Failure. Loser. Unimportant. Irrelevant.
A couple of weekends ago, all of these words came to my mind and I was using them to describe myself. It was just one of those weekends, if you know what I mean.
I made a lot of mistakes and also realized that I had made some pretty serious mistakes in the past that I am fairly powerless to fix. I questioned my purpose and the reason for my existence. Who even cares?
Sure, these are pretty serious questions and no, I am not looking for anyone to fill the comment section below with praises and compliments.
Instead, I want to know what the biblical response should be when I feel like a loser. I know what the world says–Love Yourself. Be Kind to You. You are Beautiful. You Can Do Anything.
But is this what the Bible teaches me?
When I search the Bible for a command to love myself, I can only find verses that assume that I already do–
Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.
These verses all–without exception– say the same thing: To love my neighbor as myself. This shows us that we already love ourselves.
And I recognize that when I fall into self-pity, it is because I love myself, not that I need to love myself more.
But Paul tells us in Philippians 1:21 that to live is Christ.
And further on in Philippians (3:8) we read Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Usually, when I feel like a loser it is because my focus isn’t on Christ, but it’s on me. I have started worrying about my glory, my popularity, my feelings, and, mostly, my hurt pride.
So I have to make the difficult effort to turn my eyes from me and put them back on Jesus. I have to very purposefully remove my focus from my hurt, humility, shame, and mistakes and instead remember my true purpose as taught in God’s Word– to glorify God and to make Him known.
This can be very difficult, can it not?
And, yet, when we do so, it changes everything.
How can we practically do this?
I had a friend show me a really good example. She was feeling down and depressed. She wasn’t sure how to get out of the familiar cycle. I rather offhandedly suggested that she do something nice for someone else. And did she ever! She organized a drive to raise funds to encourage and bless a struggling family. By the time she had finished this project her blues had left and she was feeling stronger again.
Doing things for others naturally removes our focus from self.
I guess Philippians 2:3-4 says it best–
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
I know that the world is telling us differently. It is telling us to focus more on ourselves. But I don’t believe this is what the Bible teaches. I believe, instead, we are to be, with great effort, removing our eyes from ourselves and placing them purposefully on Christ, so that we can be used for His purposes and His glory.
And, ironically, when we actually do this, we become filled with incomparable joy and peace. It really is amazing, isn’t it? God receives His glory and at the same time gives us the peace and joy we long for so much.