Daily Devotions

The Enemy Within

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Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. (Hebrews 10:35)

 

One hears a cry for “Kindness” and I think, “oh please, can we be more shallow?” But then I read Gustavo Razzetti’s article, “How to Be Kind to Yourself: Stop Chasing Self-Confidence.” Rather than being dishonestly kind, Razzetti calls us to genuine self-kindness which is challenging. If we treat ourselves cruelly, we will not know how to treat others. He quotes Londro Rinzler, “Kindness is not just about how you treat others; it’s rooted in how you treat yourself.”

 

When one suffers under the burden of constant self-criticism, motivation suffers, and self-control is reduced. Bad decisions occur which leads to more self-criticism, which leads to more bad decisions. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle. Razzetti quotes Kristin Neff, “When you’re in the trenches, do you want an enemy or an ally?” Each of us has moments in the trenches, and those of us who are regularly self-critical are in those trenches with an enemy. That enemy is the worst part of ourselves.

 

According to Razzetti, the only way to make ourselves an ally is to “Reframe extreme self-criticism.” Judgmental words we say about ourselves are often exaggerations. Thinking through the criticism helps us realize we are being harder on ourselves then we would be on others. “Find a way to observe yourself through a kinder lens.” You would never hang out with someone who talked to you the way you talk to yourself. When you view yourself and talk to yourself in a kinder way, you become your own best ally.

 

Finally, Razzetti says that the more we show compassion to others, the more we begin to feel better about ourselves. Caring for others reminds us of the kindness that is within you. Today, reflect on whether you are your own best ally, or the enemy within. You are no better than anyone else, but that means you are also no worse than anyone else. Treat yourself with kindness, because you are worthy.

Insecure No More!

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For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

 

We all feel insecure now and then. It doesn’t mean we suffer a mental illness or are somehow emotionally immature. The challenge is found in what we do with those feelings of insecurity. Do we wallow in them and let them run our lives, or are we able to rise above them? Whether or not we are able to rise above our insecurities will determine if we are able to retain healthy relationships, fulfill our occupational goals, raise productive children, have a strong spiritual life, or just about any other hope and dream in our lives.

 

Ashley Shannon, in her article, “5 Things Insecure People Do,” addresses the issue directly. She says, “1. Insecure People Don’t Trust Their Partners,” which leaves insecure people unable to fully commit to any relationship. “2. Insecure People Compare Themselves to Others.” Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media will make even the most confident person insecure. Why? Because social media is designed to express the best parts of our lives. No one posts pictures of her/his failures. It gives the impression that everyone else has the perfect life. They don’t! No matter who they are. Comparing oneself to others is warped because we are comparing ourselves to the person, we think they are. We only see their best and we only reflect our worst.

 

Shannon’s #3 is, “Insecure People Assume the Worst.” I met with a couple once for premarital counseling and she kept talking about what she would do if the marriage didn’t work out. It was devastating. My mother taught a poor philosophy of life in one regard. She would often say, “Expect the worst, then you will never be disappointed.” That is not a good outlook. Making decisions based on hope and divine trust leads to far more positive outcomes. It is a fact, cancer patients with a positive outlook, often live longer.

 

“4. Insecure People Lie,” is a way of making yourself feel better or appear better. It produces the opposite. Finally, Shannon’s #5 is, “Insecure People Take Offense Easily.” They look for others to hurt them or for any perceived slight. They end up blaming others for any negativity in their lives, rather than taking responsibility for their own lives. Today, reflect on Shannon’s “five things insecure people do,” and reflect on when you’ve fallen into their traps. Then, pray for God to help you realize that God is our security and that should be enough to bring us the confidence to face life, with all its challenges and joys.

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