When do you feel good about yourself? In this very moment in your day, where are you seeking to find your satisfaction? Is it getting all your to-do list’s item done? When the children have behaved for you during your visit to the store? When people ask for and value your opinion and input? When you are promoted? When you feel loved and cherished by your spouse?
I personally desire the approval of others. I want others to think well of me. And when they don’t, I get depressed, discouraged, and emotional. I crave peace in our home – no conflict, no fighting among the little ones, no disturbance to my schedule. How do I know this? By evaluating my response when things don’t go the way I plan. Does joy reign or does tears and discouragement? You can judge your idols by the responses of your heart.
What is the focus of all these “feel good” questions? It’s self-centered me.
When our eyes are on ourselves and our inner cravings for approval are found in our own doings, accomplishments, and successes, we have lost sight of the gospel. As wives and mothers, it is easy to get depressed and discouraged because we are setting out hope on our own accomplishments, and not on the truth of the gospel. Did my child yell at me? Then I have failed as a mother. Did I only get one thing done on my to-do list? Then I have failed as a homemaker.
Where should your eyes be? Upon that beautiful Savior who suffered and died for you. We must cling to the truth that his love is ours right now – in this very moment – fully, completely, and unalterably ours. His approval of you is not based upon your performance, your goodness, your success…it is all based upon His undying love for us.
We must remember that “God loves us so much that he willingly crushed His only Son so that we might be his and that this love isn’t based on our worthiness or performance. His loves does not fluctuate from day to day. It was settled the moment he set it upon you before the foundation of the world…If you neglect to focus on God’s love for you in Christ, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement – just one of many methods to help you “get your act together”. Although that may be worthy, it is not true Christianity.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick)
Jesus has granted us the ultimate Valentine, extending a “Be Mine” to each one of us, no matter our productivity for the day, or whether others approve of us or not.
Who are you? You’re his, he is yours, and you’ve been cleansed from sin. And that’s all the identity any of us need. (Elyse Fitzpatrick)
True transformation and freedom of our self-focused perspective can only come as we meditate and claim God’s love for us. When we cling to Him, lift our eyes off ourselves and simply have faith in that love, our thoughts, mindset, and feelings will be transformed. Let’s not loose sight of the gospel!
When you feel like a failure, remember that He paid the ultimate price so that you could be His daughter, His prize, His joy, and His forever. Rather than focusing on the “why this? why me?” questions, let’s ask the real question: why would God send His Son to die for me, his wretched enemy? (Rom. 5:8, 10); Why would he make him who knew no sin to be sin so that I might reap all the benefits of his righteousness? (2 Cor. 5:21); Why am I not hanging on a cross? The only answer to these questions is that God, who is rich in mercy, has loved us with his great love and showered us with his grace! (Eph. 2:2-6). This is our identity! (Elyse Fitzpatrick)
Take it home:
1. Meditate upon these gospel truths this week. Pray that God might transform your thinking to see your true value in Him. (John 3:16; Romans 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Hebrews 10:19-22; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Ephesians 1:3-8; Titus 3:4-5; 1 John 4:10)
2. Pick up a copy of Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Because He Loves Me and study together with your spouse or a friend who can help keep you accountable. I wholeheartedly recommend and challenge you to read it.