Monday, January 25, 2010

Self Image

Our self images are very important. We make choices about our lifestyles, our relationships, our careers, and our pursuits based upon how we see ourselves. Our self image is part of our self esteem and helps us see the ways in which we can make positive contributions in the world. In order to use our gifts, we must know what they are. Likewise, in order to live a life that is true to ourselves, we must know who we are. Not all of us are terribly introspective people, but we all have some sort of self image, and it guides much of what we do.

I've discovered that my self image isn't necessarily limited to what I think about myself, however. Instead, it's often a compilation of what other people think about me (or what I think they think about me). There are both pluses and minuses to this approach. On the one hand, I can only see so much about myself from the inside, so it's helpful to have outside input to help me get a better picture of myself. On the other hand, no one else understands what it's like to be me so they won't necessarily be able to make appropriate judgments about me. In addition, I might not be able to get accurate information about what others think anyway, so using unvoiced opinions as part of my self image may be nothing more than a pointless exercise in creativity. I've been taught since childhood that God's opinion is the most important, but I don't always know what God is thinking.

Sometimes my self image is a bit like an emotional mine field. One day I see myself as a smart, strong Christian woman. The next day I feel like a struggling weakling who can't seem to get anything right. Sometimes I see and appreciate my talents, and at other times I focus instead on my imperfections. Sometimes I want to know what other people think about me, and sometimes I resent their opinions. My self image is like a kaleidoscope, filled with different parts that shift around and come and go in prominence. Nearly everything I try to incorporate into my self image throughout my life has some element of truth to it. I am both the person I see and the person others see. I am both weak and strong, talented and imperfect, righteous and sinful. I can't boil myself down to a small set of attributes, but there's no way I can see and appreciate the entirety of my being at once. Only God can do that.

God's opinion is the most important because only He truly knows who and what I am. My self image may be like a kaleidoscope, but if I allow God to be the one who turns it, then the pattern will make sense. When I get confused about the overwhelming amount of information and feelings I have about me, I need to ask God to help guide me. I do need a self image to help me make decisions about my life, but I may not need to know everything about myself in order to make a single decision. I need God to guide my focus to the relevant part of my self image.

In the end, I think I must remember that the most important part of my self image is that I am a child of God. All the parts of who I am matter, but nothing matters as much as that one fact. No matter what God thinks of me, whether I am weak or strong or somewhere in between, God loves me. So when I feel discouraged about who I am right now, I should remember what I will become. Someday I will become perfect, and none of my present ugliness, weakness, and sinfulness will matter anymore. That promise will be enough to get me through the highs and lows of my personal kaleidoscope in the meantime.

No comments:

Christian Love Lessons - Free Blogger Templates - by Templates para novo blogger