Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Self-Acceptance: Why Is This So Difficult?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

God created us to find Him and experience joy. Jubilee, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Self-acceptance is one of those universal human issues that Christians aren’t supposed to talk about because, as we all know, we shouldn’t be worried about “self” anymore.

And therein lies the problem — not the worrying about ourselves, but in the “shouldn’t be worried about” part that so consistently trips us up in our walk with God.

We’re not supposed to do this. And we’re not supposed to think that. And we really shouldn’t/oughtn’t/mustn’t have a problem with this or that or the other.

All of these control words add up to muddy our thinking when it comes to who we are, what we are, and just who loves us or cares about us, the most important person being God Himself.

Think about it: wasn’t the promise of God’s love (and acceptance) one of the major draws when you thought about becoming a Christian? When you became a believer, was it on the basis of sheer unadulterated intellectual logic, or was there a teensy weensy bit of hope that Someone big, powerful, protective, and perfect not only made you, but loves you?

We Love Being Loved

I love being loved, and have been blessed by a husband, progeny, and

We love being loved, and we NEED to be loved. Family is an up close and personal means of learning what real love looks like. Seaside Story, original oil painting by Steve Henderson sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and Light in the Box.

extended family that is noisy, chaotic, creative, energetic and loving. On a recent birthday, my best presents were phone calls, Facebook messages, and in-person interactions with people who truly smile when I walk into the room, as I do when I see them. Our unconditional love — imperfect as it is — runs both ways, and I learn more about how my Father sees me by the way my heart melts when I hug one of my children than I do by all the sermons on a sea of Sundays (or Saturdays, if you prefer).

Family and friends — and especially young children — are walking, visual PowerPoint presentations that God has put into our lives to show us what love, and acceptance, look like. Anyone who has been around the average toddler knows that they can be demanding, unreasonable, immature, and shortsighted; we also know that these traits, which are in line with their age and maturity, are not a basis for rejection.

We Accept Rejection Too Easily

And yet, we accept rejection from God all the time, convinced that we messed up so badly today — what did we do? Were we impatient? Did we cut off another driver in traffic? Fall asleep instead of do our daily devotion? — that He cannot look on us without revulsion.

1 John 4:18-19 reassures us that we do not have to walk around God in fear and trepidation all the time, as if He were some psychotic, unreasonable middle manager consistently picking at us and finding fault:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

“We love because he first loved us.”

That last sentence is a biggie, and well worth running through our minds, again and again and again, until it sticks.

We Can’t, and Don’t, Earn His Love

He loved us. First. While we were still creepy. While we were still disinterested in anything He had to say or offer. While we were unpleasant and unapproachable and overweeningly proud and stuffed up about our amazing-ness and our lack of need for something as archaic and intellectually demeaning as God.

And when we turned to Him and said, “Oh yes, please, LOVE me!” nothing changed. God didn’t suddenly attach caveats and conditions to that love of His, but we did, becoming aware of outside voices telling us that we “need” to do this and we “ought” to do that or else . . .

God won’t love us anymore.

Don’t listen to these voices. When you hear them, take them straight to God with the question, “What about this? What do you want me to do? Lead me. Show me. Love me.”

That’s what He wants — moment by moment communion and our total dependence, and trust, upon His love and guidance. He accepts us, and realizing this is the first, and most crucial, step toward our accepting ourselves.

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity. I post three times a week, and if you signed up to subscribe (upper right menu bar) I would be most ecstatic. If you like what you read, please pass me on.

Posts similar to this one are

King Kong God

The Atheist’s Cry to God

Accepting Ourselves (at my sister blog, This Woman Writes)

What Unconditional Love Looks Like (at This Woman Writes)

 

 

 



  • Anonymous

    AMEN !!!!!

Previous Posts

Longing for Success
If you want people to read an article you write, or watch a video you post, just make sure that the title has the word, "Success" in it. (I know. I just did that. Did it work?) Fortunately, I am not attracted by these headlines that really reel the readers in, (preferring, instead, articles with

posted 7:31:44pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Alone But Not Lonely
I live in a society that is desperately afraid of being alone. So alarmed are we of solitude that we define normalcy by how many groups we belong to: "I go to church, Sunday School, and small groups." "I volunteer through our Give-Back-to-Others program at work." [caption id="attachmen

posted 7:13:16pm Aug. 18, 2014 | read full post »

How Long Will We Let Other Christians Call Us Dogs?
Those of you who have lived with, or through, a fifteen-year-old girl know that adolescents of this age generally fight self-esteem issues. Call it hormones, peer pressure, society, or fat days, 15-year-old girls need a lot of love and reassurance that they are beautiful, beloved people. [caption

posted 7:45:03pm Aug. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Five Steps to Achieving Your Impossible Dream
Sixteen years ago, m

posted 7:35:04pm Aug. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Feeding Marshmallows to Our Minds
[caption id="attachment_1009" align="alignleft" width="337"] Growing a garden, even a small one, is something many of us can do, even if our only plot space is a window box. Child of Eden, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at iCanvasART and Framed Canvas Art.[/cap

posted 8:44:45pm Aug. 11, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.