Yes! Swimsuit season is over in central Texas! OK, I know my friends up north will question that, and yes, my friends in Texas will still be swimming in heated pools for weeks to come, but essentially, swimsuit season has ended. And it couldn’t come soon enough for me.
Oh, it’s not that I don’t like the pool – I actually enjoy the feeling of being really hot and then plunging into the deep end while the cool shock of the water rushes over every inch of my body. What I don’t enjoy, and never have, is the walk to the edge of the pool in my swimsuit.
The truth is, as much as I don’t relish the vision of the hairy man with the beer belly in the speedo walking around the waterpark (and why is it that he is everywhere?) I do envy him! I envy his complete self-unawareness, that he does not seem to care what other people think, and that he is enjoying life to the fullest.
Sometimes I am a bit too self-aware, too worried about what others think, and therefore, I hold back. The worst case is when I hold back from sharing the gospel or talking about the things of God – which has nothing to do with swimsuits, but everything to do with exposure.
Perhaps if I, and those of you who are in the pool of self-focus with me, had a right view of ourselves, a good mirror that honestly reflects who we are, would we be less afraid of revealing our heart, of exposing our true selves, of exposing our faith? Would we be less concerned with what others say?
In other words, if we, as God tells us, could actually be honest in our evaluation of ourselves, measuring ourselves by the faith God has given us (Romans 12:3) could we live more boldly and abundantly? Probably, so why don’t we?
We think we are less than we are when we measure ourselves against worldly markers and come up lacking. We aren’t as pretty, smart, wise, tall, thin, personable, or wealthy, as everyone else, oh, and our children are struggling and don’t forget, we look really bad in a swimsuit. But isn’t that humility? And isn’t humility good?
Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, it is thinking of ourselves less. Thinking less of ourselves all the time is not humility, it is pride.
False pride is when we think we are less than we are so that others will tell us we are better than we are. You know, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly ___________ (you fill in the blank)” just to hear, “Oh, but you could, you’re wonderful!” That’s false pride. Imagine if they replied, “Yep, you couldn’t possibly…” How horribly that would hurt our ego! Our pride.
We think we are better than we are when we measure ourselves by our swimsuit size, our height, hair color, weight, or whatever measuring stick we use (number of friends, house size, car, children’s grades, income, education, zip code, etc., etc.), and we always come up on top. When external things prompt us to think that we are more than we are, we are full of pride.
And then, sometimes, we think we are unworthy because of the hidden things that we are afraid to expose. The hurts, sins, errors, failings and short-comings of our pasts that wrap us up in guilt and shame. So, we try to hide in the deep water of “I’m OK”, when in fact we’re drowning in loneliness. We need an honest self-evaluation.
The truth is, God wants us to see ourselves through the light of the Son, to honestly evaluate ourselves and to measure ourselves by the faith he has given us.
How do we evaluate ourselves honestly? We must know who we are: Christians are children of God, made in his image and filled with his Spirit. To think less of ourselves insults the God who made us and who lives in us. We are to care more about what God thinks of us, than what others think.
As my husband often says, if we realize how little other people think about us, we wouldn’t care so much about what they think. God thinks of us all day long.
How do we measure ourselves by faith? By recognizing that the foundation, or basis, of our self-worth isn’t in how good, or how bad, we look in a swimsuit, or in anything else we fear exposing – it is in knowing that we have been redeemed not with perishable things such as silver or gold but by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-21). We are part of the body of Christ. We have a unique place, with unique inherent gifts and unique spiritual gifts that we are to exercise for the glory of God as we serve his people.
It is our privilege, whatever we do to work at it with all our heart as working for the Lord, not for men, since we know that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (Colossians 3:23-24). There is no place for pride or false humility; there is no place for overly critical self-awareness or paralyzing worry about what others think. Ther is no place for shame and guilt — Jesus died to remove all it.
We are children of God with every privilege that status holds. We don’t have to fear exposure because we belong to God who knows and sees everything.
Do you wear your faith like a swimsuit? Are you hesitant to step out in faith because you are afraid of what others are thinking? Are you so critically self-aware that you are afraid to use the gifts God has given you?
In Christ you have access to the boldness, courage, and fortitude that are required to put on your faith and confidently walk wherever God is calling you to walk. Apart from God, you can do nothing (John 15:5), however, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13.
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