I am very hard on myself. Whether it’s because I’m a visionary and I see what could and should be better than what is, or whether it’s because of past legalism telling me I was never good enough, I struggle to see my positive qualities. I’m learning slowly to focus on what is there, not what is missing, but it’s a process.
Last night was rough. Self-condemnation reared its ugly head, and I felt like an unfinished mess of flaws. I was discouraged by how far I have to go. The voices, “You’re not measuring up, you’re a broken mess, you’re a pain in the butt, you’ll always struggle with this,” were loud and strong. I knew that wasn’t true, but it was so hard to see in that moment. I could only see what I was bad at, where I was failing, where I was struggling. So I reached out to my friends on Facebook with this post:
“Help. I’m really good at seeing the problems in my life and areas where I need to improve. I’m not so good at seeing my skills, talents and positive traits. I need some outside perspective. What am I GOOD at?”
And then I went to bed because everything is 300 times worse when you’re tired.
In the morning I checked my Facebook, excited and curious to see what my friends had to say. And then I read this comment:
“I see many good traits in you, Lyndall, but instead of listing them I want to encourage you to look to God instead ❤️
Pray for Him to reveal what gifts He has granted you. While it can be helpful to receive the opinions of others, we cannot look to other people to affirm us. This is a beautiful time to pray, ask God what He thinks of you. Read your Bible and see what it says! And take the time to explore what you enjoy doing.
Self-confidence is found in God and His Word! And you better believe He’s given each person gifts and abilities to be used for His glory. Even if it’s the gift of being a janitor… Be a janitor to the glory of God!”
Did my friend mean well? Yes.
Did she want to be helpful? Yes.
But I felt like I had been kicked in the kidneys. I wanted to throw my phone across the room. And I started crying. Because what I heard in my friend’s post was
You’re not trying hard enough.
You’re doing it wrong.
Your needs and feelings don’t matter, just listen to the Bible.
I had asked for help, and instead I got a sermon. I’m sick and tired of hearing religiosity when I simply want love and encouragement. It’s not like I haven’t already read the Bible and asked how God sees me. But humans need affirmation from other humans too.
I’m not angry at my friend. But I am upset and angry at a system that overlooks human needs and genuine heart-cries with Bible verses and pious phrases.