Since a recent assignment in The Artist’s Way, I’ve been pondering the truth behind the mantra, “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.” Being a student of Jesus Christ, my first reaction was that this mantra was not Biblical. The Scripture “let him deny himself” immediately came to mind. But experientially I have found this mantra to be true.
The underlying struggle that I had with the mantra was treating myself like a precious object. I understand that God finds me precious after all He sacrificed so that I could have relationship with HIm. I would be wrong in treating myself any other way. But I am a person of extremes. I hear the media preaching that “I deserve to pamper myself so I must buy their products. I deserve it after all the hard work I accomplish as a wife and mother, as a woman.” I so completely reject this that I often lean too far the other direction. I’ve rejected one lie for another of sorts. The lie I’ve been embracing says that “I am selfish if I pursue a personal interest. I shouldn’t have time left in my day after serving my family and others. And I should not feel drained or empty from all this serving because it is my job. I am denying myself.”
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
This mantra, this struggle, allowed me to take a step back and observe my life and choices. I believe Jesus was talking to the disciples of denying what they might assume as right, or their self will, and instead following the will of the Father. Unbeknownst to them, they indeed had heavy burdens to bear with impending persecutions and martyrdoms. Perhaps I just have a difficult time relating to these struggles. I think that denying myself must be much more difficult than it really is. I certainly don’t expect to be persecuted anytime soon in this country. Perhaps I still believe that seeking God’s will should be painful, and it should be difficult to give up self. Perhaps this is also a lie.
Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I’ve really come to like the mantra, “Treating myself as a precious object will make me strong.” The part about making me strong I had no difficulty with. I am strong in the full knowledge that I am desperately weak. 🙂 I can’t deal with a busy schedule and handle stress poorly. I’ve learned to work within these parameters, but by nurturing the creative within me, I have noticed a difference in my thought patterns. I am becoming stronger. There has been much less of dealing with another day, and much more of looking forward to another day. I am becoming more relational and have found it easier for my introverted self to socialize. I have embraced more of my Savior. It is easy for me to only look at Jesus’ example while his feet walked the earth. He served nonstop, often without proper sleep and nourishment. How physically exhausting. I am learning much more about his “Creator” side. I am growing stronger in my relationship with him as I learn more about who he fully is. Now there’s a nonstop challenge.
I want to thank Amber for her post. I love what she has to say and truly appreciate the time she took to respond. I also found great truth and encouragement in both Sarah and Lora‘s comments on my Contradiction post.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.