Tag Archives: Self-esteem

(Change the channel or take a walk?) “The Show About Me” (part 2)


One of the most common responses people have when they get fed up with the re-runs of living their own small show is that they try to flip to a different channel. That is, they somehow realize a kind of radical change in life is necessary, so they try to re-make themselves.

Perhaps they start a new relationship, change careers, adopt a baby, buy a vehicle or expensive toy, go back to school, get plastic surgery, switch churches, move away, or in some way try to live out a better story. You’ve probably tried it, I know I have.

Maybe a person gets into religion, or he gets away from it. Maybe they start to need anti-depressants or anti-anxeity medication. Some abuse substances or live more dangerously. Something just seems wrong–and one tries to fix it.

Plenty of the time, these efforts do bring some distraction and change, and therefore a certain kind of freedom or renewal is felt (at least for a bit); but down deep, nothing important has changed at all. After a little while, the person still feels frustrated or undone. (Or something else unpleasant.) The channel may have changed, but what is lived out is just a Spin-off of “The Show About Me”. Sadly, very few fully realize that their perceptive, and how they live out reality, is fairly the same even after a massive change. The same troubles will assail them, in some way. However, the baggage gets heavier.

Our Creator is the true center of the Show (not us). The Supreme Being is irresistibly calling out, wooing us, and our thirst deepens.

It’s a fact that when a person is too dehydrated they may actually stop craving what they truly need-water/hydration and replenishment of nutrients. They may feel tired, ill, hungry, or numb, instead of thirsty. In an ironic twist, the person doesn’t desire what will make them healthy again. It’s a perilous situation. Without help, people die this way.

This kind of confusion happens spiritually too. Often, in fact. A common (household) term often used for what turns out to be a spiritual problem like this is most often called a “midlife crisis” or sometimes an “identity crisis.” It’s common for people to get a point where they need to “find themselves,” or re-define themselves, sometimes multiple times throughout one’s life. This “want to” to change is healthy, though many times misread. An identity shift like this may happen once or several times in one’s life where a person tries hard to better one’s circumstances, and find relief.

If you haven’t enter a stage like this yourself, I’m sure you can think of someone who has. For instance, in the last 18 months seven marriages at our church have spun out of control or failed. I believe a misunderstanding of this spiritual opportunity is a big reason why.

What must happen to be truly free, and on a full path to growth? Something more like a walk has to happen rather than a small show we create. A walk with God and changing one’s perspective to surrender to God and “his” Big Show (the authentic one “Reality”) is a path few take, or attempt for all that long. It just isn’t a simple or smooth road. It is a mysterious, sometimes troubling one, where the answers are rarely simple or pat. This is the path of faith (believing in what you can’t see, but still know is quite real). Sometimes changing the channel, multiple times, seems like the only sensible thing to do. The negative part is that we only get more of the same when we do that. It’s still our story we want to control, and our story stays small and frustrating.

As many who have done the enormous personal work to recover from drugs or alcohol can attest, one usually has to hit “rock bottom,” (or be fully ready), before surrender to a new, and bigger Show occurs (a life centered in God’s Reality). It all starts by doing something very rare and counter-intuitive. It’s something we all fear: Losing control and Humbly yielding to the Higher Power, and admitting that without grace, and true dependence on God and others, a better way cannot be possible. Perhaps the scripture comes to mind, …”if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it. But if you lose your life (yourself) for my sake, you will find it…”

In contrast, we wish to be self-made.… yet, only a small show about “me” is self-made. Transformation, growth, and sturdy happiness (joy) comes instead through the bravery of surrender to the greater Reality, and taking the more treacherous but rewarding path that comes with this decision.

In part III installment on this topic, I’ll mention some things that happen once this pivotal choice is made. A person’s attitude and outlook change; and how one orders one’s life undergoes critical and unavoidable development with radical shifts in thinking, acting, and relating to others–for the better! We’re talking here about spiritual formation.

I’ll describe that a bit more, soon, in part III. Check back in the next few days and see.

This is a lot to chew on, especially if this is a new concept, and you’ve never encountered these ideas before. Some people call it “being born again”…. and in a real sense, a new life starts for the person who is ready: A whole new life begins.

…to be continued…

Reflections questions:

Have I been living my own small story?

Have I longed for a richer life, but have really only being encountering re-runs or spin offs of a short-changed Show?

What is stopping me from walking a new life?

What are your responses, insights, or thoughts on this topic?

“The Show About Me”…is just re-runs (part 1)

Life *seems* like a "show about you" b/c you are in every scene and every episode.

If you’re reading because of my column in Schuylkill-News, welcome! (Be sure to join up with S-N on facebook, and get hip to the latest news items and great tips and stories before they hit the newsstands. Tell Amy you enjoy her publication! She needs to know.)

Thanks for reading, and please leave your questions or comments, now or anytime.

Deconstructing the “Show about You”

By default our heads are filled with an odd and faulty knowledge/sense that Life is a Show about ourselves. Each person thinks he/she must be the center of the universe (think: reality lived out), until something, or someone interrupts this notion. Living outside this worldview takes practice, increased maturity, and concerted effort. Cultural norms and money makers do not encourage us to turn the channel from “The Show About Me”.

Sounds like a blanket statement, right? It sounds like I’m saying everyone is a dirty, rotten jerk, and that can’t possibly be true?

Okay, let me back it up and just start with a few questions:

Think about these 5 questions as you read them and answer truthfully (to yourself, or if you feel that sharing will help others, leave your results in the comment section).

1. When you wake up in the morning do you think about the upcoming events in your day, or focus on your feelings?

2. Do thoughts of your past, present, or future occupy your time in your day?

3. Do you endeavor to find pleasure and avoid pain?

4. Do you mentally weigh the personal benefit when making decisions and actions?

5. Do you long for people to think well of you, and you make decisions based on this factor?

Okay, maybe you skimmed those questions.

Maybe you don’t want to do a personal inventory. If you want to move on, and this is getting weird or uncomfortable, you’re headed for a rerun. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before that happens, please, go back, for one more minute and read and consider the 5 questions. After you’re done,consider your results. If you answered “yes” or “sometimes” at all, you are fairly normal, and you are also living your life as the Main Star of your Show. You perceive reality as something that centers around, basically, _________. <—— (say your name here.)

So what? you say, doesn’t everyone? What’s the big deal?

Well, friends, it’s only a big deal if you want to feel unstuck….If watching the same re-runs of yourself meeting the same sorts of dead ends and disappoints, and having the same insatiable cravings, growing frustrations, and restricted and delayed growth wears on you, then yes, the deal is starting to head into a biggish area.

Seriously, re-runs are really what you get when the season’s over. No one is working anymore, and the networks hope more rehash won’t be too egregious and lame. After two or three times of the same stuff, we usually want something new, something better.

A whole other Reality is going on, and has been long before you, and will long after you. You may have been skimming on the surface of it, but you have to wake up and realize thoroughly that you are not the Star of the Show, and more importantly, it’s not your Show.

‘Ever seen the movie the Matrix? It’s like, but with fewer people wearing sunglasses. …. oh never mind, The Matrix explanation is WAY too long and slippery. You’ll think you’re Neo, and we’ll be back where I started.

There’s a bit more to come:

In a few days, Part II of this reflection will get down deeper. Soon, I’ll also offer mental, spiritual, and emotional (concrete) ways many people have truly shifted their view to a more healthy one. We’re just getting the engine started on this vehicle to a new perspective. Let’s stick together–Meet back here soon.

Always feel free to leave your thoughts, experiences, or comments here. (Just after the tags below this post, it’ll say Leave a Comment. Not to be too obvious, and insult you, but….You click that.)

Or answer some questions:

Any guesses who the Star of the Show is?

What do you think Reality looks like with this different worldview/perspective?

And how would it be lived out? (examples, generalities, etc.)

The Riddle of Low Self-Esteem

images-2I’m going to start by saying the “answer” I give to solving this riddle, is quite real, but is not easy. I don’t claim there is but one answer, but it is surprising how transforming this surprising tact can be. This situation might be like telling a person what they need to stay fit. Once they have the information, it doesn’t mean it will happen. It doesn’t mean transformation to fitness will take place. It only means, if they truly put the information into practice regularly, will they see true change and results. I also offer that just as in fitness, results do not happen in a day, a week, or a month. It is more of a lifestyle. Change and “state of fitness” happens over a period of time–like a journey. The same is true for what I share with you.

I have often heard questions like, “How can I help my self-esteem and low self-worth?” What most people fail to realize is the truly universal problem a low view of self is. People may see others as confident, and assume they don’t have many doubts, or that others aren’t really acting out of a place of a compromised view of self. I venture to guess many bad decisions we make, and possibly most destructive behaviors come from an attitude, or some form of self-loathing. Yes, it’s a real problem, and a big one.

In most primary education schools, the big push is to raise self-esteem in hopes that a better views of self will generate more socially appropriate behavior, and ethically developed character. The teaching goes something like, “Kids, remember, this in your mind when you take a test. Cheating on a test will make me feel bad about my self.”

This reveals the anthropocentrism (human development-centered) of our efforts to both fix our problem of poor self-image, and to make ethical decisions based our our view of the world from a decidedly human perspective. In both cases we are helpless–stuck making very little ground. Or, the progress made is inconsistent, and can fluctuate based on our particular selfish motives, and short-sighted view at that moment of our ethical choice.

Strangely enough, we cannot start with thinking about ourselves to reclaim our value, or raise our poor self-esteem. For that, we must thrust our focus away from the defect, to the Standard, the Creator, and work from the Source, or the Top down. It might seem counter-intuitive to not think of yourself when you are attempting to better yourself, and that not entirely what I propose. I propose that we allow God to be the source of our esteem, and the foundation of our value.

The best way I have found to help me in this area–to increase my fitness–if you will, is to thoroughly enjoy God in worship. In him we live and move and have our being. This is no small idea. This is another way to frame Reality. (I believe it is the way the Bible offers it to us.)  It starts with God, and adds us into the picture as part of God’s supporting cast, rather than us as the star of the show. In reality, life is a Story about God, and his love and enjoyment of us. And then our response to him. Often, we live out of the premise that life, as author Donald Miller has said it seems, “…like a movie about me, and I can prove it because I’m in every scene.”

One of the greatest benefits to adjusting (or I should say re-adjusting) to a theo-centric worldview, is that the pressure for defining self, and for generating self-esteem is not our task any longer. The pressure is off. Our worth is in our God who loves us and made us, and gave all to save us, so we could be healed, and restored. So, we are brought back to rightly, and happily living, and loving him and others again. And we also have the hope of the restored world beyond this one, in which the problems, injustice, and turmoil we cannot fix will be made good and right. This is God’s promise, and it rests in his perfect nature–which must be all-good, and all-just. God is our hope of hopes, both now and in times to come. Though this truth is not completely fathomable, it is knowable because we can sketch the contour of a perfect God, who created us, and is, in fact, not a part of our world and lives, but indeed, the very center of Reality.

This topic makes a great small group discussion that can promote spiritual introspection and growth. Use this post to generate an interesting discussion by sending a few friends here to read this post, and then chat about it together. (Also pastry and coffee helps the experience. I’ve tested it out!) Please weigh-in with some of the thoughts you came up with while you were together. 

And if you can, please list a suggestion/s for worship. Thank you for reading.