and edify each other to run this blessed path. Romans 12:4-5 “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
One of my favourite analogy from pastor is the one of the light and pen. He says when you walk into his room and switch on the light, you immediately see the importance of it, keeping the room bright so you may see well. Then, there is this small insignificant pen in his drawer that is rarely seen and not obvious in the room. However, it is highly important to him because when he uses it, he writes his sermon script and prepares his messages with it. So even though the pen is not as obvious as the light, yet it serves a glorious purpose for its master as well.
Therefore, whether we are the “pen” or the “light”, we do not need to be envious of others who have certain gifts we want or be prideful over the strengths we possess. This is because the destination we are heading are all the same. That is to be reconciled with God and to help people meet God. The advancement of God’s kingdom requires people with different roles, backgrounds and abilities to fulfil different areas of His work. From preachers to good listeners, from sound engineers to cleanliness team, from cell group leaders to new members. We all have different but equally valuable parts to play.
Also, even if what we do may be little or seemingly less impactful, but as long as we are using what we have wherever God has placed us, we are already taking part in His glorious plans. Remember, even our failure contributes to God’s works. Be it to draw you closer in reliance to Him, become a living testimony or to bless those around us, God values and has a perfect will for each of us. So why do we keep evaluating ourselves based on our limited understanding?
Accepting who we are
When we have tested and affirmed all of our God-given conditions, we have to accept who we are. This means, even the ugliest, weakest part of ourselves. We have to know that even our strengths can fail us one day. For example, I may be very good at my work and getting tasks done, but in the midst, I may also neglect my relationships with the people around me or cause certain tensions. Gradually, I may get bounded by the daily routine of check-listing what to do, developing worldly expectations for myself and ending up with stress or disappointment. However, God wants us to face our true self not because He wants to make us feel a sense of lack, but a readjusted lens of how much God values us despite our shortcomings, so that we do not evaluate ourselves on the wrong scale or futile self improvement projects. When we realise what we excel in may not be that reliable and we turn back to God, it gives us liberation instead. When we look at ourselves from God’s truth and see how He puts His hands in everything, we can affirm that even though I might fail at one area, but it allows me to experience new spiritual homework like being able to love others more, and relying more on the unshaken word of God to face the challenges ahead. Brothers and sisters, I pray that we may all accept the unique and purposeful conditions God has blessed us with and not be easily moulded by the influence of the world. As it says in the famed verse of Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Trust the Creator
Now if we truly want to accept our every condition, we need to trust our Creator. Usually, when we get frustrated, accused or lousy, it is because ultimately, we do not trust that God is sovereign in our lives. In actual fact, God has given His word so that we may test and approve all our conditions against His plans for us. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.” And Romans 8:28 goes on to say “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We often tend to affirm our weaknesses and inabilities, instead of reflecting and discovering even more of God’s abundant grace and our good conditions. If we do not let ourselves dwell in such negative insinuations and feelings, but use our time to have more blessed fellowship with the Lord, confirming in truth, we will start seeing that there are many good reasons in our situations- why we were made this way with our backgrounds and experiences, why we are placed in the fields we are at and why we are serving in this role.
Brothers and sisters, do not keep harping on what you cannot do or wish you could have done. Let us hold on to all our conditions today and see that we live this life not merely for our own successes or benefit, but to run this race for Christ with His children. To bring out the good news of Jesus to men and help people meet God. When our vision and motives are examined and readjusted, all our conditions will find its purpose and our hearts will restore newfound strength and hope.