Luke 12:7 - Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Do you ever feel like people around you are trying to beat you down into submission either physically or emotionally? Are they so set in their ways and feel justified in their actions that they strike out at you every chance they can get? This is no way to live, either for the one being beaten or the one taking their pain out on someone else. You’re worth so much more than that. You can be strong and let yourself out of the cage that others have pushed you into. Be your own person. But also realize that you sometimes need someone to point you in the right direction without hurting you. They are like the shepherds in our lives. A shepherd never beats his sheep into submission. He taps them on the side to move them in the direction they need to go, or they raise their staff in the air as the shepherd himself guides the sheep to greener pastures. Jesus is our great Shepherd. He will gently lead us and he can steer us away from those who believe beating someone down is the only way to get them to do what they want.
Isaiah 58:11 – The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
My mom used to tell me to dress up each day even if you’re just staying home. The clothes I used to wear for every day were a bit worn or the shirt and pants didn’t match. Why save the good clothes? They aren’t impressing anyone by hanging in your closet. Not that I’m looking to impress anyone with my choice in clothing, but what we wear, even if it’s just at home will lift our spirits and help us think more of ourselves. So don’t save that pretty outfit just to go out in. Put it on and feel the difference. Compare it to a field of flowers that are weeds. Even though they don’t really serve any use, they provide beauty in undiscovered places. God can provide for us clothing that outshines the flowers in the field. I like that thought, “I’m a flower in God’s garden of possibilities and beauty.” No, you’re not a weed, but you are beautiful to God whether it’s a day to shine out in the world, or just to shine for yourself at home. He sees the inside and how dressing up for the day can cause your beauty to shine in unexpected places.
Psalm 17:8 - Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
If you don’t like who you are here’s something that may help: Try to paint a picture in your mind of the person you would like to be. Do you feel weak? Perhaps you can paint some strength onto your canvas. Do you feel like a failure? Perhaps you can paint some reminders of when you’ve succeeded. Do you feel anxious all of the time? Perhaps you can paint some peace onto your canvas. Go gently. Don’t expect change overnight. Take one step and then the next. When you put your foot in the right direction day after day, you will eventually figure out, with God’s help, the picture of how he sees you. Pick up his paintbrush and see light begin to dawn on the canvas in your mind and begin to do so out in the world. It can change the way you see yourself thus helping you become the person you’d like to be.
Revelation 2:19 - I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
There’s a small stirring in my heart. Just a small one. Can you see it? It’s tucked under the ground waiting to be watered by showers of faith. Then it grows and grows until it’s shouting, “Don’t give up!” It’s like God is saying, “I’ve got this. All you have to do is follow me and I’ll help you have the strength to go on.” It’s not easy to continue down a course of action. But you won’t get anywhere if you decide you just don’t want to do life anymore. It’s easier to lay down and let the world walk over us. After all, do they really notice us anyway? Maybe they don’t, but God does. Let him be the one to speak life into your heart. Let him be the one to take you by his hand and lead you forward. Then, after you’ve followed him for a while, he will bring you to someone else who needs to hear, “Don’t give up!” Think about those around you. Is there someone who needs a doss of courage? I bet there is. And as you help lift the burden off another’s back, you may just find your burden of wanting to quit fell away.
Matthew 10:30-31 - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
You’d like to give your opinion on a matter and tell others what you want to do, but it’s like as if you’ve shrunk to the size of a peanut and nobody is paying attention to you. Sometimes it feels like they stomp on the peanut and sweep the crumbs out the door. Why is it that you always have to give up what you want and concede to everyone else’s wishes? Is it wrong to express what you want? Should you push your will onto everyone else’s to get your way? Is there a better way to communicate your desires? God created you to be unique. No one else has your mindset or talents to give to the world. So, you don’t have to be afraid of expressing what you want and receiving a “no” answer. Nor do you have to push your will onto someone else lowering their self worth. If you gradually increase expressing your desires, it may be that others will not only hear your take on the matter, but they may run with it.
Philemon 1:11 - Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
Having too much to do is a normal part of life and isn’t a big deal. But for the person who deals every day with a chronic health condition, it can make us not able to complete even the smallest of tasks. You try to do something simple, but your body is too weak to complete it. You get angry, and feel like a failure. You feel weak and feeble. All you can think about is how you let everyone down. But even if you have let people down, it’s not everyone. There are those in your life that understand, at least in part, what you’re going through. They are the ones who see you at your worst, but also at your best. Cut other people a break and stop yourself from feeling like you are useless and will never be any good to someone else. The truth is you may not see the people who are in your life that feel proud to be a part of your life because they see you not giving up. God is proud of you, too!
Philippians 3:12 - Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Do you compare yourself to others? Does it feel like you always miss that perfect shot? Stop using comparisons. You may only see things that others do better than you do. But did you know that there is always something that you can do as well or even better than someone else. The only one you should be comparing yourself to is the God who loves you just the way you are. Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others and feel like you never measure up? Let’s talk about it.
Romans 13:7 - Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Respect. It can be hard to come by. It’s something that has to be earned. This applies readily to our relationships with others. However, how do you earn respect for yourself? Many times we think and treat ourselves like as if we are less of a person because of where our life is at. What we have to remember is that if we don’t respect ourselves how can we expect anyone else to? Do you have trouble respecting yourself? I’d love to hear from you.
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Sometimes, those of us who suffer from chronic pain and illness can feel like we have nothing to give. And if we see ourselves that way maybe the world does too. But we can show the world we have a lot to give no matter what our lives looks like. Be a caring and thoughtful person. Be the one person that listens, really listens. Stop criticizing others and encourage them instead. See yourself as alive and fun to be around instead of closed in. It won’t be easy, but make the effort anyway. Believe in yourself and in who God created you to be. Do you struggle with feeling like you have nothing to give?
2 Corinthians 10:18 - For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Feeling like you have worth and value can be a lifetime struggle. You start out your day feeling pretty good about yourself, but then a detour hits and you spend the day stuck in traffic running around rabbit holes instead. Your boss comes to you asking where the report was that he asked you for in the morning and you don’t have an answer. If he’s a supportive boss he may take the time to ask what happened. But he’s on a deadline, too. So he proceeds to belittle you and say that if he can’t trust you to meet your deadlines he can always find a replacement. Down goes your feelings of worth and value. But all is not lost, my friend. If you remember who you are in Christ and how much he loves you then whether you are able to keep your job or lose it, you know God is the one who commends your efforts regardless of the outcome. Do you struggle not to let other people diminish how you feel about yourself?
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.