I don't always have a good perception of myself.
The Bible says to "love your neighbor as you love yourself..." It doesn't say don't love yourself...don't think highly of yourself...
No, it's important to love yourself...to treat yourself well...to take care of yourself.
When I have a lower moment of being hard on myself, I look back to a few conversations I've had with people...it's almost like opening a scrapbook and looking at the pages.
I can distinctly remember a conversation I had with my friend Lauren several years ago.
I had given an idea for a girls' night party...it would be for the married women in the church. I was really excited about it...and then I realized that Lee & I had double booked ourselves, and I wasn't able to make it to the party.
I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. Sure, I would miss the fun and the laughs, but they wouldn't miss me much...
Afterall, I'm not the life of the party.
So, Lauren and I were in a 15 passenger van for an hour trip to go to a night of worship at another church. Lee was playing on the worship team, so he was already there, and I rode in the van there and then would just ride home with Lee from that church.
Lauren said she missed me at the party. I told her that I was sad that I couldn't make it, but I knew they would still have fun without me...after all, I'm not the life of the party.
She told me I shouldn't think like that. My presence was missed...and throughout the night she kept thinking, "Bri would enjoy this...Bri would laugh at this..."
I don't think I've ever had anyone confront me like that. She was lovingly convincing me that I did have something to contribute to the party...and to life!
As we kept talking, she told me that she had never met anyone who displayed such quiet strength. Most quiet people she knew were shy, and that she didn't think I was shy...just a quiet demeanor. She said I wasn't a push-over, and I didn't run my mouth like her...
That was one of the best compliments I've ever received in my life. She helped me feel good about being who I was...and not trying to be something or someone that I'm not. I didn't feel like I had to change to impress her...or be like her to be her friend.
Every once in a while, that conversation will play over and over in my mind. It's like I'm sitting on the bench of that 15 passenger bus...feeling the warmth of my friends words wash over me.
Words are so powerful. They can bring life or death to someone's hopes and dreams in an instant - It's like building a sandcastle...the words can be like a pounding crash of a wave or a super-mega shovel pouring sand into a bucket...