The Remedy For “Self-consciousness”

Alright, I’ll be honest. I struggle with self-consciousness. I wonder and care too much what others think of me. Sometimes I wonder if I can lose or gain their love and approval because of something I do (or don’t do). I often seem to fear man more than God.  This can be defined as “an acute sense of self-awareness. It is a preoccupation with oneself, as opposed to the philosophical state of self-awareness”.

Thanks, Wikipedia! Ever since I was little my precious mom has encouraged me to be “others-conscious” instead of self-conscious. Making this a habit is so simple yet challenging. Nevertheless, it trains us to see others as more valuable than ourselves-which is good! Sounds like something we’ve heard before!  “It’s not about thinking less of yourself, it’s just about thinking of yourself less.” This has been and will be a lifelong mission of mine.

Recently, a friend charged me with this verse:

“Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Psalm 34:5

Think of that! Imagine never being ashamed-never being self-conscious. I had never thought of this verse like that before.  Chapter 34 begins like this:

“I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.”

This passage tells us a couple of things:

  • Godly confidence and character starts with praising God and being thankful
  • Our confidence and boast must be in the Lord. It is a humble confidence knowing He is greater than we are.
  • Seek the LORD. Talk with Him about your joys and your fears.

Overcoming our struggles and sin starts with making a decision (sometimes moment by moment) to put God in His rightful place and to know our rightful place. Then, verse 5 says those who looked to Him are radiant. When we are abiding in the Lord, our desire for mans or even self approval decreases. We no longer radiate self, but radiate Christ. And because of that, we need never be ashamed!

 

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“Heart Inside a Box”

I wrote this nearly two years ago!  Today I found myself thinking about life and love similarly, so I went looking for this post and decided to share. Hope it encourages you to love even if you’re afraid.

-Laura Beth

“Sometimes it seems it would be easier to lock your heart inside a box. There it would never be broken, never hurt, and never lost. It would be safe. As the years passed by its rate would never change, on and on it would pound to the same familiar rhythm. Inside a box, it would never have to risk skipping a beat, or not  being able to slow its pace once it had quickened. It would be comfortable, never knowing risk.

Yet, would it ever truly be alive? Should it be given the chance to feel even if it means to ache? The heart may experience deep sorrow, devastating loss, and even begin to feel as if it has been shattered into a thousand pieces. But, mingled with grief and sorrow, deep trust, joy, and love can also be found. The heart is fragile and breakable, but if laid at the feet of the Savior it is redeemable and healable. Could it be that the strange reality is it is better to feel everything than to feel nothing at all?

To those whose hearts are locked away, please unlock the box. The heart is made to be alive not merely to be left ‘safe’ inside a box. Though it may be uncomfortable at times, and life may leave scars, I believe to feel is to risk, and to risk is to truly live. Is your heart inside a box?”

“The Goal of Perfection”

I pictured walking with Jesus last night. I imagined Him holding my hand, and I wondered of His face. I thought through my frustrations with the day and with myself. I thought, ‘Oh, if I was just with Jesus I could ask Him to “fix me”, make me  better-more pleasing to Him.’

Then I caught myself, really He caught me. Perfection, if taken too far, can be an attempt to be my own God-to be self sufficient. Jesus took on perfection and won because I couldn’t. When I constantly try to “fix myself” and do better on my own it potentially exposes some negative things about what I’m letting myself believe:

-I believe I have to earn (or even can earn) God’s approval, acceptance, and Love. Ephesians 2 addresses it this way,

 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

-I doubt His promises.

HE will complete the good work He began for His purpose. He gives the desire and the power to serve Him and live by the Spirit (Philippians 2:13). I must believe that He’s trustworthy and a GOOD Father like He says He is and shows Himself to be! (Psalm 145:8-9, 1 John 1:5, Psalm 138:8, Psalm 100:5, **Psalm 37:23-24).

-I believe self improvement and Perfection is the goal.

Oh, how I am so easily distracted! Jesus lived and died the Perfect life for me (and you) so that I in my own strength don’t have to be perfect to know Him. *That’s the goal-knowing Jesus.* It’s much easier to walk close to someone and begin to pick up their habits and traits if you spend time just knowing them. When I make perfection my goal, it becomes what controls and defines me, not Christ. (Psalm 73:28, Psalm 16).

Someone said to me recently, “when you try to be perfect all the time, you can’t  be free to be yourself or let others see who you really are.” Because, I’m. Not. Perfect. It’s just a facade. Now, that’s not to say I shouldn’t strive for excellence in all I do. But, excellence is doing something to the best of my ability; not focusing on if it was the very best and perfect way out there. To be human is to be broken and make mistakes too, and I’m learning that’s okay.

I find myself when I lose myself in Christ. When I find Him, He teaches me who I am.

I hope these thoughts encourage you as you focus on knowing Jesus the One who is Perfect, instead of  perfection. Enjoy your journey!

Laura Beth

Victorious Spirit