19/04/2016 - Romans 12:3 'Think of yourself with sober judgement.'
Our local football club, Ipswich Town, are not doing very well at the moment. Currently 8th in the Championship they are unlikely to qualify for a play-off place this year, unlike last year. I remember last season a commentator saying that Town were playing ‘10% above themselves’. Everybody expected them to push on and do great things this season – but the warning signs were there in that statement. You cannot sustain playing 10% above yourselves and our position in the league this year does reflect a 10% drop in performance. We hear managers talking about expecting 110% of their players – but that is unsustainable. Is that how we treat ourselves? Do we set ourselves such high standards internally, often to compensate for low self-worth, that we have set ourselves up to fail? If we are comfortable with ourselves, we can give 100% in a consistent and enjoyable way. If our view of ourselves is say, 20% lower than where it should be, we will always be striving for 120% to compensate.
Recently I picked up a lung infection. It was very unpleasant, with a temperature that made my joints ache and made breathing difficult. We took time out one day on the Norfolk coast. First stop was Blakeney and here I decided to breathe the sea air in as deeply as I could. I also had the bright idea of a little run to ‘get my system going.’ I ended up worse than when I started. Later that day we arrived at Thornham where I normally take a good three mile walk. I decided to do a shorter version and this time I would walk slowly, within my capacity. By the time I completed the walk I felt rested and refreshed – even though I had just walked 2 miles. I had to learn to work within my capacity.
Are you putting yourself under pressure? Are there voices in your head telling you that if you were a good man, woman, husband, father, wife, mother, friend, brother – or whatever – you would be doing more? Does it feel like who you are and what you do is never enough? Someone asked John D. Rockefeller – a very wealthy man – ‘How much wealth does it take to satisfy a person?’ He replied, ‘Just a little bit more.’ Have you gone through life feeling that, if only you could do that ‘little bit more’, you would be the person you were meant to be? That is unsustainable. In the end something in our spiritual, emotional and even physical system breaks down and we are left feeling an utter failure. Paul wrote, ‘think of yourself with sober judgement.’ Be sensible about yourself. Don’t ever try and be someone you are not, or someone else. Enjoy being you and expect others to do the same.
See comments below: On 19.04.2016 Mindy wrote: I really love this comment from Paul and think I will keep it with me. I very recently had to do a presentation... I must add here presentations/public speaking fills me with terror and dread, I don't like failing and so I think put myself under pressure to give 120%. I have learned from this talk but not sure how and where to take this further. I hope you have improved from your lung infection and now feeling a lot better and stronger. May the Lord bless you and heal you, Mindy
On 21.04.2016 John replied: The key here Mindy is the way we feel about ourselves. If we know we are have 100% value before the Lord we don't need to strain. We need to be able to 'just be' and not have 'to do' all the time. That comes from our walk with the Lord, learning to be comfortable in his presence, specifically learning to value our introvert so we can be still in our innermost being. To do that we need to talk, share what we are feeling so we learn to stop rubbishing ourselves. In other words, allow God's Spirit, often through a Christian brother or sister to help us to get God's view on who we are.
On 21.04.2016 Kelly wrote: I really identified with this bible insight. From school it was always said about me 'could do better'. I've carried this view of myself into adulthood and tended to work under unnecessary pressure to be acceptable. Only when God's view overrides our own is it possible to relax in our skin - I still have to slow down and remind myself occasionally but by believing God's view even when I don't feel it is half the battle won.