Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Own Worst Critic?

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

What do I see when I look into the mirror? I see wrinkles that weren't there yesterday, pimples I didn't have as a teenager, hair thinning on top and growing in places it doesn't belong, double chins, flabby arms, fatty stomach and thighs...lots of flaws. What does God see when He looks at me? Someone He created in His own image (Genesis 1:27), beautiful, flawless. Someone who He loves so much He sacrificed His Son for (John 3:16).

I am my own worst critic as I believe most of us are. I also think women are more self-critical than men are. According to the TV and magazines, we're all supposed to be thin, with long, luxurious, thick, shiny hair, straight, brilliantly white teeth, a smooth, blemish-free complexion and perky breasts (YES, I said breasts!!). I'm not thin but my hair is getting there. My teeth are straight but they're not brilliantly white. My complexion is smooth and somewhat blemish-free as long as I have make-up on. And my breasts haven't been perky since......well, I don't think they've ever been! But, you know what? GOD LOVES ME! JESUS LOVES ME! Just the way I am. GOD LOVES YOU! JESUS LOVES YOU! Just the way you are. Hard to believe, isn't it. I am so full of flaws and faults. Yet, God loves me - faults, flaws, blemishes, scars, sins and all. He sees me as I am, forgives me, loves me, accepts me. He expects me to do the same for myself.

The Bible tells me in several places to love others as I love myself (Matthew 22:39 NIV; John 13:34 NIV; 1 Peter 1:22 NIV...just to name a few). But, if I don't love myself, how can I love other people the way God instructs me to? Acceptance of the  looks and body God gave me, improving my self-image and increasing my self-esteem, are critical for me to move forward in my walk with Him. Accepting myself does not mean being conceited or thinking, "I'm all that!". Oh, no, no, no, no!! It's loving myself where I'm at, accepting the things about myself I cannot change and asking God to help me change the things He wants me to change. It's not being critical of what I see in the mirror. It's being content with what God has given me, as this verse in 1 Timothy tells me to be. When I am able to do that, I can love others where they're at. Gloria Gaither observed, "Being loved by Him whose opinion matters most gives us the security to risk loving, too -- even loving ourselves." The first step for me to stop being my own worst critic is to accept that my Lord loves me just as I am. It's time to stop complaining and criticizing myself, my looks and my weight. It's time to change my thinking, love myself and be content. In that, there is "great gain". Amen!!

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving." - Dale Carnegie

Dear Lord, keep me mindful that I am specially created by You, in Your image. Teach me to accept and forgive my shortcomings as You accept and forgive me. Remind me that You love me so much that You sent Your Son so that I could be saved and spend eternity in Heaven with You. Thank You for accepting me just as I am. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

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