Negative self-talk..Our Nemesis

The other day I attended a conference with a colleague. A colleague I have never had much of an opportunity to learn about until this day. What I learned about myself and women in general was quite thought provoking.  We are consumed with the process of convincing ourselves that all of the other women out there (that we perceive as successful) are smarter, more capable, more talented, more professional, better dressed, prettier, on and on.  Am I ringing any bells out there ladies? Am I right?

Let’s call my co-worker “Mary” to protect the innocent. I met Mary when I began working for this organization one year ago and we are close in age. I have wanted to get to know her because I see qualities in her that I admire. Mary and I both profess Jesus as our Lord. She works part-time in our office as well as owns and runs her own business.  Not to mention, she has a special needs child and is involved in other various activities….and she is considering furthering her education to boot!  

Does intimidated and insecure even come close to describing what I was feeling???  Random thoughts and feelings at the time…If she only knew who she was with….if she only knew what I was really like…she would never want anything to do with me….I am not as successful, I’m so insecure, I could never do the things she does………..

Well, the beautiful thing … as we drove together to Philadelphia that day, I discovered a woman with whom I share so much in common. Mary, like me, doesn’t see herself as this confident, over achiever! She has all of the same insecurities, doubts and fears that I have! What an absolute relief to discover that I am actually no different!  How sad that we see ourselves in this negative light!  

Now, I did run my own business years ago; A small nanny placement service. I succeeded in placing many highly qualified professional nannies in homes throughout south central Pennsylvania.  My husband and I were foster parents for many years. I am a college graduate; I have been a mentor to young women from time to time in our church.  At forty I returned to obtain a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and I am a good therapist.  So…I am no slouch! Now, I am not saying that we all have to be college educated… I am talking about what it is that we say to ourselves day in and day out, that for many of us, perpetuates a cycle of self-defeat. Over and above this, the core issue really lies in how we somehow believe that our outward appearance, our station in life, career or lack thereof becomes what we base our identity on as children of God. When our identity becomes wrapped up in this world we will always be defeated as we perpetually compare ourselves to our neighbor.  I am guilty of this more times than I would care to admit.

God created each and every one of us in His image. We are all unique human beings with a vast variety of gifts and callings.  Some of the most successful people I know are stay-at-home mothers.  Some of the richest people I have met are dirt poor and live sacrificially as they serve as missionaries. I don’t know how they do it, to tell you the truth. I struggle with a 40 hour work week….they are on 24/7!  I know many successful individuals who have never graduated high school. It isn’t about our accomplishments. For this lady, it must be about knowing my identity in Christ. Knowing who I am in Him and being grateful for the power and authority I have when I do business in His name. A dear man by the name of John Hobbs stated "My Father is big enough to take care of my reputation if I am careful about doing His business and worrying about His reputation."

We are our worst enemy.  We tell ourselves we are incompetent, we say we can’t do things, we tell ourselves we aren’t creative, that we aren’t smart enough and we don’t have what it takes. We believe we can’t learn new things. Every time we speak failure into our lives we slap God in His face. Ladies, it is time to recognize that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. We all struggle with self-doubt, fear, feelings of inferiority,  but when we criticize ourselves we are mocking God’s handiwork.  We are saying what God created isn’t good enough.

Step out on a limb. Explore your dreams. Believe God.  Believe Jesus. Explore your dreams. When we live within God's will for our lives then our dreams are His dreams.

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