Believe in Yourself?

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. winner-silhouette-mountain-top-sport-active-life-concept-74361217Not 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.

However…

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?

“Um…yes?”

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.

“Um…OK.”

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

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Movies, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Believe in Yourself?

  1. Mitch, this is a fantastic blog article! It brings many thoughts to the table, ripe for discussion. First, I understand your reluctance to state (simply and without qualification) that we should believe in ourselves. I tried that (but ONLY that) for decades, which led to a ruinous life of betrayal, deception, narcissistic use of those around me, and a near godlike complex. Much of this stemmed from several intrinsic factors. First, my father’s insistence that I would never amount to anything. That only served as an impetus to “show him” I can be anything I choose, even if I do it against social mores and at the expense of others. Then there came decades of active addiction and the horrible recurrent failure that brought. Finally, I came to understand that I can be ALL things through CHRIST. I see “believe in yourself” now as believing who I am in God’s eyes. Who He created me to be. And how to achieve that potential by seeing me not as I used to see me (indeed, as I used to try to invent myself to be), but as God’s image-bearer. As His divine creation. As washed in the righteousness of Christ. As fully human yet fully in touch with who I TRULY am. I am more than what I think I am. I’m more than what my father said I was. I’m more than what the world believes I am. Now I am both human and a child of God. Now I am participating in creation itself; indeed, in the restoration of the universe and its inhabitants to that which God intended for mankind from Genesis 3 onward. Now I believe in the ME I am through redemption. Now I believe I am more than just a bundle of nerves, emotions, and self-will run riot.

    Liked by 4 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      And thank you for the fantastic response! What a powerful, honest, and I know prayerfully-processed testimony, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

    • THis is how we should see ourselves: …”I see “believe in yourself” now as believing who I am in God’s eyes. Who He created me to be. And how to achieve that potential by seeing me not as I used to see me (indeed, as I used to try to invent myself to be), but as God’s image-bearer. As His divine creation” To be able to humbly acknowledge how God made and sees us is the best way to believe in ourselves.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Bill Sweeney says:

    This is good, Mitch.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. schoen55 says:

    Thank you, I needed to read this. Might need to read it daily for a while….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Believe in Yourself? — Mitch Teemley – Inspirational Leader

  5. Mitch, this is so excellent! A few months ago, feeling insecure in my writing and unsure if I were doing the right thing with my blog, I prayed for the assurance that God had really led me there – even though I’d felt that that was true in the beginning. I wound up getting a bracelet from the site, My Intent, and my token had one word on it: TRUST. A reminder that God has trusted me to use the gifts that He gave me and that He continues to guide me. I just need to keep on paying attention. And having faith in those gifts. And working hard to find what He would have me say. I’m also learning to trust those gifts more, too, so the insecurity is in check (most of the time…!). It can be a fine line that we walk, but it’s always worth it knowing that we’re being held in the true hands!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    “Believing in your ability to accomplish it is inseparable from believing in My ability to accomplish it.” AMEN, Mitch! He has indeed uniquely equipped you to achieve his purpose for your films (Hebrews 13:20-21), and that purpose WILL be accomplished (Proverbs 19:21)!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A.P. says:

    This one also spoke to me. It’s easy to slip into a worldly mode of self-glorification when one believes one has to take care of one’s own needs before one can help someone else. Philippians 2:4 and Ephesians 5:28 are good Scriptures in this regard. The worldly notion that “you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else” can be a stumbling block. Most people who focus fully on “loving themselves” stop there. They become narcissists, and as such they don’t really bother to love others. In fact, it’s logically impossible that the would, because the fullness of their love is focused on their own selves.

    On the other hand, when one focuses on loving others, and doing good for others — even to the point of self-sacrifice — love abounds, and is given the chance to inspire. Our Lord, after all, made the hugest self-sacrifice of them all. Had he not, the consequences for humanity would have been dire. Thanks again for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. numrhood says:

    2 chronicles 56:45-46 & 47
    when i am afraid
    thou shall trust in thee
    missing 2 chronicles 31:22
    a merry heart

    Like

  9. Jennwith2ns says:

    This reminds me of my pivotal epiphany during a life-mapping class I had to take in seminary. I spent most of my life trying so hard not to take credit away from God that I became unable to see when God was at work through and around my life. Coming to terms with this changed everything.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. nancyehead says:

    Nice way to distinguish between feel-good-fluff and the real person God made. Great job hitting that fine distinction.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Judy Kim says:

    Many people think humility is low self-esteem and think vanity is self-confidence 🤪!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. “God made me for this. Therefore I can do it.” I will remember that the next time God leads me to do something outside my comfort zone.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. revruss1220 says:

    Yes! Amen. This really puts the theological horse before the cart… where it truly belongs. It reminded me of the last time I was in a place where there were a lot of children in the 5-10 year age range. Many, many of them were wearing T-shirts proclaiming messages along the lines of, “I’m the greatest!” or “Superkid,” or similar. Yes, believe in yourself, but first, believe in the One who made you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “The best self-belief is rooted in the ultimate Reality of the One Who made us.” I L O V E this! This reminder is exactly what I need—daily. It’s not on my own strengths and abilities that I can do all things—but on HIS. I’m still learning to trust in Him. What I’ve learned is that this trusting in Him thing is not a one-and-done thing; it’s a process; it’s a moment-by-moment decision. Another awesome post, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Don’t you have to “real” to believe in yourself? Right?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Believe in Yourself? — Mitch Teemley | ckacinofoundation

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