Last updated on March 6th, 2021
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. (Psalm 33:1-2)
Much grief in life comes from caring too much what others think of us, and thinking too much of our failures (aka self loathing). These habits attack our sense of self worth (which often leads us to sinful self-soothing behaviors). In either case, the solution is humility.
Newsflash: self loathing is not humility. Humility is not thinking less of oneself. Humility is not thinking of oneself in the first place. And if I’m not thinking of myself, I’m not thinking about what others think of me, nor of my failures.
The simplest path to humility is praise. Praise gets my thoughts off critics and myself, and puts them on God.
I used to resist the idea of God wanting me to praise Him. It seemed prideful, arrogant. But my two marriage proposals show why it’s not.
Back in my single days, a certain fellow asked me to marry him. He was unattractive, uneducated, and generally incompatible with me in every way. The only thing we shared in common was our mutual faith in Jesus Christ. And because of our mutual faith in Christ, I earnestly prayed about his proposal.
Thankfully, I have a wise sister who pointed out it was unlikely God wanted me to marry a man whom I found physically repulsive and intellectually inferior. What woman would be foolish enough to marry a man she doesn’t admire?
(Aside: I was even more arrogant as a young single woman than I am now. Please forgive when I say he was “inferior” in my view at the time. I know each person’s worth lies in their position as an image-bearer of God, and that character matters much, but appearance little. So, sorry I was so shallow.)
Given that I saw this man as inferior, was I flattered that he wanted me to marry him?
No, I was not. I was troubled. Perplexed. Anxious. Not happy about it in the least except as a possibility of ending my unwanted single status.
Contrast this proposal with the one from the man who won my heart.
When my husband proposed, I was so overwhelmed with happiness I couldn’t believe it was true. Inside I was torn between wanting to believe it, and the awful thought that maybe this was some sort of cruel joke. The ring he presented was so big and shiny I wondered if it was somehow a fake. The first words out of my mouth were, “Are you serious?” And when I found out he really meant it and wanted me to be his bride I gladly said yes!
What a difference!
In the one case, I had a marriage proposal from someone who gave me the heebie-jeebies.
In the other case, my knight in shining armor offered to whisk me off my feet.
Which proposal gave me joy?
It was the proposal from the man I admired. From the one whose greatness I recognized.
And this is the benefit of praising God and acknowledging His greatness. The more we recognize and praise His holiness, His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, the more our joy grows as we realize that it was this God who chose to redeem us by the Blood of the Lamb.
Do you want to escape anxiety and self-loathing and develop true humility so you can be free of your addictions? Then spend less time thinking about the opinions of others and your own failures, and more time thinking about how great God is. Because the more you see His greatness, the more you will rejoice in His love for you!
“… if God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times to be glad and rejoice, He must want us to do it—SOME.” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna