A response to a Blackhawk’s Sermon. A part of my Be Real Series.
The strangest things scare me. I was not afraid to become a mother. But almost every day I am afraid of being a mother who messes up her kids beyond repair. I am not afraid of travelling the world and yet I am afraid to talk to my Indian neighbor and invite her for tea. I am afraid to learn Russian or to play the piano again, but I do not fear writing this blog (mostly). I know that I take beautiful unique photographs, but I am afraid of people paying me for my images. Every shoot I do, I wrestle with the little demon on my shoulder that says that I should turn them down. I have allowed my fear to make me stop taking pictures.
I allow my fear keep me from lovin’ on other people, many times, because I need others’ validation to tell me I’m okay. Oh how I hate it! That is why it hit me so profoundly recently that I was squandering my skills as a photographer mainly because I was afraid. My struggle with low self-esteem and too easily needing the word of validation from others keeps me from living my life. What is this about?
This is about not getting my identity from Christ.
So for me a sermon on the idol of image — this was profound. I want other people to validate me and not just that, but the people who I decide are important.
When you continuously seek this validation from others you can never stop. It is never enough. I believe that was one of the things my father was plagued by and perhaps what fueled his anger — the constant need to do more because he wasn’t good enough. Thankfully the “do more” piece has been worked out of my life through my depression experience when I quit work to be at-home, but the “I’m Not Okay” hole is huge and intense. And kind of embarrassing to admit.
Of all the crazy, mixed up ideas! If I actually found my full identity in Jesus there would be nothing to prove!
That would be a life without f.e.a.r.
I have a friend that makes amazing salsa with fresh ingredients chopped just right, in a way that people love. And they buy jars and jars of her salsa. So she keeps making it. I don’t think she would say she’s an entrepreneur. She’s a very humble person. She just saw an opportunity in front of her and went for it. She didn’t have fear holding her back. I would have had a thousand “what ifs” keeping me from doing it. I know, because I’ve had a similar idea to sell Mel’s Soups and Pies out of my home kitchen, but I am too afraid of failing.
Just Make the Salsa!
I want to be willing to just “make the salsa!” Life doesn’t have to be a place where we fear failure all the time, where we worry about what others will think of our actions, where we are constantly protecting the “image” of what others perceive of us.
This fractured, broken life is not the way that God intended it be. If I can learn to be a reflection of Jesus in my life, then I can lose my f.e.a.r.
Oh God, please help me to receive my validation from you. Help me to know that your approval is all I really need. I am your child. I am loved dearly — beloved. The rest of it, success or affirmation of others, acclamation is just extra. Help me to rest in you, the source of everything I am, or ever will be.
9 t Do not lie to one another, seeing that u you have put off vthe old self 4 with its practices 10 and w have put on x the new self, y which is being renewed in knowledge z after the image of a its creator. 11 b Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, 5 free; but Christ is c all, and in all.
12 d Put on then, as f compassionate hearts, g kindness, h humility, meekness, and patience, 13 h bearing with one another and, i if one has a complaint against another, g forgiving each other; g as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on j love, which k binds everything together in l perfect harmony. 15 And let m the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called n in one body. And o be thankful. 16 Let p the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, q singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, r with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And s whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, t giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Colossians 3:9-14