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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Developing a Healthy Self-Image

"We love Him [God] because He first loved us."1

Jim was standing in line at the supermarket checkout when, to his amazement, in charged an angry, aggressive man, with his browbeaten wife in tow, pushing in line ahead of Jim and several other customers. With a forty pound (twenty-kilogram) sack of flour slung over his shoulder. Handing his wife some money, he growled: "Here, you pay for the stuff." He then proceeded to stomp off with his bag of flour.

Unknown to him, there was a hole in the back of the flour bag. As he stormed out of the supermarket, he left behind a trail of white flour all the way to his car. As Jim walked out of the store, he noticed that the angry man had just discovered his now half-empty sack of flour. Poetic justice one might suggest!

What makes people like this man so obnoxious? Among other possibilities, he undoubtedly has a very poor self-image. The bottom line is that these people don't feel loved. That's why his wife was such a wimp, too. People who strongly dislike themselves tend to either become weak, passive and over-compliant and withdraw, or project their self-hatred onto the people around them by being aggressive and bullying. Because they don't like themselves, they believe others don't like them either and set themselves up to be rejected.

To overcome a poor self-image and the lack of a healthy sense of self-acceptance doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, commitment, and risk taking.

More often than not insecurity and a poor self-image has its roots in early childhood where one didn't receive or feel that he received unconditional love. But here's the challenge: What we didn't receive in childhood we need to receive now.

And how do we do that? It's simple but not easy. It's based on a biblical principle in that, "We love God because He first loved us." In other words (spiritually speaking) we learned to love God through his love for us in that he knows us fully—warts and all—and loves us regardless ... unconditionally.

The same principle applies emotionally. To truly love others we need to be first loved by at least one safe, understanding, and non-judgmental person. To be loved by that person we need to be fully known by him or her—warts and all—and knowing us as we truly are, they love us unconditionally anyhow. It is through their unconditional love for us that we learn (in time) to love and accept ourselves in a healthy way.

Like I said, it is simple but not easy in that it can be very scary because we fear that if we are fully known for who we really are, we may not be liked and then rejected. However, it is only as we take the risk and step out of our comfort zone that we have any chance of learning how to fully love and accept ourselves in a healthy way. The more we do this the more we will improve our self-image, and consequently, the less we will get our feelings hurt and the easier it will be to deal with whatever setbacks come our way. We may still get our feelings hurt but we won't be devastated.For further help in "Developing a Healthy Self-Image" visit: http://tinyurl.com/af5hf

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I thank You that You know me fully as I am and love me unconditionally. Please help me to find a safe person to whom I can become fully known and loved and learn to love and accept myself in the same way that You love and accept me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 John 14:19 (NKJV).

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