What Do You Despise About Yourself?
What do you despise about yourself? For some people, it’s a character trait: procrastination, need for approval from others, perfectionism. For some people, it’s a physical trait: shapeless body, bad skin, chronic illness. For some people, it’s a moral struggle: addiction, lack of discipline, judgmentalism.
I think it’s the rare person who does not despise something about herself. In addition to this being a human trait sent from Satan, our society is pretty critical and judgmental itself, so we unconsciously absorb this spirit of criticism and often turn it on ourselves.
I was actually startled to read this statement from Sarah Young in Jesus Calling: “Do not despise this weakness in yourself since I am using it to draw you closer to me.” She was referring to a character weakness that’s a universal human struggle.
I know from what Paul says in I Corinthians 12 that a weakness can be a conduit to God’s grace: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, that Christ’s power may rest on me.” v. 12 But I had never thought to take the “despising” out of it. It’s natural for us to despise anything that we struggle against. We think about it obsessively. We fight it. We condemn ourselves for it. We rail against God about it. But all those things make IT, the thing we despise, a focus in our lives. And that’s where it becomes a bigger problem. Because anything that takes our focus off Jesus, even trying to overcome sin, is misguided. We can’t overcome sin by focusing on it. And if we focus on our character weakness or physical flaws, they become way more of who we are than God wants them to be.
So I am trying to reframe my weaknesses as reminders to focus on God, not reasons to beat up on myself. After all, Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”