Bob and his wife, Maria, are in a rut. They each feel like they cannot measure up to what they need to be. Bob struggles being a few pounds overweight, very impatient, and, always trying to earn praise from his bosses at work. He has some health issues but does not want anyone knowing about them. What might people think if they found out about his weaknesses and insecurities?
Maria worries all the time. Battles with her kids, her looks, her clothes, and her health are made more complex because of terrible memories from her past. Abuse and disrespect in her pre-adolescent and teen years has left her with a very damaged and sagging self-image. She wishes she were someone else with a different history and better life.
Most of us, at one time or another, feel like we don’t measure up. If we are not confident in our identity in Christ, two destructive things can happen: We will settle for our depressing opinion of ourselves or we will despair trying to get other people to like us.
If you are a follower of Jesus, the Devil has a well oiled plan to destroy you, your marriage, your family, and your witness for Christ.
He despises the truth so he feeds you very believable lies. He gets you to believe that your worth in life, at school or work, and at home is based on three things:
- Your performance
- Your appearance
- Your possessions
He will help you construct an Ideal Version of yourself that is always better than the Real You.
If you are a man, you may desire to be more handsome, more popular, and in demand. You may desire more degrees, more promotions, better health, more hair, and a great physique. You may feel your big break will come any day now.
If you are a woman, you may want more men to notice you. You may wish you weighed less, had better clothes, and a perfect childhood with an intact family. You might wish you had a great home, wonderful friends, and perhaps a loving, stable husband along with healthy children. You might expect others to you admire more for your ability to spin many plates at once with amazing skill.
What the Devil does not tell you is that as you strive to become that person who performs better, has better appearance, and has more things, this Phantom and monstrous Ideal Version of you raises the bar and looms even higher! The result is you feel terrible! You say to yourself, “Oh what’s the use! I try hard. Then I give up and fail. After awhile, I try hard again only to repeat the tragic cycle. Not only can I not measure up to my punishing Ideal Self, but I feel I cannot measure up to my mate’s demands and those at work / school and church! I want to check out! I feel like tossing the towel in and running away or maybe hurting myself…”
Jesus has wonderful news for you! The only “you” that Jesus loves, died for, and delights in is the Real You! You know, the one who is imperfect, who stumbles and fumbles. The one who struggles and does not have his or her act together. The one who fails now and then. The one with the imperfect past. The one who is a few extra pounds over weight. The one who’s mate is critical towards them. The one who has doubts and insecurities.
Jesus wants to crucify your Ideal Self, rebuke the Devil and send Him fleeing!
Circle at least 3 of the following eternal truths that bring you hope and encouragement: (Note: These are all true at all times and in all places if you belong to Jesus.)
- You are God’s own daughter or son. John 1:12
- You are a fellow heir with Jesus. Romans 8:17
- In Jesus, you are a brand new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17
- You are right now a Saint! Ephesians 1:1
- You are Heaven’s citizen—not Earth’s. Philippians 3:20
- You are made righteous. You did not earn it. 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Jesus will never leave or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
- You are redeemed and forgiven forever! Colossians 1:14
- You are not really living! Jesus is living in and through you! Galatians 2:20
- You can never be condemned again! Never! Romans 8:1
- You are precious, honored, and always loved just the way you are. Isaiah 43:4-5
Be of good cheer. Your Lord Jesus loves you. He will comfort, provide for, and guide you. Zephaniah 3:17 captures beautifully your Heavenly Father’s endearing compassion for you, cradling you softly and safely in His arms:
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
If you choose to rest in what Jesus has decided about you, you must live by Faith. We recommend you memorize the following Faith Principle and then start applying it as you read and meditate on Scripture.
If you are God’s child, and He accepts you just the way you are, warts and all, then you need to cherish, affirm, uphold, and accept your marriage partner just the way he or she is, imperfections, insecurities, idiosyncrasies and all! After all, aren’t you to love your mate in the same way the Lord Jesus loves you?