“…Relationships are our life context. People are our environment. We live before the eyes of others, and they live before ours. We take our cues from them, and they from us. We evaluate, and we are evaluated. We size up, and are sized up. We compare, and we are compared. Within our desperate striving to be “ok,” “acceptable,” “adequate,” “legitimate,” “worthwhile,” and “satisfactory,” self-hate spins a seductive lie—our thoughts about others and their thoughts about us are the ones that really count. We are tempted to believe this and live out of it. Thankfully, this is not the true arrangement of things.
We do not live in a world where our evaluation of ourselves and others is ultimate…God, too, is our environment and we also live before his eyes. We live before the maker and sustainer of all things…
Liberation from the clutches of self-hate and the endless striving to be “ok” is available only in our relationship to God through Christ. Liberation begins by giving ear to what the loving voice of God says about us. We don’t have to guess how he thinks or feels. In the Scriptures, he tells us clearly…Whereas the voice of self-hate proclaims “I am a piece of garbage,” or disgusting and unwanted, the voice of God announces,
I want you, you belong to me. (Psalm 18:19)
I love you and my love does not have strings attached. (Deut. 7)
I cherish you. (Psalm 8)
I will do what is needed to save you. (John 3:16)
I have given you a true and lasting name. (1 John 3:1; Isa 43:1)
…This does not mean our failures and sins and limitations and struggles are not real or insignificant, but rather, despite the presence of all of these things in our lives, our “ok-ness” does not change. Our spiritual status is not up for debate. It is permanently established through Christ.
The voice of God proclaims an alternative to the identity that self-hate argues for. Because you cling to Christ, you can repeat what God the Father says about you. Because you cling to Christ, you can own what God the Father thinks about you: “I am ok.”
Excerpt from “I am not ok” at CCEF, by Todd Stryd. Read the full piece here. Painting: The Mirror by William Orpen, 1900.