It’s been awhile since I’ve written a “journal entry” on this site. I’m not sure what’s going to come out of it, but I have a lot of thoughts, so here we go…
In the last couple weeks, I have been a part of a spiral of issues. I was going to say “I fell into a spiral of issues,” but that makes it sound like they took me down, and they didn’t… It started with realizing and focusing on my general lack of self-worth (esteem, confidence, the whole gamut). I had just gone on a couple dates with a really lovely young lady but the self-worth issues helped me undermine and sink that with haste. Then I had a very busy week which was good for keeping me distracted from the emotions, but physically wore me out. Still, it helped me feel like I had more worth because I was accomplishing things. Then I found out a friend of mine passed away. That hit me hard because it caused me to question if I’m living the right way. Am I following my dreams? Am I adding to or taking from the world? Am I inspiring others? Is my 9-to-5 desk job really the best use of my life? You can almost hear the self-worth as it plummets at the reality of my answers to those questions.
I asked a friend of mine how he thinks I could combat low self-worth. He told me to become the best musician/writer that I could possibly be because music and writing is where my heart lies. Funny enough, it is also where my heart lies, if you catch my drift. I immediately saw the flaw in his logic (and I’m not a big fan of what-if’s, but sometimes what-if’s save lives): What if my hands were cut off? What if I had an injury that left me paralyzed? What if I lost a chunk of my brain, the chunk that composes my creativity?
I don’t live a super wild or active life, so the chances of these things happening are much smaller, but a car accident on the way to work or a slip and fall at the wrong time could be my undoing. Or another thing – even if I did try really hard to be the best at something, there will always be someone, somewhere who is “better” in some way. The argument can be made for not comparing yourself to anyone else, but let’s be real, we are all prone to doing it anyways.
I realized my confidence can’t come from what I do because I will never do enough well enough to match the level of perfection I’d like to achieve that is simply inhuman. Maybe some people don’t have a problem with this, and maybe it sounds a bit defeatist for me to say it like that, but I have had enough dreams come crashing down to be realistic with myself.
Last week, I almost cut myself. I almost quit my band because I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be the leader of the group. I almost called that young lady up to beg her to take me back. I almost worked myself down to my last fibers so I would feel good about my accomplishments. I almost quit my job. I almost quit on life.
But I did not fall. I didn’t pull out the razor, I didn’t quit my band, I didn’t cave and beg the young lady to give me another chance and let me back into her life, I didn’t overwork myself, I didn’t quit.
I’m blessed that I’m not suicidal. I was, at one point in my life. The last time a friend died, in fact.
I don’t know where you are at in your life or belief system, but I’ve been very real with you so far, so I’m going to continue being real. I didn’t quit because of my faith in God. Before you stop reading (if you haven’t already), do me the favor of at least hearing why it is important to me.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and unless you have a version that deviates severely from the original Greek and Hebrew it was written in, it says exactly what He wants and intends for it to say. When He says that He made us in His image, He means we are a reflection of Him and His attributes. Someone can be very cheerful and academic because He is cheerful and academic. Someone can be angry because He has anger. Someone can be jealous because He is a jealous God.
The problem is we take it too far and use positive attributes for negative intent, and then we put connotations to those attributes based on negative intent. Discipline isn’t about the pain of doing something wrong and being beaten for it. Discipline is a loving way to say, “I see you doing this thing that will ultimately hurt you, so I need to stop you from doing it so you don’t hurt yourself, especially because I know you will benefit from not doing it.” In short, it is becoming the “bad guy” so the person that is about to do something stupid will not have to be their own bad guy. Funny enough, discipline is also another word for being focused. It is maintaining sight of how the difficult thing to do is what is best because it is just as easy if not easier to not do that thing, but by not doing it, you do not improve yourself.
Every positive thing in this world is met with resistance. Having self-worth is a positive thing. Being in love is a positive thing. Relaxing is a positive thing. Living is a positive thing. Get my point?
Following Newtonian physics (which I understand isn’t practical when dealing with emotions, which are more of a quantum thing, but track with me here), a body in motion stays in motion. Positivity should continue of its own accord unless met by an opposite, outside force. There was nothing that caused me to think less of myself, which means the “random” blow to my self-worth came from an active outside force. Call it what you like, I call it spiritual warfare. No human person can resist negativity on their own because it is an active, opposite, outside force that will come at us from any angle and completely out of the blue.
I cannot pretend like that’s a satisfactory argument for some people, so here’s another: Say you’ve got life in the palm of your hand. One day, however, it all falls apart and you go from being rich, beautiful, and talented to homeless, ugly, and unable to fend for yourself. I have not yet met a human who would wish this on anyone, nor would anyone say this is a reason for that person to take their life. Why is that? Because there is victory in living through it all. It takes more strength to let down pride, be vulnerable, and ask for help than it does to give help from above, especially if giving that help doesn’t degrade your own status. In fact, you become even more heroic and glorified by giving from above.
So if nobody should ever be made to feel “less than” and nobody should ever not be given the opportunity to live, then where should that person’s self-worth come from? I’ll say this in ambiguity so you can interpret it for yourself, but I think you know what I mean: It should come from above. It should come from knowing that just because you’ve been knocked down HARD, all the way down, does not mean you deserved it nor do you have to stay there. Your identity is what gives you purpose in life. Read this carefully: Because you ARE, you have a purpose. The bravest thing someone can do some days is wake up, get out of bed, and meet the world. You don’t know who is watching. You don’t know who will have a better day because they see you smiling. You don’t know who is looking for someone to help simply because they can and want to help someone. You don’t know how any simple act of being might positively impact or even change someone’s life. That’s why you ought to meet each day like it’s brand new, and try your best to be your best.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone has bad days. Some people have bad weeks. I have had a couple bad weeks, and I’m still licking my wounds from it. You’re allowed to not be okay because it’s a perfectly human thing. You think Jesus was happy when the people that were praising Him like a king a week earlier turned on Him and shouted about how He should die? Take that last statement as historical, not spiritual. Jesus was a dude on this earth that cause quite a kerfuffle, that much is even in the history books.
So what do you do when you have no control over the things that will happen to you in life? What do you do about the fact that you can be living your wildest dreams one moment and the next have them shattered? Where do you find your worth?
I find my confidence in my identity – the fact that I am, and I attribute the fact that I am to my belief in who God is. God gives me my purpose, my worth, my willingness to Love, my ambition, and my Life. Sometimes He disciplines me so I become disciplined. God Loves me. He vies for my attention every day to remind me that I am important to Him.
He wants the same for you, but I’m not here to try and convert you. I’m just writing in my journal for you to read. If you want to talk about it, please message me.
Where do you find your self-worth and confidence? What do you do when that fails you?