Happiness That Comes from Liking Yourself: Living Beyond Self-condemnation


Snowflake Bently

"My kids could never be like your kids," a young mom said to me at a recent conference.

My answer was, "I hope not--they were made to live fully into the extraordinary design that God gave them."

God did not give me children who fit into cultural boxes. Two are introverts, two extraverts, all with differing personalities, preferences, strengths, weaknesses--and yet all so very precious to me. Why is it we want to our children to conform to the cultural expectations of others and why would we compare ourselves to others, when God created us to be different than every other person ever made?

Condemnation must always arise from comparing ourselves to others. We can never live up exactly to the expectations of others because we were made to please only one--our heavenly Father. And we please Him by resting in His love, living in the freedom to be who He made us to be.

There is great freedom and happiness that comes from liking ourselves, accepting ourselves as we are and living in the grace we were created to experience every moment of life. When we compare ourselves to others we will either judge ourselves to be superior and become pharisees in our hearts or we will find ourselves falling short of their standards and live in condemnation.

So often, I meet precious ones who feel that they are a failure or somehow inadequate in their roles as believers, as mothers, as wives, as human beings. All of us fail and cannot be perfect no matter how we try. Remember God says in Psalm 103, he is mindful that we are but dust. He understands our limitations--and that is why He came to redeem our lives.

However, if we live fully into the fact that He loves us unconditionally, that nothing can ever separate us from His love, (Romans 8:31-32), that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1), then we can live into the freedom of who we are, as we are, and breathe grace and peace every moment of our lives. We are in process, little by little, given a whole life in which to grow into the likeness of Jesus, bit by bit.

Galatians tells us, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."

We are told not to live by someone else's false standard for who we should be because to compare brings a yoke of slavery.

Last year, searching through piles of books amidst Christmas music and crowds, I was seeking a book worthy to add to the library of my children's homes and apartments. Each year, I have tried to find a book that would uniquely express something of my heart that they could keep in the form of  message found in a book.

A lovely, limited print book of the photography of snowflakes captured my attention. Each photo displayed elegance of design, perfectly crafted and equal sides, shapes, contours, delicate twirls and corners. Yet, each flake was absolutely unique, extra-ordinary from every other flake. As I began to read about these lovely designs, I found that no two are alike--and that no scientist has ever been able to find out how to imitate the creation of snowflakes.

Who could compare the elegance of a snowflake and say one is superior to another? Or one was better when all are beautiful

What a reflection of an attribute of God's artistry in creation. Diversity is at the core of all that He creates--no two alike, all their own magnificent song, none to be compared because of the intrinsic beauty in each one.

As I pondered this over the weeks ahead when we peered through all the pages of the books I bought each one as a Christmas present to place on their shelves, I thought anew about how this truth of God's design applied to us as humans--no two alike, no one that we are expected to be like--God sees each of us as uniquely beautiful.

Great freedom comes from accepting ourselves as we are--all of our unique quirks, preferences, personality--loudness or quietness, large or small, whatever defines us as we are.

When we accept the fact that God made us uniquely, separate from any human that will ever be born, we understand that He does not fit us into a box where we must conform to the expectations of others. Instead we are quite free to be ourselves as we seek to know and understand His love, His righteousness and wisdom that He will reflect through our unique personalities.

Elegant and complex by design, each of us has a unique possibility of reflecting God's amazing creativity if we live and breathe His freedom and grace into the oxygen of our hearts every day.

Our children will be free to develop at their own rate, to become who they were made to be, to blossom as a unique picture of God's reflection through them only if we accept the unique design God has given them.

Join me today as I talk about why we often live in self-condemnation--and how to live beyond the boundaries of other's expectations and into the freedom of being ourselves in motherhood--grow little by little, choose joy daily, live in grace moment by moment.

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Is your home a place where your children are encouraged to be themselves? Accepted with the personality that God gave them?

Is your home a place where people are affirmed and loved with their stories and baggage as they are because the love of Christ is the standard for relationships?

Are you a conductor of the magnificent love of God through you so that all who come inside the walls of your home may encounter His boundless affection for us His children, and live to learn about His redemption through all the seasons of life?

Is your home a place where "I'm sorry. Forgive me?" and "I love you so much just as you are, you are a blessing to me," is spoken often because we have grown into a place of understanding His mercy and grace for us?

Of course all of these places of accepting His grace and freedom is a journey from our own feelings of inadequacy to the rest that comes from knowing He desires us to know His compassion and grow in knowledge of His grace little by little every day.

Today, live forward into the elegance of His design of you. Breathe in His unconditional love. Believe that who you are as you are is precious. Celebrate this freedom in your home every day.

Be free inside your walls at home to be yourself, and to relax in His acceptance of you as you grow from your own toddlerhood of life, toward maturity in Christ, with His hand of blessing leading you and blessing you.

Breathe grace into your home today--find the Lifegiving Home HERE.