Self Loathing Emergency Kit

Self Loathing Emergency Kit:
1) Are you believing the lie that your success is directly proportionate to the amount of effort you put into it?
It is not. The world may not recognize the achievements you made in even attempting what you did. But you can. Take some time and be proud of yourself for your effort.

2) Are you believing the lie that you deserve more?
You don’t. Every opportunity is a gift from God. Take some time and list your blessings.

3) Are you believing the lie that your self worth is dependent on how much you physically achieve?
Remove that thought.
Your value is eternally and exponentially greater than you or I can even imagine, it is granted and judged by The Lord, who has prized you highly enough to die for. As bad as you may esteem yourself, you do not have the authority to strip away that value. Practice seeing yourself as Christ does you.

4) Do you believe that you’re a piece of poop đź’© who can’t or won’t ever do anything good because of some internal flaw?
Also untrue. Everyone grows at their own pace, in a spiritual journey that is determined by God and will be brought to completion. (Phil. 1:6)

5) Do you believe any other lie, in short, that places control of your life in your hands, and not the Father’s? Meditate on growing closer to Him and not inflating or deflating yourself.

Lazy

I want to speak out on something. I’ve decided I no longer believe in lazy people. There are only people who are meeting their goals, and people who haven’t started yet. I woke up this morning and said “I’m a lazy writer. I’m depressed. I’m sick. I’m addicted to Facebook.” I am tired of wonderful people being sabotaged by themselves, when you should be your own biggest champion.

No. Everyone is valuable. I am no longer accepting the lie that for some reason you are not entitled to your personal happiness–and thus, I might not be as well. Quit telling me you’re out of the game.

Life is like a gym, and you’re the kid that can’t lift the 5 lb. bar. The first day you go in, everyone’s going to laugh at you. But if you go in every day, you’ll move up to the 10, the 15, and the 20, and you’ll still be working the gym when everyone else stopped showing up.

Everyone has different challenges. And yeah, it’s going to be hard. But it’s going to be a lot harder if you define yourself by those challenges, and that’s not how Jesus sees you either. Every day and every second can be a new beginning. I am no longer accepting negativity in my life.

My Easter

For the last 3 1/2 months, I have been living as if there were no redemption.

This entire weekend, the only thoughts I’ve had about Easter were how “ill-prepared” I was spiritually to face it.
Despite the entire religious observance being about grace, I have felt guilt at not spending enough time meditating and being “Christian enough” to fully appreciate it. I have had only a dull apathy.

This morning, I overslept and my inaction caused me to miss the celebration at my home church.

I have been praying that on Easter, God would show up, and wreck my life, and I think it is in that space of inability to pave the way for my own salvation that God works most.

When we judge ourselves, or when we are in a time in life where we only seem to encounter judgment, punishment, and no mercy–in other words, when we are in the Wilderness, it is easy to forget that the reason we continue living through it at all is the hope of our reward in heaven.

We are a fallen people, and though our world is being redeemed, it is full of self-inflicted darkness.
But the promise of Easter is that we have the power to overcome sin through the penalty having been transacted on the cross.

Because of that truth, nothing else in our lives matters but the love we show to each other, and our overflowing worship to God. The one is fueled by the other. Our enemies on earth are the very same people that Jesus died for, and they are the ones we must love the most relentlessly.

I hope wherever you are, you have had a blessed Easter.

Confessions of an Egomaniac

April 18, 2016, Originally Published in Covenant College’s Newspaper- “The Bagpipe”

 

Two years ago, I wrote my first article for the Bagpipe in the Opinions section about my first Kilter experience. A month later, when I followed that up with a review of Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz album, Emmett Gienapp told me that the whole staff room cheered.

Since then, much of my college experience could be summarized as a cycle of trying to be remembered. I am part of a hall community that thrives on public stunts, with which I’ve taken every opportunity to use my talents in writing and theatre to create an image and boost it. My Facebook page has oft been filled with ironic meta-statements on the nature of connection and bombastic pictures featuring my photogenic personality. During this time I’ve also acquired more nicknames than could reasonably be counted.

When offstage, I sometimes try to keep a low profile and build an air of mystique, only speaking when necessary. The idea is that this way, when an issue comes up that I may want to change, I can reply with an out-of-the-box comment and people might listen. Although to be fair, I don’t know how well I’ve pulled this last strategy off. I tend to talk a lot when I get excited.

What I am saying is that I’ve attempted analysis on how I’m being perceived by strangers and adjusted my life accordingly. Some of this comes from childhood insecurities I’ve struggled against my whole life. Related to this is a well-intentioned, but fear-driven desire to make my best friends in college, and make memories I can take into my adult life.

But despite the many photos, stunts, and memories documented in my file, when I look back at my time in college, I will no doubt see it as a very troubled time in my life. More than that, living my life in a “public image cycle,” always waiting for the next time I can get that high from being the center of attention, has affected my ability to use my gifts responsibly.

The trap comes when you are focused on earning the love of others—which really just stems from a love of self—at the expense of glorifying God. The truth is, one cannot know how they are being perceived, and even if they could, it should not influence their convictions to speak boldly or to love others through ministry, when those convictions are being prompted in your heart by God.

There have been many times when I’ve wondered, because of my insecurities and rapt attention on some constructed, imaginary persona, whether I should be allowed to give opinions, perform, or otherwise live my life in freedom of expression. Is it narcissistic to consider whether you’re showing off too much? Furthermore, is it worth risking being called a narcissist if you think the things you want to do would glorify God and serve your community?     What is the limit on taking initiative? On stepping out in roles of leadership?

I write this article not because I have the answers to these questions, but because I have an opinion on them. More importantly, I want to speak to people who, like me, may also have opinions, but are too worried about what others will think to speak into their community’s discourse with them.

Don’t spend your time in college, or your life, worried about your legacy. It will never be enough, and it will cripple you in places you actually care about.

Don’t spend your life concerned about what others are thinking. You will be disappointed.

When God calls you to do something, you should do it, even if it means more responsibility and the chance that you’ll be in the public eye.

Be yourself. But remember to try, at least imperfectly, to keep your bigheadedness in check. Matt. 5:3 says, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And it seems to me that living life under that philosophy, with a healthy understanding of where your gifts and opportunities come from, will save you from a lot of problems that come with egocentrism.