Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Don't be like these cats

My mother taught me that if you "can't say anything nice then say nothing at all". She had a lot of adages she lived by. Another was "It's not a mistake if you can cover it up" in reference to my imperfections. She said this often, "If tomorrow doesn't come, we don't have to worry about it".  I immediately worried if a tomorrow would come.

She had many sayings she lived by.  I have to believe those phrases were picked up along the way as she just did life as a mom. Isn't that how we all learn? Along the way as we make attempts, mistakes, tries?

Our lives are like layers, living one day at a time, walking to the beat of a heavenly drum.

You've heard that "oil and water don't mix." I remember feeling like a misfit most days in my family, so many misunderstood conversations. I suppose that's typical in all families to feel like a "square peg in a round hole". I was different, odd, a little left out and always picked on. I guess you could call me the "runt of the litter." I never measured up. So what happens to us that makes us want or feel the need to compare and criticize with those around us? Do we learn this ourselves, from our parents, our employers or do we just pick it up through osmosis from life as we "learn the ropes"?

As we get older we believe what our past has said about us or how our past has shaped our thoughts. Whatever the reason for our failures, either because of someone else or by our own bad choices in life, the hurt is buried.  I had to dig deep to stop this behavior in me, of letting my past pursue me because it's not in my best interest to be criticized and compared.  It led me to a place of low self-esteem.

Why do we do this? We seek perfectionism but it's in the wrong places. We must consider who we are looking to for our source of approval.

God doesn't compare or criticize His children. He is the One who holds the holy yardstick.

When are we ever going to learn that words can encourage or become life-long weapons against us? They can give life or speak death. They can inspire and aspire. Words are powerful. They can fill us or deflate.  Even the words we choose to say to ourselves.  Words can crush and rush the worst of humanity in a few thoughtless and most certainly careless conversations.

God placed us in the lives of others to build them up, not tear them down or try to dominate over each other. He certainly never intended for His love to be twisted in such a way that we hurt our own brothers and sisters in Christ and leave them for dead in the pew.

One thing to remember...hurt people hurt people. So how do you stop negativity from becoming a cancer in your life?
I will never find the perfect approval that my soul craves from an imperfect source. My self-esteem was bitten by the "disease to please". (Lysa TerKeurst)  If it weren't for praying this verse over my life I would still be stuck there.  ..."Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Ps. 139:23-24

Has your perfectionism caused you to put on the facade of cattiness, gossiping, whining, sarcasm, martyrdom, cynicism, snide remarks, realism or feeling left wounded? Isn't it awful that the pursuit of perfection gets us to a place that uses our morphed imperfections for such word ugliness?  

"Unfortunately, there are people who criticize, chastise and ridicule others for their work, efforts and accomplishments.  They are like cats ready to pounce.  Their own insecurities are their trigger."  Bryan Hutchinson.  (Shared from his eBook "Good Enough:Stop Seeking Perfection and Approval")

Don't be like these cats.  Perfectionism only breeds discontentment and births an insatiable hunger for man's approval.  

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great." ~ Mark Twain.

God didn't create us to be perfect. There was only Jesus for that.  God wants us to be holy, set apart for Him.   Our treatment of others and of ourselves has to change to conform to God's pattern of holiness.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of it's Creator." Colossians 3:2, 5, 8 - 10

I love the way the writer encourages us to clean up our lips. This is God telling us that any comparison, criticism, or careless words towards ourselves or others said out of malice, jealousy, anger, pride, false humility or any other reason except for pure love, is wrong.

Maybe you have been searching for validation, approval, and acceptance. You won't find it in where you have been looking. Nor will you hear it from the life adages you grew up with. You will only find it in the Perfect Source, our Creator, who encourages us to live holy lives.

Everything God says to us is His love shown to us.

Look for the love that is spoken over you in God's word. Remind yourself to stop this negative behavior. When you compare or criticize you are discounting the work that God is doing in you.  That's not love...that's idol noise.  God sings over us with His mercy.

Where have you been looking for approval?
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