Do you ever have one of those moments where something extremely small goes wrong, but yet sparks an enormous and seemly uncontrollable chain reaction of self-doubt?
This happens to me every now and then, and to be honest, sometimes it gets pretty awful. Truth be told, I’ve always been a person who maintains a certain level of negative self-perception, so some days it really doesn’t take much.
Something tiny will go wrong and suddenly I find myself mentally listing all the ways I feel inadequate compared to other people or simply to my own notion of where I feel I should be at this point in life.
A mistake as simply as forgotten bill, suddenly becomes a self indictment of my inability to fully embrace adulthood. My buried feelings of lagging behind in my profession, my relationships, my possessions and my paycheck are all brought to the forefront of my mind and the downhill spiral begins to kick my tail.
It starts to become hard to find any positive aspects with which to rebound and even harder not to see that too as yet another flaw.
I had ones of these moments this week and in the midst of struggling, after I’d gone through the list of my self-proclaimed life fails, I began to ask myself why they mattered in the first place. What was it about my job, my relationships, my possessions, or just my success in general, that was so important I should base my self-worth on them?
It’s not that those elements aren’t important, they are, but should they really be what I base my entire value on?
And if not those things, those societal standards we all kind of subconsciously agree to, what then should be the focus of the value I place on myself?
The more I thought about it, I could really only come up with one answer — that Jesus loved me enough to die for me.
Despite the grand failure I was seeing as my life, Jesus saw it of such value he gave his own for it.
Then it hit me. By allowing this boiling over of negative thoughts about myself, I was basically telling God he was wrong and devaluing what he was willing to pay such a high price for. How dare I do that.
Life’s tricky like that and I think Satan loves to use this trick to tear us down. I mean when you think about it, the very first sin was in a way a result of Satan making Adam and Eve feel inadequate. Eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, without it, you aren’t quite as awesome as you could be.
Feelings of inadequacy can be dangerous like that and they can led to some pretty nasty mistakes.
I’m not saying we should never take the time to evaluate where we are in life and I’m not saying that we should never compare ourselves with others. I think there is a time for that and I think doing so can often show us areas in which we can improve.
But I think we’d be wrong to base our self-worth off those evaluations or comparisons because, let’s be honest, we’re always going to come up short in some way. Those evaluations will never produce an accurate portrayal of our true value.
For me, I’ve to realize that there’s always going to be someone better at my job, whose family life seems superior, and whose paycheck is a lot fatter. Heck, there’s likely always going to be a person who is just flat out doing a better job than me at being a Christian.
But despite all my obvious short-comings, I have to remember that there is never going to be anyone Jesus loves more than me.
And when it comes right down to it, that’s the only true measure of my worth.