Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ordinary

Elisabeth Elliot once replied to a letter from someone bemoaning her lack of self-esteem with this sentence:

"Who came up with this self-esteem notion?" She goes on to say, basically, get over yourself, and the first time I read this, several years ago, it bothered me, as I was just moving out of the phase in my life where I thought I was second-best, and I couldn't understand her objection. I think I get it now.

When we say "I am amazing! I can do (whatever it is)!" we are outwardly fixing the thing that keeps us ineffective (primarily self-deprecation) but we are not fixing the root problem. I lead a ladies Bible study on Tuesday mornings. The best studies I have are not the ones where I say to myself ahead of time "I'm good at this. I'm good with people, I am capable of establishing great rapport and blah blah blah I am all that and a bag of chips." The most successful studies are not the ones where I get up in the morning and say "I suck at this, everyone hates me, I'm too fat for anyone to take seriously, and my jeans look stupid on me."

The best ones are the ones when I get up in the morning and pray "Lord, help me to park my ego." And that's ego in both directions - loving myself and hating myself - two sides of the pride coin. With a "park my ego" attitude, I keep my eyes and ears open, and I am much more likely to be tuned to anything God might be whispering about who needs what from whom that day.

The fix for hating yourself is NOT learning to love yourself. It's learning to be who you are before God, good points and bad points, finding out what you've been given to do (diapers, housework, a 9 to 5 job, smile at the cranky woman on the bus, write books or songs or poems) and just do it. And ask God for help doing it, because no matter how much you like or hate yourself, He knows more than you do. Michael Card, well-known singer/songwriter/writer said at a concert once "Bear with me, I just wrote this song, so I don't know it very well." He fiddled with the strings a bit and looked up again. "You should always do what you're not good at - otherwise you think it's you."

I'm not worthless. I'm not incredible. I have good points and bad points and dwelling on either of them overmuch is not going to change that.

And one of my current bad points is I can't seem to find a way to end this post without going back and making my point, which I have already made ...pretend I said something pithy and just slightly Elisabeth Elliot "right to the heart of the matter" ish, will you? And I will go post on my fat blog, and go up to my ordinary bed and get some sleep :)

5 comments:

Heather said...

You haven't entirely convinced me, though I get what you're saying. But like I replied to ccap - if I choose to believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I do it in the right spirit, than I'm not so much tooting my own horn as my Creator's. And if we don't at least acknowledge what we are good at, then we'll never get busy doing it. If you didn't admit you were a good writer and that God gifted you with that, than you wouldn't be going off to some amazing writing conference than I'm hugely jealous about, would you?

corrie said...

I don't think parking our egos denies that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And I don't think making our good works known to everyone is neccesarily accepting that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why is quietly appreciating what God does for us and through us a bad thing all of a sudden?

ccap said...

Wow. I can't quite think of what else to say ('cause one of my bad points is that I'm not very eloquent) but I certainly found this post interesting and I think I will read and reread it a few times.

Kassi said...

Don't you mean you're going to go and post on your "soon to be thin" blog ?

Slow'n'Steady said...

Jesus walked me through this one today. Just so he could let you articulate what he wanted me to hear.