11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord.” Luke 1:11 – 15 (NLT)
Ever since I was in high school I have been my worst critic. My mom used to tell me to stop giving myself a hard time. When I received my report cards she tried to assure me that an A- was an acceptable grade and that I should be proud of my accomplishment. I refused to accept anything less than an A or A+.
Although I have mellowed out as an adult (thankfully) I still periodically hold myself to unreasonable standards. In spring 2010, a few months before I moved to Tennessee, I experienced periods of anxiety and questioning God’s wisdom in my move – my emotions were all over the place. This frustrated me because I knew I should be more in control of my thoughts and more trusting of God. My friend Darian kindly reminded me that I needed to allow myself to go through these emotions because I was experiencing two of life’s biggest stressors by myself – moving to a new state and starting a new job. I’m only human, she said, so I can’t expect to be immune to these feelings.
My mom and Darian were trying to reflect back to me the true state of who I am; I am so much more than I give myself credit for. Why do I fail to see my accomplishments for what they are? Why can’t I stop viewing myself as being inadequate, never living up to God’s will for me? The answer is that I’m viewing myself through my eyes instead of God’s. God doesn’t pick apart my days, analyze my decisions, question my every move. Instead, he views me as a whole and loves every part of me. He looks to my heart to understand why I do things, and grants me a steady stream of mercy and grace. If I can focus on his perspective of my life I can learn to love myself as he does – unconditionally and whole-heartedly.
Prayer: Father, please give me your eyes. Allow me to see myself as you do and to love every part of me in all situations. Amen.