He bit, he reared… he scared the living horse-hockey out of me. But my riding instructor, mind you, the one not atop the two tons of ornery horseflesh, told me I was fully capable of riding him. Thanks for the vote of confidence there, but tell that to the voices in my head screaming I was one spoke short of a round spur for ever going near Al…
There’s something I wish I knew long ago: view yourself through God’s eyes. It will change how you see yourself and shape the decisions made throughout life. I’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with the unending negative chatter in my head. The voices saying, “You can’t… you’re not good enough… how are you going to do…?” We have to step back, take a deep breath and ask ourselves, is that God talking? Would God ever say nasty things like that to us? No, he wouldn’t! We must raise His voice louder than the negative chatter.
God says: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.”– 2 Corinthians. 5:17 ; “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:4 ; and finally, “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” Thessalonians 5:5 We are new beings in Him. We are light bearing children of God himself that cannot be snuffed out. We belong to Him and Him alone.
Al, on the other hand, belonged to Al. That horse never changed. But I did.
In the next few weeks I’ll break down some situations when I limited myself because I wasn’t looking at myself through God’s eyes. When you don’t see yourself like He does, your self worth lacks as well as your self-confidence. Doing so impacts your life in ways you may not think it would.
Here’s one illustration: grades. Looking back, I realize my grades suffered because of how I felt about myself. I had B’s and C’s… a D here and there. I know now if I had better self-confidence I’d have done better in school. I was too busy being afraid of what teachers and other kids thought of me that it impeded my learning. I’d call it “performance anxiety on steroids.”
Back to Al. Horses can sense “performance anxiety on steroids.” It makes them ornery.
This confidence battle happened throughout my school years. I was in an agonizing, vicious cycle inside my head. I’d try to get really good grades so teachers and students would see me as “normal,” but time and again I’d bomb on the tests. So the teaches and other kids knew I wasn’t as good as they were. The grades spoke loud and clear. It was an emotional, living hell.
Don’t get me wrong, I got through school just fine and I went to college etc., but how I saw and felt about myself made a huge impact on what college I got into, where I wanted to go, and in what I wanted to major. I ended up going to Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ (now a University). In 1989 Centenary was a small college with 300 student residents. My class was the first co-ed class to ever graduate—a 54 to one female to male ratio. I didn’t want to go to a huge school far from home because I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. I thought I’d get swallowed up! My decision making process in all aspects of my life was base upon what the cold, unforgiving world thought of me and how I felt about myself. I didn’t try as hard as I could have because I was worried about failure. What would people think of me? They’d pity me.
Now on a side note: I’m so, so glad I went to Centenary because I met some of my closest and dearest friends there. Even when you limit yourself God, is there with you. He has a plan and He will help you change your perspective and thinking. Through that, you will change your performance. I ended up taking private lessons on Al while at college. That individualized attention helped to focus my perspective, much like powerlifting does for me now. Al was still going to be jerk, and those weights are still going to outweigh me, but when I changed how I saw, and now see, myself it calms the chatter in my head. I become the one in control.
So the lesson of the day is don’t limit yourself, and always view the reflection in the mirror through God’s eyes. If you don’t do these things you won’t reach your full potential.
Who knows? You might win the Nobel Peace prize for bringing the liberals and conservatives together.