Monday, February 15, 2016
One of the biggest struggles we all are faced with in today's world is how often we define ourselves by our weaknesses. I see this time and time again and I catch myself doing it often.
All to often I will talk with someone and they will express the sorrow for struggles in their lives and express how they are weak and worthless. The picture they paint of themselves is totally comprised of the weakness they are dealing with. I am guilty of the same thing. I all to easily like to define who I am by my weaknesses and struggles.
In the process of such conversations the comment is often made "When I get over this I will be a good person" or " when I overcome this sin it will be all right". So we let our weaknesses define us and in the process we struggle sometimes for years trying to overcome our sins and weaknesses.
I strongly believe and have learned that our weaknesses are indeed only a small part of who we really are. I am not trying to say that we don't need to overcome them or forget about them, but I am trying to say that we need to focus on the good rather then the bad. For most there are a dozens of positive good things about the person to the one fault. Can you imagine the power that comes into someones heart when instead of focusing on the weakness they start to focus on the good. Miracles happen. I know from personal experience that when I focus on my strengths and not my weaknesses I have a stronger determination to be better.
Last Sunday in church a sister made the comment that we are 99% perfect. I love that thought. It gives one courage to move forward. Funny thing is we often only see and concentrate on the 1% of imperfection. Even if the imperfection is more then 1% we are still far better then we give ourselves credit for.
Another friend taught me about the 10 Positives. It is a simple exercise you can do to help you focus on the good in you and not the faults. We are so hard on ourselves. Our culture, especially in the church community is one of perfection. Recently a good man made a remark about how he did not like the "be ye therefore perfect" scriptures. He said he just wanted to blot them out. They cause guilt and shame and leave us feeling that we are never good enough. I agree, I have never liked those scriptures either or I should say, I have never liked how they make me feel. Great scriptures, but we take them out of context. I decided that perhaps perfection is the long term goal, but the shorter more obtainable goal is obedience, doing my best each day, I can do that and feel good about it and I believe with all my heart that is how we should do it. Not worry about being perfect, but about doing our best, which eventually will lead to perfection, but in the meantime we need to enjoy the journey and lighten up about being perfect. If your a perfection driven person I am sorry, but think about it, it's not going to happen in this life so why all the stress about being perfect. But we can be obedient and we can do our best each day, that is doable and practical and possible, and in the process there is less pressure about life. I enjoy being good, but I stress about being perfect.
Anyway, back to the 10 Positives. The exercise is about writing 10 positive things about yourself and placing them by the mirror in the bathroom and every morning looking yourself in the eyes and repeating them out loud to yourself. It is an amazing experiences. We rarely take the time to tell ourselves we are good. But we spend most of the day commiserating on just how bad we are. Taking the time to tell ourselves we are good does amazing things for the mind and spirit.
We must get away from the habit of defining ourselves by our weaknesses. It brings us down and destroys our self esteem. I do not excuse the weaknesses that we all have, I simply say there is more to us then the struggles we have. We are indeed children of God with unlimited potential and capacity for greatness. It is not pride or arrogance to recognize our own personal strength and abilities. God wants each of us to see and understand our own individual worth.
The 10 Positives works well, another thing we can do is to look for the good in others and take the time to express what we see. Everyone, no matter where they are in life needs to hear and feel that they are good and have value. As we take the time to find good in others and share with them what we see, in the process we are able to see our own good. Amazing at how that works.
Even on our worst day we are so much better then we give ourselves credit for. It is important that we see and value the good we have. I look at others often and wish they could see what I see in them. It is easy to see the bad, but the joy comes when we learn to see the good despite the bad and every time I see the good in someone, what I thought was bad simply fades away and is replaced by light and joy.
The journey is more joyful when we see the good and don't let our weaknesses define who we are. After all, in the big picture whats 1% anyway, nothing.
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