My avid readers and (a lot of) my friends know that I’m a Christian and it’s also a known fact that my faith is growing each passing day. And if you have read my entry on vulnerability, you know where I stand with it. It might have changed, might not have but I want to touch a very sensitive part of my life and maybe even yours. I’m currently in the process of trying to find out more of my true identity and part of it is checking whether or not the external environment have altered my true self. And an external factor that affects not only me but everyone is, “praise.”
It all started with simple questions…
Let’s start with a few questions. Who do you seek affirmation from? Does someone’s praise for you keep you moving forward? Are compliments from people your main source of encouragement? How are you with attention? Do you pretend you don’t like attention but actually do? Or are you just awkward about it?
The questions above are some questions my good friend and I have been asking myself. She would check my heart when it seems like it’s not seeking for the right things and I would do the same by myself during various parts of the day when my thoughts are wandering off to dangerous waters. I have a problem with focusing; it was never my strong point.
And the searching began…
I realized that I was seeking so much affirmation from people, wanting and craving for their praises and not being fully content being His child and receiving attention from Him.
What was worse, I became more scared of people whenever I sought the praise of men. I was giving them the power over me, to manipulate my actions and my thoughts. The worst – I was not being myself.
I was led by the Holy Spirit to read Luke 12. I didn’t understand WHY at first. Honestly, I doubted. I mean, I couldn’t find a valid reason. And this was definitely one of the all-the-time God was right and I was wrong moments. Why is it so hard for us to just listen to the Holy Spirit? *roll eyes
If my heart is at a place where its flowers cannot bloom, then it’s time for me to leave that place.
No, not the “time to pack up and leave,” but rather, “drop everything, surrender and leave”.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. – Luke 12:32-34
These verses spoke to me a lot about “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The Holy Spirit told me that the place where my heart is at (be it material possessions or not) is very very very important and I should check my heart. If it is not in the right place, it would be wise to drop everything and leave. If you decide to pack something along with you on your journey, then it’s not surrendering. You will never know when that thing that you packed will become your main desire once more and will cause you to lose sight of what is most important. “A treasure in Heaven that will never fail,” tells us that we don’t need to worry about putting down the worldly or fleshly desires when we can have the most precious and eternal treasure that is in Heaven.
When God is teaching you to be fearless, He literally teaches you to be fearless until it’s only Him you fear, trust and obey.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” – Luke 12:11-12
Public speaking was something I loved and was scared of at the same time. It wasn’t about receiving praise from other people. I enjoyed making speeches and scripts, putting stuff in my head on what I should talk about and even enjoyed the research behind a certain topic. Speech class was one of my favorite classes during college and I still remember how I did during the first speech I gave. Speaking in public in the Korean language is a different story. I will without a split second say no or run away from it as far away as possible.
So I was in fear yet filled with excitement when I was asked to present in front of our CEO and other vice presidents or directors. Why excited? Like I said, not about praise. Rather, because I knew I was going to be challenging myself and it will help me grow. But as the day started approaching, I was being fearful. Oh so, fearful. I wrote a script but it was weird and it wasn’t me. The content itself felt forced. When one of our team’s assistant managers took a look, he suggested that I put into bullet points what I want to discuss instead of reading a whole script. I’m like, “Whut?”
Long story, short – I did end up following his advice and prayed and learned that the Holy Spirit will guide me in what to say no matter who the audience is and what I am going to speak about. But, I ended up not presenting it and I could relax a bit more.
You, yes you! You are enough, beautiful, brave, courageous, capable, blessed and worth it. Why? Because we are made in God’s image. Because Jesus died for us. And because the Holy Spirit resides in us and always helps us.
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” – Luke 12:27
Lastly, I’m slowly coming to a complete peace with myself on how I look. It’s not about looking fat or thin. I shouldn’t be gaining weight anyway because it will cause me some severe health problems. Nor was it about receiving praise for what I was wearing. I hated everything other people thought was cute. A good example is the way my cheeks would be all round and crumpled whenever I smile big or laugh. Or how my body looked too wide all the time, and how all my body fat always decides to store their selves in the middle (core). As well as how I hated looking at my legs sideways because IN MY EYES, the thighs were just too thick.
We need to believe those facts for ourselves more than other people…
Before you react and keep telling me or other people “You’re beautiful. What are you saying?” Blah blah blah. (Sometimes, we can tell if they are empty praises.) You already know that that person needs to not only know but BELIEVE that fact themselves. Unless that happens, whatever you say or tell will only have a temporary effect on them if there will be any. As for me, I’m slowly accepting and believing my looks, talents and capabilities.
After all, the Bible tells us that we were made in God’s image. If you don’t believe that, then I don’t know what else to believe when that’s the only truth I know. God’s truth.
Don’t get me wrong. Complements and encouragements (not really praise) are very important in community and relationships. What I am saying is, don’t try to be so hard on people who don’t believe what you say. Not everyone is confident with their whole entire self. I know I wasn’t. I would run away from people who would give me complements. Funny, right?
I love roses. They possess a strong yet delicate beauty that entices me. But remember, we are more beautiful that any flower in the whole world. Yes, we are.
“A gem from therapy: it’s good to be mindful of how others see you but to keep in mind that it’s information, not definition,” – Morgan Jerkins
Until next time, keep lovin’ and keep walkin’. 😉