Inadequacy

This morning I read about the three servants, who were each given different amounts of money to steward. Let’s say one had £10, the second £5, and the third £1. The one who had £10 used it wisely and was given ten cities to take charge of. The one with £5 got five cities, but the one with £1 gave it back and said to his master: “You are a hard man, and I was afraid of you” (Luke 19:11-27).

There’s a similar story in Matthew’s gospel and the measurement’s in talents, which makes me think of the gifts and talents we’ve been given. Have you noticed that someone who’s afraid to use their gifts tends to have very little self-worth?

I’ve been given the ability to write songs. I’ve made CDs with them on because I think if God enabled me to write them, He must want people to hear them. I totally understand not wanting to draw attention to yourself, and so does Jesus. After all, He said: “If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honoured” (Luke 18:14), but you don’t have to use the gifts God’s given you in a flashy, attention-seeking kind of way. Someone might have the gift of hospitality. They could hold a big, lavish banquet and invite the whole neighbourhood, or they could invite a couple of people to lunch on a Sunday. In either case, they’d be using that gift.

Have you ever thought about God’s commandment: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Matthew 19:19)? If you’re going to love another as much as you love yourself, then surely, first you have to love yourself and appreciate what you’ve got to offer as a person.

If you struggle with feelings of inadequacy, like I do sometimes, can I encourage you to bring them to God? Ask Him what He sees in you – what it is He loves about you. If He’s given you something you feel you can use for His glory, please let Him give you the confidence to do that because the world around you really needs to hear your voice.

“Stay Calm and Content”: A Book-Review

“I wish it were easy to give feelings of self-esteem to children, young people, and the adults they become.  If we could, many of society’s problems would disappear” – Cat Williams, author of “Stay Calm and Content:  No Matter What Life Throws at You”

 

I heard Cat interviewed about the book on my local radio-station.  Thinking she talked a lot of sense, I wrote to thank her, and she sent me a copy to review.

 

As the quote suggests, the book’s main focus is self-esteem; how it shapes us; why we act the way we do.  As soon as I read the blurb on the cover, I looked forward to getting into this book.  If (like me) you’ve read “The Five Love-Languages” by Gary Chapman, I think you might enjoy this one too.  There are lots of personal stories in here and, although fictional, Cat is a relationship counsellor and some of the changes took place in the lives of her clients.

 

True to life, some situations are presented to us with no resolution, but my particular favourites are those where counselling has brought about positive change – an abusor being forgiven; a teenaged girl’s relationship with her mum; a marriage falling apart, now restored.

 

Cat says of the book:  “I know that not everyone will like it and that some people might find faults or omissions.  However, I hope you find it interesting and perhaps useful”, which I did.  Things jumped out at me that I hadn’t thought of before, such as:  ‘Old memories replaying can make you feel what you felt in the past, even though the circumstances are different’.  Or:  ‘An argument is 2 people experiencing low self-esteem, because it’s centred on defensiveness and/or criticism’.

 

So, if you buy this book, it’ll make you think.  The only thing I found it lacked was the Christian perspective, so I might have phrased some of the assurances differently.  For example, Cat says:  “We can handle anything because we can choose how we respond to it”; I would add to that by saying:  I can handle anything because God says however many days I’ve got, I’ll have enough strength for them all (Deuteronomy 33:25).  Cat’s statement that we’re good enough when we’re born, before we’ve achieved anything, is such a rare thing to hear and really resonated with me, but I can’t think of that statement without being reminded of Jesus at His baptism, where God said He was pleased with Him before He’d even started teaching or doing any miracles.  For me, my Christian faith is what’s got me through the last 14 years of my life; I can’t imagine how people cope without God, but I’ve certainly learnt from Cat’s book, and I like her style of writing.  It’s very easy to read.  She’s covered such a range of topics in this first book of hers, but I really hope we’ll see other books in the future.