Stress and competition fill our day. Social media has propelled this like never before. Add to the mix rivalry, jealousy, rumors, pride, and the need for approval and affirmation. Men and women alike all want approval and affirmation and seek to find it in so many ways.
As we age, beauty fades, and those same emotions seem to follow. Life continues to throw moments of rejection, pain, and unhealthy thinking at us and we become dependent upon the opinion of others. I’m not good enough echoes in your head.
As a Christian, I am aware of God’s unconditional love and acceptance of me, yet the heart curls up into a tight little protective ball, to guard against the rejection or criticism. The reality is you are good enough. You’ve been uniquely made, an original one of a kind!
My hope is that one day you’ll see how God sees you and although people may continually criticize, you can trust and find joy in the truth that God gave his very life for you, not while you were perfect, but while you were an imperfect sinner. Yes, he loves you that much.
- Become more. We often live looking in the rear view mirror. We have to become more. We are capable of so much more. Shed the image of what people think of you and be more! Grow as an individual and stop talking about what you did in the past and go make new memories.
- Help others. One of the reasons we get stuck in our past is our eyes are on ourselves and they lie to us. They can’t be trusted because we are often wrong. So get them off yourself. Begin by giving your time, help people just because, start a business, mentor someone, take food to a shut in, start a prayer chain, raise money, do something behind the scenes where no one knows you did it, love those in your immediate circles (stop competing with them), are just a few examples.
- Bloom where you are planted. It is essential that you find contentment. When you do you’ll grow where you are. Stop comparing. Dive into church and be a part instead of a spectator or consumer. Be you, embracing your gifts and your abilities. You have something great to offer.
- Struggle together. There is no value in trying to go it alone. There is healing and help when you lock arms with others. We are small alone. We are strong together. Figure out who you can trust, who has your back and build a relationship with them. A supported life makes it easier to comeback from adversity or heal from hurts. It helps growth.
- Extend an Olive Branch. The olive tree grows because of the heat and the winds from the sea. Both extremes bring fruit. Harsh and joyous times makes you grow. It’s what makes us wise. Adversity grows us. Even after hard pressed the oil is actually what is most useful. Your value, in part, comes from your ability to extend an olive branch and doing so will give your life more meaning.
David is a father, husband, business owner, and ministry leader. He is Founder and Director of a Hope 2 Offer, an Iowa non-profit, focused on counseling and public speaking and The Orange Planet, a central Iowa based basketball instruction company started in 2008.
As always, thanks for reading Unmasked.