I go to a very large women’s group (worship and study) every Wednesday morning at church. The best part is the singing, but I struggle quite a bit with the environment and crowd and whatnot. Somewhere deep within me, though, I yearn so desperately for fellowship. And so I go.
I’m in the Ezekial class this semester. When it comes to crazy-confusing books of the Bible, Ezekial is way, way up there, if not at the top. It’s a hot mess of literary styles, for one thing. I never know what’s literal, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. To be honest, I don’t alway sget a lot out of it.
But today was different. We had a different pastor teaching us (nothing a bit wrong with the usual teaching pastor; he’s fabulous too!). I don’t remember 99% of what went on… but one thing stuck.
“The purpose of the Christian life is to die to self.”
Not my will but Yours be done.
It’s not about me.
To God be the glory.
Die to self.
As I continue to digest that not-so-small concept, I struggle. I lived for so many years with no self-esteem, no sense of self, no self-respect. Hear me on this; that was not Godly either! If an artist creates a gorgeous piece, and you defile it, walk on it, and throw it in a dumpster, is that honoring the artist? No more is it honoring God then to hate yourself, to hurt yourself, to deny yourself an identity and individualism. I was dead to self, but it was not in a Godly way.
But in this new-found selfdom that I write about so much… is it right, either? To promote myself, to celebrate myself?
The answer is, it’s all in your head and your heart.
When I promote my message, it is with the mindset that I want to spread God’s love and Word to others in the autism community. There are different ways of doing this, and I choose to go about it in such a way so as to make people feel welcome rather than shout rules at them. I try to make it about relationships; love me, love my Father. And so, when I say things like, “I belong here, too,” and, “People with autism are people first,” what I mean without saying it in so many words is that, “God created me just as He created you; I am first and foremost a child of God, just like you are, no more or less, so please treat me as such.”
And when I promote celebrating oneself and self-confidence, I don’t mean, “You’re number one!” I mean, “Celebrate the way God created you to be,” and “Bring glory to God for what He has done through you.” It’s not about glorifying yourself, but rather, glorifying the one who gave you a self to begin with.
I believe that people, all people, from all countries and walks of life, from all backgrounds, every color, religion, neurology, and sexual orientation, are beautiful creations. We are people first, all of us, and we we have far more alike than we do standing between us. This doesn’t mean that I agree with every decision everyone has every made (far from it), but it’s not on me to judge you, and I’m not going to, I sure hope.
I never realized what a tough thing it is to be in the world but not of it…