It can feel part of life’s normal routine to think negative thoughts about ourselves, an almost automatic reaction when we’re critized, confronted, excluded or make mistakes. Self-rejection can cloud our minds and perspective. But God is our Father, close by and compassionate. In the midst of our self-rejection, how does He act and think towards us?
Words for the Week
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
The last couple of weeks have been a real struggle for me. I have an anxiety disorder and depression and to me, many things about my circumstances dictated that there is something wrong with me – I could spot numerous instances of rejection. I joined in with this, choosing to think badly of myself too. Whilst mental ill-health can exacerbate the magnitude of these thoughts, I suspect we are all prone to some self-rejection. Writer and theologian Henri Nouwen, emphasises that instead of colluding with these thoughts, we need to opt consciously for our chosenness, recognising instead that we are precious in God’s eyes.
“The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am a chosen child of God, precious in Gods eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace…we must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings or passions to seduce us into self-rejection.”
In Ephesians, we read that God, our Father, has chosen us and adopted us into his own family. The writer, Paul, describes how this Father God is rich! He gives us many blessings and even showers his kindness on us! I wonder if reflecting on God’s kindness in our lives can remind us of how our Father God has chosen us….and this is far more true than any thoughts of self-rejection.
So, after my phase of self-deprecation, I went on a trip to try and find my wedding dress and in this experienced God’s kindness towards me. I had been stressing about many issues to do with this all week! Not only did I find one, but I found one that came way under my tiny budget, will fit me perfectly, and will be made in England (ethical criteria, tick!!) by a really lovely lady. Friends blessed me by driving three hours each way to meet her and we had a lovely day by the sea. The outcomes of the day were beyond my control but it worked out in a way that was really special to me; as we drove home I revelled in feeling treated by God!
It’s not every day you find your wedding dress, but what experiences in your life remind you that God is a Father that showers kindness? It could be answered prayers, unexpected gifts, treasured quiet times and encounters with God or God’s strengthening in times of trouble. Let’s remember and revel in his kindness, remembering like Paul, to give ‘All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had blessed us!’
Own it personally…
I often experience God’s kindness through other people who choose to bless me. Could you ask God who He would like you to show His kindness to this week. Ask Him for a name and then try and listen to God, asking him for a specific thing you can do for them. After all, He knows them best!
Ask God to give you a more astute awareness of his kindness in your life. Point it out to friends when you see it in their lives and try to stop in your day and recognise it in yours.
Alternatively, reflect with a friend over the past. Reminisce about moments when you’ve felt that God was kind to you, or to your friend. Talk over what it looked like and felt like for you to be chosen by God and blessed with His abundant kindness and grace.
Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy
Listen to the worship song Magnificent Kindness
God, you’re my Father.
I admit that I have thought badly of myself. I confess that I’ve thought these things about myself: (fill in)
Please forgive me for when I have rejected myself and not remembered that you have chosen me.
I want to recognise and thank you for your kindness in my life. Thank you for choosing me and adopting me into your family. I am thankful because: (fill in)
I am without fault in your eyes!
You have blessed me with every spiritual blessing. I thank you for: (fill in)
You are rich in kindness and grace. I especially remember when you: (fill in)
You have poured out your glorious grace on me and purchased my freedom.
Thank you for setting me free from: (fill in)
Father, I honour you.