Where to begin? That's the dilemma when pondering all the issues that Beth Moore deals with in Day Two of our Week Three study. I don't know about you, but I never considered that "thinking little" of myself was another side of self-absorption. The phrase: "Constantly thinking little of ourselves is still thinking constantly of ourselves," really hit home with me. Of course we recognize self-absorption on those who are constantly trying to build images of themselves, trying to look better than anybody else, trying to be superior...however, we, or at least I, never really thought that thinking you are not worthy could also lead to a life where the focus is on ME.
The "Babylonian motto is still legible under an inferior light: I am, and there is none besides me," can show up in our thoughts as:
"I am ugly, and there is none as ugly as me."
"I am stupid, and there is none as stupid as me."
"I am untalented, and there is none as untalented as me."
"I am unlucky, and there is none as unlucky as me."
"I am pitiful, and there is none as pitiful as me."
"I have the messiest house, and nobody has a house as messy as mine."
"I have the worst behaved kids, and nobody else's kids are as bad as mine."
"I am a sinner, and nobody is as big a sinner as I."
"I have the worst temper, and nobody has as bad a temper as me."
"I am impatient, and nobody is as impatient as me."
etc, etc, etc...the list could be endless...at least in my case.
Needless to say, thinking about this has deeply convicted me. Even though I don't consider myself a person who battles with insecurities, I do battle a sense of unworthiness. I struggle with a sense of identity that focuses on the things I do wrong and how little I can do to do them better. I am consumed by the thought of how very little fruits of the Spirit I am producing. My heart sinks every time I fail at demonstrating patience, self control, kindness, gentleness. I want to hide under the pew every time the sermon deals with the need to live a life that is an example of Godliness and Christian womanhood...I can't do it...I have tried, but I have failed again and again. And every time I fail I try to inspect myself and search my soul for what went wrong and to see how I can fix it for the next time...and the next time happens soon thereafter, and there I am again, looking at myself and how bad I am, and the cycle continues without a possibility of breaking it...until now...when I realize the problem is NOT that I failed...the problem is that every time I fail, my eyes shift from Christ to myself. My focus and concentration moves from My Lord to ME...and I become the image that needs worshiped, since I am who is standing with none beside me...since I am the one responsible and I am the one who is going to fix myself...the eye goes to I, rather than staying on the Great I AM.
There is NO WAY I can produce the Fruits of the Spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Gal 5:22-23...it is not MY fruits...it is THE SPIRIT's Fruit...It is only the Holy Spirit who can produce these fruits in me...my job is not to produce them, my job is to let the Holy Spirit work in me, like a loving gardener whom, with divine portions of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and LOTS of faithfulness, gentleness and self control works tirelessly in me, weeding, plowing, planting, watering, under a watchful eye until finally, the fruits begin to appear. The key is in the fact that I have to get out of the way...and let the Holy Spirit do His job. I trust that when I begin to disappear from the foreground and move to the background, the Spirit will take control of my life and do His thing in me for HIS glory, not mine. After all, like John says in his Gospel, Chapter 15:8,16:
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. It is all for His glory...we did not choose Him, He chose us. What a humbling truth.