A friend writes. (Excellent! I have something that I’d love to see a blog on. Do you ever notice how we as (extremely, yet equally, imperfect beings) tend to have MUCH higher expectations of ourselves than we do others? We “excuse” others because we know that “nobody’s perfect”, yet the same behavior in ourselves is absolutely inexcusable. Why is that? Why do we do that? Why are we so much harder on ourselves than we ever would be on others? I’d love your thoughts on that.)
My thoughts? OK here goes. We all hate grace. The brain is so designed (by the Designer) that grace is built into our neurotransmitters. Follow the owner’s manual and you will never burn out or feel stress beyond what you can bear. He promised. The list of how we waste our neurotransmitters corresponds exactly to the list of what we are driven to, if we forget grace thus trying to maintain or earn our worth security or strength.
A. We vex our spirit, ponder endlessly, feel tense over things we can do nothing about, because we resent our weak estate. We are not in control of the reality of life as is comes to us; then we can choose to rebel and respond without God or we can get out of God’s way and let Him grab the situation through our yielded body members; then the results are in God’s hands. Not much control there. Just enough choice to bolster accountability and free will, but not enough that we are tempted to take credit. The only thing we did was to get out of God’s way and let him work.
B. We are way to surprised when we mess up, because we really think that God got a pretty good deal in us; that we were already a cut above. “I can’t believe that I did that!” This will wear you out by getting you to take on responsibilities without God and beating on yourself after the inevitable, frequent messups. OR.
C. We use negatives to motivate. This is called shame based motivation. We compare ourselves with how well we did, we compare with the unrealistic fantasy of how well we expected ourselves to be doing by now, we threaten ourselves with the dire future our current messed up approach is likely to reap,we compare ourselves with the false front others show us of their accomplishments; we compare with pointless accomplishment of others such as material possessions,fame, power, or worldly praise; we use rules to judge ourselves that are more severe than we would apply to others in the same situation.
All this because we don’t want to accept that our worth doesn’t come from us but from God’s love PERIOD. We would rather earn our self-contempt rather that accept infinite worth from God. Remember your high school math. Infinity plus 100,000 merit points is still just infinite ; infinity minus 100,000 demerits is still infinity. As the Father did not spare his own son but freely gave him up for you, how will he not, with him, also give you all things. This says that your worth is infinite and can not be increased our diminished by your behavior.
The worldly counselors know that shame based motivation does not work . Only those thoughts that lead to answering the question “What does God want me to DO right now?” will not lead to burnout. If I see that I have messed up, I can go to God ask for help and grow. If I conclude that I am a piece of dirt what can I do about it? So worldly counselors affirm that you are innately worthwhile and should believe in yourself and what the mind of man can conceive the will of man can achieve. This is nonsense but close enough to the truth to be seductive. The truth ? IN ME DWELLS NO GOOD THING WITHOUT HIM I CAN DO NOTHING : IN HIM I HAVE INFINITE WORTH WITH HIM I CAN DO ALL THINGS.
D. We refuse to ask for help or beat ourselves up if we have to.
E. We moan and groan and make mountains out of mole hills.
F We try to balance our guilt with blame and excuses which just weighs us down.
G. We fuss about a problem and immediately yell “but, but” to any suggested way to deal with it.
H. We stuff our feelings.
I. We procrastinate and try to ignore problems, which takes energy to suppress.
So the struggle with self contempt is just a part of the bigger mess that is Us. Next blog I will discuss how such weak messed up people with our delusional brains can actually progress.