Last week, I wrote a post entitled Celebrate Yourself! And now this. What’s up? Have I suddenly gone all theologically squishy? Allow me to explain.
I usually cringe when I see “Believe in Yourself” articles. Because, while in theory belief in oneself is a valid concept, in practice it’s often code for empty self-affirmations. Not meaningful correctives like, “I deserve to be loved,” but vapid mantras like, “I am the center of my universe!” Psychologists have discovered that exaggerated self-talk has no impact on real self-esteem.
It can also devolve into the false idea that We can’t meet anyone else’s needs until we meet all of our own. What’s wrong with that? Since our own needs are never completely “met,” it leads to permanent self-focus, and even to self-deification (“I am the center god of my universe!”).
It’s neither wise nor healthy to focus exclusively on ourselves. Why? Because fully developed selves are inextricably tied to other people. In fact, multiple studies have shown that loving and helping others is often the key to loving and helping ourselves—and not the other way around.
A healthy trust in oneself is important. I experienced this first hand during the making of my last feature film. I always strive, however imperfectly, to do God’s will. But the night before filming began, as I acknowledged my fear of failing, God’s still, small voice whispered back:
Do you believe this is My project?
“Yes, Lord. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.”
So you’re aware that I’ve been preparing you for this your whole life?
Then believe in yourself, as well.
“But, how can—”
Because believing in your ability to accomplish it is inseparable from believing in My ability to accomplish it. I made you for this. Yes, it may be challenging—it will be challenging—but you will accomplish it.
Now get some sleep!
The next day, on the way to the set, I reminded myself, “God made me for this. Therefore I can do it.” Interestingly, this realization humbled me, yet empowered me at the same time. Because healthy, non-narcissistic self-belief is rooted not in delusion, but in reality. And the best self-belief is rooted in the ultimate Reality of…
The One who made us.
“In everything he undertook, he sought his God…and worked wholeheartedly… And so he succeeded.” ~2 Chronicles 31:20-21