This post is part of a new project that I’m working on. Visit Jess Alston’s website to learn more about the Dig Deep Podcast.
Someone asked me recently to tell them my top three qualities: creative, thoughtful, and then I couldn’t think of a third one, so I said I was funny. I should probably tell you it was someone in HR interviewing me for a job opening.
I had a day at lunch this week where I felt funny. Everyone around the table laughed at me multiple times throughout the hour. The guy next to me asked me to repeat a few jokes for everyone at the long table to hear, requesting I not leave off key punch lines. I almost choked on a tortilla chip, an orange slice, and a sliver of dried out two-day old sheet cake from the collective office birthday party. If I told you the jokes now, you would not find them funny. Because, you know, context.
Coming off this roaring high, I came back to my desk and worked on memorizing Romans 12 for Dig Deep. I was on a roll. I started patting myself on the back for how well it was going, definitely thinking of myself pretty dang highly as I memorized: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement…”
Grrrreat. (Tony the Tiger style.)
It’s what we do, though, right? We think we’re doing something out of our own power and strength and overall greatness (forgetting the whole part about how it’s God’s will). Therefore, we commend our brilliancy. And then we remember we can’t do anything out of our own strength, and God actually created the minds that make us A) capable of memorizing and 2) funny. (See what I did there?)
So we slump to the opposite lowly view of ourselves, in shame that we even dared to applaud our excellence. How did I believe I could get away with trying to leave God out of memorizing HIS word? Despicable me. I’m a leader. I’m supposed to act like Christ and point people to Christ AT ALL TIMES.
(Go ahead, I’ll let you roll your eyes for me.)
This week at Dig Deep, Jess described this as our strong tendency toward self-preservation, when we think of ourselves either too highly or too lowly. She also highlighted how we shouldn’t evaluate ourselves while wearing beer goggles. Let’s get into the rest of the fun that she shared that I’m still chewing on:
- About those beer goggles. Maybe (hopefully) you’ve never experienced finding someone attractive who you normally wouldn’t after consuming a few too many drinks. The point is, we’re called to think of ourselves with sober judgement. Social media can act as a beer goggles of sorts, distorting our view of ourselves and others with filters and fancy things. Put the selfie stick down (more figuratively speaking, but perhaps a literal break is a good idea, too). The right angle and the right lighting won’t fix or preserve your image.
- The mirror that becomes a window. Jess shared a John Piper quote about how faith is when the mirror you look into transforms into a window with Christ on the other side. What a visual! What do you see when you look into the mirror? Often, I see the one harsh criticism someone gave me a decade ago, versus the ten compliments about my character that have vanished from my smart brain.
- Step off the exhausting treadmill. I don’t know about you, but I want the first ticket off this endless treadmill of crafting and keeping the *perfect* self-image. If reading my bible daily will sober me up, I’m there. I want my sense of self to come from my faith—not my gifts. It’s exhausting to think our identity is found in our gifts (the wonderfulness we convince ourselves we’ve developed all on our own.)
Remember who made you. Look for him in the mirror.
He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. This is distributed to you through your faith. Now show this character to those you are called to love and serve today.