“You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it… Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.”
C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Fransisco: Harper, 2001), 226.
In preparing the St Paul’s Men’s Challenge Conference talks, I came across this great thought well expressed, by a former teacher of mine, Keith Condie:
How we perceive ourselves profoundly shapes our behaviour. If you are unsure how to answer the question, ‘Who Am I?’, or if you have an unhelpful answer to that question, it will impact on your marriage. Some of the most selfish people I have met are those who have very low self-esteem; they are so caught up with themselves and what people think of them, they lack the freedom to love. But those who have a sober estimation of themselves can give to others from a position of inner strength.
Christians are loved and accepted by God. He is the safe haven for us. We are people of immense worth and value simply by virtue of being created in God’s image and being redeemed through the death of his Son. God the Father hasn’t just forgiven us, he’s welcomed us into his family as his beloved children and heirs.
You may know this, but do you know this? Is it a truth that shapes your life and self-perception? It’s not meant to swell our heads with pride and arrogance; its humbling because its only of his grace. We need to wholeheartedly take this truth on board. It sounds strange, but even low self-esteem is about pride. Beneath self-pity and feelings of failure and rejection lurks the desire to be somebody – to be recognized as a significant and worthwhile person. The research suggests that strong (ie. emotionally together) individuals create string marriages. When two people who understand who they are in Christ come together, that gives great strength to their marriage. The gospel of grace shapes our identity, so the more you grasp the truth of who you are in Christ, the better it will be for your relationship.