I remember having a conversation with a leader who was concerned about his thinking. He was about ready to enter a building project, and he was finding himself fixating on money more than he wanted to. His conclusion about this was that there was something wrong with him.
I told him this was the wrong conclusion to make. Because he was going higher in influence and load-bearing capacity, he was having weaknesses exposed. This exposure is not for condemnation, but it simply reveals areas to be strengthened as his influence grows.
It is like a sports team that plays better competition. This stronger opponent will reveal flaws the team was not even aware of, and will often lead to them making the conclusion they are losers. That would be the wrong belief: they have simply leveled up to a new league. If the team maintains a belief that they are constantly improving, however, the players will learn and grow into the new level. If they conclude that they’re simply not winners, they could be tempted to quit.
If we only choose to only do things we cannot fail at, then we are like the one-talent servant in The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. We will let fear, perfectionism, and passivity rob us of our potential. We reduce our lives by playing small.
As we seek to embrace our true identity and purpose, we will have our weaknesses revealed to us in great ways. We will be tempted to feel bad about ourselves and lose confidence. I believe this is a big problem. Small thinking and limiting beliefs about ourselves will block us from what we were created to do. Some would object to this thought because they believe people may conclude they are okay when they really not. Yes, this may happen, but it is important to realize the most transformational doctrinal and identity beliefs have the biggest potential for abuse. We cannot let this fear stop us from moving into what Graham Cooke would describe as brilliant thinking.
If you are a follower of Jesus and you are seeking to go higher in beliefs and influence, here are a few reasons you should feel good about yourself right now:
- The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10) – The religious mindset constantly believes we are not measuring up and that God is mad at us. It is impossible to truly embrace joy without feeling good about ourselves.
- Delighting in the Lord will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) – Again, it is impossible to delight in the Lord without feeling good about who we are. We will have to let go of striving, condemnation, and perfectionism.
- He is strong when we are weak – “But he said to me (Paul), ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul said he would boast all the more gladly in weaknesses (feel good about himself) because he realized every weakness in him was a place where God would reveal His strength.
We do not withhold approval from a toddler who is not walking perfectly. We don’t say, “I will not approve of you until you walk perfectly. Because if I approve of you now, you might feel good about yourself and stop trying to improve.” No, an atmosphere of encouragement gets the best results. Let’s not withhold approval of ourselves while we are learning to walk higher in joy, hope, relationships, life management, etc.
So, should you feel good about yourself on this journey? I say yes. Certainly, if we are hurting or abusing people, or being reckless in our decision making, we should get help, but the key for most of us reading this today is summed up in these declarations:
- I am growing incredibly in not only loving myself but liking myself
- I get excited when my flaws are revealed as I seek to walk higher in beliefs and habits
- I love the process of growing into my potential
For greater insight and detail on this, listen to my podcast here.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.