“I’m just a stay-at-home mom.”
“I’m only a devotional writer.”
“I’m just learning how to ___________.”
How many times have I heard people describe themselves in apologetic terms such as these? Too many! Sadly, I’ve done the same thing. In fact, those three examples are my own quotes.
Why do we do this? Because we’ve listened to negative voices around us rather than embracing the truth about who we are in Christ Jesus.
The Israelites did the same thing. Day after day—for forty days—Goliath taunted them: “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul” (1 Samuel 17:8). His words influenced the Israelites’ self-perception and eroded their courage. Their lowly view of themselves led to defeat. “When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken…As soon as the Israelite army saw him [Goliath], they began to run away in fright” (1 Samuel 17:24).
But then David showed up and brought a fresh perspective to the scene: “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
David turned things around. He didn’t see the Israelites are mere servants of Saul. He viewed them as soldiers fighting in the army of the living God. And he regarded the giant as only a pagan foreigner, not as a mighty intimidator capable of mass destruction. His perception of Goliath removed the fear factor of facing him in battle.
How did David view himself? His older brother accused him of being proud and deceitful, and Saul said he was “only a boy” incapable of fighting Goliath, but David refused to let others’ opinions determine his self-perception. Instead, he recalled the victories he experienced through God’s help in the past, and he saw himself as a conqueror on the verge of yet another conquest. His view of himself influenced his behavior, and he accomplished a historical victory that day.
I remember how empowered I felt when I stopped apologizing for being a stay-at-home mom by eliminating the word “just” from my vocabulary in that context. My self-perception changed. I no longer saw myself as inferior to women my age who were successfully pursuing their career. Instead, I counted myself blessed to pursue my heart’s desire to stay home with my children.
In the past, I’ve wrestled with being branded as a devotional writer. It didn’t help much when a friend in the publishing industry asked, “When are you going to start writing real books?” I’ve had to seek God’s perspective on the writing He’s called me to do, and now I view devotionals as sips of cold water prayerfully crafted to quench the parched. Now, when people ask what I write, I say, “I’m a devotional writer.” No apologies for not writing chapter books or novels.
Rather than just learning how to do something new (which subtly carries the connotation of feeble attempts or my teetering on the verge of failure), I am learning how to do something new (which carries the connotation of being gutsy enough to take a risk by tackling a new endeavor). Again, I feel empowered to press on, to learn, to grow, and to develop my skills.
Here are a few personal growth questions to ponder:
- How do you see yourself?
- What factors have influenced that self-perception?
- And how might that perception be influencing your behavior?
Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
#bgbg2 #devotions #SelfPerceptionMatters