The feeling that you’re not good enough is exactly that… a feeling. It’s not a fact! And we can’t just go on our feelings. If we do, we’ll always be angry, disappointed, hurt and selfish.
I often catch the train in Melbourne and I get angry all the time when I see people not paying, yet I do the right thing and top up my Myki card all the time. It’s unfair, yes I know, but my anger won’t change anything so why do I choose to focus on that negative emotion? You see, I can’t control the way others do things, but I can certainly control what I do, what I choose to focus on and which emotions I choose to let in.
A few years ago I pastored a church that we planted and we had a real community focus. Things were going great until a few people questioned every decision that was made. Nobody was willing to do the hard yards in getting things off the ground, but once things were working, everyone wanted to call the shots. We had people turn their backs on us who had been very close friends. Bev and I were hurt for a long time and we had reason to be. But we soon realised that we cannot control the way people act and think. We had to let it go and focus on what we would do and how we would allow it to affect us.
There are so many other examples in my experience bank, but I’m sure you get the picture. When things happen that hurt us, we often feel insignificant – even invisible. I’m sure we’re all guilty of acting in a way that has made someone feel inferior and it’s probably also happened to each one of us. When we are feeling unworthy we default to our human defence mechanisms of, either building a wall and portraying that tough guy image, or collapsing in a heap and adopting a victim mentality. I’ve gone with both, and neither worked for me.
Elijah, after seeing God come through for him in a crazy way, must have been so pumped and confident. He had just challenged 400 prophets of Baal to a dual. “You show me your god, and I’ll show you mine.” We know that Baal never turned up, but God did and proved to them all that He was and is and always will be the only true living God. After experiencing that high, some woman leader sent her men to chase after him and kill him. Elijah ran away, sat in a heap, played the victim and asked God to take his life. All because an evil woman wanted him dead. The moral of the story is don’t play the victim and feel sorry for yourself, it will only lead to depression. Don’t allow your eyes and ears to determine what your heart feels. Allow what God says about you, to be the deciding factor. Let that influence your heart, head and actions.
Gideon was a farmer and an Israelite. His people were in exile and treated like 2nd rate citizens. That’s enough to make you feel inferior. He was living in a cave, trying to escape the iron fist of the Midianites. Up to this stage his life had amounted to nothing. He was a member of the smallest and most insignificant of the 12 tribes of Israel. He was also a member of the smallest clan in that tribe, and a member of one of the most insignificant families of that tribe. In human terms, he wasn’t part of the cool group. Then God did something really ridiculous. He called Gideon a mighty warrior and asked him to lead the Israelites against the Midianites.
Gideon was unimportant, insignificant, and by all accounts, a loser. Maybe God had His people mixed up. Maybe there was some other guy who’s name was Gideon who He got confused with. That’s the logical thing to think, but God isn’t logical, and he certainly doesn’t make mistakes. He called the right Gideon. The one who had no fighting experience and no status or standing in his community, clan, tribe or nation. He was the one who God used to lead an army of about 300 untrained soldiers (who were unarmed by the way) to fight against 130 000 highly skilled soldiers. And WIN! But until Gideon forsook the view he had of himself, and focused on how God saw him, nothing was going to change and nothing significant was going to happen.
We can visit all the professionals available, read all the self-help books ever written and do all the meditating we can fit into our lives. They just provide a short-term solution to an eternal problem. Only when we realise who God is, and that he created us in His likeness, will things really change. Until you know and accept that God loves you so much, and that your pedigree, status or bank balance will never diminish that love for you, you will continue to default to building walls or playing the victim. Without sounding blasphemous, it’s almost as if God loves that challenge. It’s like He’s saying, “Everybody thinks nothing of that nobody. Let’s show them!”
Not because I say so, but because God does.
Have an awesome day!