Posted by: New in Every Way | September 26, 2012

I’m Not Okay, But It’s Okay

Shortly after my son was born, I made a troubling discovery. I no longer seemed to care about the problems I saw in the world around me. All my life I had been a problem-solver. When my childhood classmates bossed the younger children around, I stuck up for the little ones. When my college dorm mates were irritated with the administration, I made an appointment with one of the deans to discuss the situation.

But—shoot!—after marrying and having a baby, I only seemed to care about my own life. What was really distressing was that I saw why: I was relatively contented now. Previously—because my mother had died and I wasn’t adjusting well to a stepmother—I was edgy and easily upset. Apparently, when I had jumped into good causes, it wasn’t just because I was a noble, caring person. It was mostly because I was out of sorts and spoiling for a fight.

I’m not the only one who whose best trait turned out to be . . . not so. The apostle Paul was like many Jews of his day. He was indignant about the “heresy” Jesus ’followers were proclaiming. Unlike most of his fellow Jews, he was doing something about it! With the blessing of the religious establishment, he went from house to house arresting Christians and aiding in the stoning death of one. On the way to hunt down Christians in Damascus, Jesus appeared to him in a vision asking, “Why are you persecuting me?” In later years, Paul said of himself,  “I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” 1 Corinthians 15:9).

The prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah made these depressing statements about the human race:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV). 

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6 NIV).

How can we possibly have self-esteem if we’re so messed up? How can we love ourselves if what we think is really good about ourselves . . . is not?

Here’s the deal: we are like dilapidated mansions. God created us as magnificent buildings (“God don’t make no junk.”). Then a squatter (satan) moved in and corrupted us with his evil ways. Most of our beauty was lost, but God still sees it.

If you have allowed him to become your Savior, God has bought you back. Were you instantly restored to the excellence God had in mind when you were conceived?* No, but he danced for joy, anyway.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Now he has the delightful task of restoring you. And you have the glory of his presence and the benefit of his management back within your walls.

. . . I no longer get bent out of shape by my failures and sins. It’s part of the rottenness I no longer claim as the “new me.” It’s old garbage I can choose to let go of—with God’s all-powerful grace.

*A huge amount of restoration did happen instantly, but there’s still more to be done. Monday’s post is all about that.

Making It Personal

  • Do you sometimes think too highly of yourself? And other times, too little?
  • Do you know how you look from God’s perspective? It will show you your true worth. (You can find out how God sees you by reading the Bible. You might start with the Gospel of John.)

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