“. . . sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
Are you self-conscious about your body? Has medication caused weight gain? Has illness transformed your body? A poor body image can be just as debilitating as physical pain. Poor self-esteem can suck a person into a dark hole, void of purpose.
Negative thoughts can be self-destructive and paralyzing. Causing one to feel defeated, discouraged, and depressed.
We’re not powerless. It’s all about focus.
Think of the children of the Bible who kept their focus on God rather than on insurmountable problems. The boy David knew God could defeat the giant in his life. A small boy shared his lunch, knowing God could multiply it for the masses. Their God is our God. . . the Father of possibilities.
But how can we change our thinking when physical or emotional pain consumes us?
Recently, I had my gall bladder removed. After the surgery I experienced a great deal of pain. Wouldn’t it be silly if I used that pain as a measure of my doctor’s care for me? If he cared for me, he wouldn’t have caused such pain. Rather, I knew he skillfully removed what needed to be extracted. It never occurred to me to question the surgeon’s concern for me.
So, why do we question God’s love for us when we consider our physical appearance or pain? Possibly because the pain is so great. It diverts our attention.
Paul and Silas experienced a painful beating just before being thrown in prison. Yet they worshipped God. How was that possible? 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 tells us, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’”
God’s grace sustained them and enabled them to focus on their Father. He’ll do that for us.
Instead of improved self-esteem, pray for an understanding of God-esteem. To know His love for you–to know “the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Prayer: Dear Father, Help me focus more on Your faithfulness. To understand more of Your love for me. Help me see myself as You see me. Remove the contaminated thinking of my past. Renew my self-thoughts and fill me with Your perspective. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/ Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: http://www.hearteyes.net
Has your illness changed your body image? Was there a time when God transformed your thinking?
It is not unusual for us to hide our pain–most of the time. When it comes to your relationship to God know that you don’t have to hide who you really are. His love is not based on your successes, your abilities, your endurance to get through your to-do list today. He just does–He loves you regardless of what you don’t accomplish today, who you snap at, how much you cry. So come to His feet. . . and just be. -Lisa