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New content from Anne Watson for God Dots about connecting God to Your Everyday Life. Topics include loving , feeling unholy sometimes, and being badass for Jesus. 

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Recently I was talking to a good friend whom I admire a lot. We were chatting about a bunch of things I think she’s great at and she literally kept pushing me off telling me what a disaster she was. I mean, I understand the humility concept, but this was flirting with self-loathing. It drives me crazy on behalf of my friend, but it makes me crazy angry because I know she isn’t the only woman who does it. 

There are a million books that I’ve seen about the lies women believe and how to overcome them, but they must not be working because it seems to me like more and more women are succumbing to them. I am even one of them. 

What the heck is going on? 

I believe this friend of mine is changing the world by using her gifts to serve God’s people. When I was first starting out in ministry, I felt completely stupid, like I was a fraud, but this friend shared some things that made me think I wasn’t as hopeless as I thought. She taught me a few things that made ministry and Jesus more approachable and I thank God for her. 

But why can’t she see it? How come she has no idea how powerful she is? Why is it that she has a lot of evidence of personal success and she still feels the need to beat herself up? And she does this all while continuing to be obedient to God in the work he has called her to do. I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder if she believed in herself more, how much more powerful would her message be? When she is serving from a place of lack, does the message hit the mark?

I have a similar story. I am my own worst critic. I’m afraid to be proud of myself because I will get called ‘not humble.’ I can’t cheerfully share the things God has called me to do and get legitimately excited about it. I have to suppress it because I have been criticized in the past for being excited that God is allowing me to serve. I’ll say it again. What the?? 

I understand humility as a concept, and I get the idea of holding the tension between confidence and humility, but this is more than that to me. I was repeatedly told from an early age that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough. I was told I was too sensitive or too emotional or that no one likes unhappy people. Things that were wrong with me were pointed out more than the things that were right.  Because I was a kid, I believed the lies. They were like planted seeds that grew into deep life insecurity that touches everything I do. So I have locked down the 'bad stuff, ' and try to live from what I think is the good stuff. But who decides what's good and bad? I'm pretty sure God made me and called me a masterpiece so maybe it's all good, and I'm just missing out. I know for sure I'm not allowing myself to be excited about serving.

I have tried to keep myself small and make everyone else happy while dying a slow death of self. I’ve been in counseling for over a year, and it’s just about the greatest thing ever. I’ve been in the process of slowly debunking each lie, and right now I feel a righteous anger. I would never let anyone talk to me the way I talk to myself. And I'm tired of watching my friends talk to themselves like that.

I’ve searched and searched in the bible for some passage that says God told us to be mean to each other and then we’d thrive. I’ve looked all over scripture for some instruction that says we need to stay small or that celebrating means we aren't humble. Spoiler alert, friends. It doesn’t exist! 

What I can find, however, is story after story of God’s people being obedient and then celebrating. Celebrating! You know, as if it was a good thing. Why, oh why, can’t we do what we are called to do and be thankful for our gifts and opportunities? Why does that mean we aren’t humble? Can someone please explain to me the way to be humble and happy about being used by God for his glory and the good of man? 

Is there any way on earth that we women can rise up boldly do the work we are called to and celebrate it? Can we do that with each other? For each other? 

I adore my friend, even with her distorted view of her contribution to the Kingdom. And I will keep telling her I think she’s amazing because she IS. In the meantime, I will be searching for the solution to this less-than issue we as women face. I welcome any and all ideas. There has to be a better way.

Unholier Than Thou

Don’t start thinking I’m super holy just because you landed on a website with the word God in the title. 

I mean, I am a Christian, of course. I fall more in love with Jesus every day, but as hard as I try, I can’t seem to master the art of ‘being Christian.’ I want to look more and act more like Jesus, but it’s so hard and confusing, too. There are a bunch of things in the pages of the bible that I don't understand, and I am not sure I will on this side of heaven. That would be okay if weren’t for the fact that sometimes I think I’m the only one who finds becoming more like Jesus difficult. 

Have you ever walked into a church or a room full of Christians and felt sort of out of place? For example, you are talking to someone, and the conversation makes you think of something from pop culture that might be inappropriate. You can’t help but laugh out loud just a little and the person you’re with looks at you funny. Now you either have to explain what you were laughing about or lie. Those are your options. Either way, you are bamboozled because whether you share the joke or fib, the outcome is clear. You are unholy. In Christian circles, you’re the worst. 

I try to avoid these situations by looking super holy and highlighting the things about myself that prove it.  For example, I attend church. Holy. But not every single Sunday. Unholy. I don't swear (holy), except when I am mad or get cut off in traffic (unholy). I can memorize pop song lyrics like a boss, but recalling scripture is more challenging (both unholy). Sometimes I just want to let go of trying so hard and just dance to fun music with questionable lyrics (super unholy!)

My favorite is when I run into that person, you know the one, with the sweet disposition and the well-loved and slightly falling apart bible in her hand who has never had an unholy day. Sure, she’s not perfect but her not perfect looks very different from mine. Her not perfect means she only spent 30 minutes with Jesus this morning instead of her usual hour. I started to pray in the shower but got distracted by washing my hair, and I can’t remember if I said amen. Maybe that’s just me. Either way, I suffer by comparison. Of course, comparing myself to someone else is an unholy trap, and I’m not supposed to do that, either. 

The point is that I want to look like other Christians and become more holy, but sometimes I feel like I am just swimming upstream against the current. It isn’t coming naturally, and while I’m not afraid of hard work, it seems like I am fighting a losing battle. I just wasn’t built that way. As it turns out, I will always be unholier than thou. 

But bear with me for a second. What if I am not supposed to be anything other than what I am? I am a pop culture loving, sarcastic, sometimes funny, and slightly inappropriate girl who wants to be badass for Jesus. Maybe God just wants me to be myself because he created me and he thinks I'm cool. He isn’t surprised by my failed attempts at trying to be more like him. Because here's the deal. Changing myself isn’t my job. My job is to be me and let God change me from the inside out. 

I’ve been striving and struggling to look like I belong in the Christian world, but maybe I was always meant to stand out. The things that make me, well, me, are the very things God is using. My unholiness makes me approachable and relatable to people which, through me, makes God approachable and relatable. 

Jesus was nothing if not approachable. People with all kinds of quirks, illnesses, and issues approached him for healing and help. In fact, Jesus wasn’t that interested in the holiest of the group. He preferred to spend time with the imperfect. With the people considered to be unholier than thou. 

I cannot make myself more holy. It’s not within my power. My power rests in using the gifts and personality the Lord gave me from the beginning. I don’t need to shore up my weaknesses. I am called to live out of my strengths even if they are weird to other people. Truthfully, I like those things about me that are a little saltier than most. I am choosing to believe that God can and will use my unholiness for his glory. And that’s a heck of a revelation. So if you are holy, all the love friends. Well done. And if not, sit by me and let’s ponder the beautiful ways God can and will use us to change the world instead of changing ourselves. 

 

Water Under The Bridge

It came down to a matter of faith, really. Did I trust God to fight this battle for me? Was I prepared to let the matter go and believe that somehow, some way it would be made right? Did I believe God?

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