I don’t know that I’ve ever suffered from excessive self-satisfaction. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt self-satisfied at all. Unless I’m self-deceived, all I can remember feeling in that vein is self-criticism. My life, my work, my relationships, my faith, have never been good enough. Maybe I’m excessively perfectionistic, but it’s getting really old.
People have called me negative, but it’s mainly toward myself, though I can see how they’d perceive me that way, as I likely project that negativism toward them. Thing is, I have absolutely no excuse for feeling that way; my parents always supported anything I wanted to do, and believed that I could succeed at it. My friends have always respected my abilities and intelligence. Yet, somehow I’ve always believed my critics, rather than my friends.
To my frustration, I find accepting even my Savior’s love very difficult, though I believe in it to the depths of my soul. What I can’t believe—though it always stares me in the face—is my stubborn resistance to faith in his willingness to answer my prayer for victory over these things. All others‘ answered prayers seem perfectly natural, but my answered prayers amaze me.
Yes, I know this is perfectly stupid. A few years ago, God even gave me a dream to convince me of his love. In it, I met a young man for whom I felt a love on the order of what I feel for my own children. When I discovered he followed a false religion, a dreadful concern for his eternal destiny overwhelmed me.
Then I awoke wondering what it was all about, puzzling over it for some time, until I realized God had shown me just a hint of his incomprehensible love for unworthy me. His Word tells me that he is love(1 John 4), and in some miraculous way, he loves each person individually, as though they were the only one in the world. With that knowledge, I grieve for every unrepentant sinner who, even after they realize their sinfulness, refuse God’s grace. How that must hurt my heavenly Father, yet it never turns aside his love.
So, that wonderful knowledge fixed my cruddy self-image. Right?
Wrong! I still struggle with the fundamental belief that I can’t do anything right, that I’m never good enough, that I disappoint everyone, even God. But praise God! All that doesn’t matter. His grace is sufficient—no—it is overwhelmingly, abundantly, over the top more than sufficient.
As God so loves me, he certainly loves you too. As he saved me, he can certainly save you too.