Adequacy, beauty, pride, self-worth, etc.

I seem to have got into this conversation MANY times recently. Here goes...

John Eldredge wrote the books Wild at Heart and Captivating (books I highly recommend, btw). In them he talks how each gender has a question that they ask, "Do I have what it takes?" and "Am I captivating/beautiful?" The gist of the books are that we need to go to the Lord to find the affirmative answer to that question, not members of the opposite sex, the world, friends, etc.

However, this is where I have an issue with the book. When I had cancer back years ago and life had fallen apart, I realized I do NOT have what it takes. I had spent my life before that point in an incessant bondage to what people thought, "am I smart/athletic/successful/

fill in the blank enough?" and felt like I CONSTANTLY had to prove myself. I remember even back then that I had asked myself. How many people are enough? At what point can I stop? Why do I have to never endingly compare myself to others and consequently vacillate from pride to insecurity depending on whether I viewed myself as more capable then them? Does it really matter how I compare?

This bondage/game came crashing down during cancer. I lost everything. My health, my athletic ability, my friendships, my job, my everything. It was actually quite liberating, though. Because now I could see how stupid it all was. Was I a loser because I could no longer play frisbee or do the things that I thought I was good at? I don't think any of you would think that. So I started to realize my value had absolutely nothing to do with how smart/athletic/successful/capable etc. that I am. It had nothing to do with whether or not I had friends or a girlfriend. And anyone who thought that it did, who would have thought that I was loser while on chemo because I did not play frisbee, we would think is weird.

So if my value does not come from all of those things (or physical appearance for women), where does it come from? It can only come from one place. There is only one safe place for it. It comes from God. He is the only one safe, unchanging source for security in identity (or really anything). Once this is taken care of, than I will no longer try to get things out of frisbee, my relationships, etc. that I was never meant to get from them - only from God. Frisbee goes back to being something fun to do with friends - not a measure of who I am. Life no longer has to be a never ending self-obsessed focus, but God lets one actually pay attention to others more than just how they are paying attention to me (i.e. they are my audience).

So I came to the conclusion that my self-worth has to come from the Lord. I then came to my conclusion on my question, "Do I have what it takes?" No, I do not. I am incredibly, incredibly week. Cancer taught me that pretty quickly. I can't even do basic things like walk in love on a consistent basis without God. When Jesus said in John 15 (I think v. 7?) that "apart from me you can do nothing" that is so true. Apart from God I can do nothing that really matters with pure selfless motives. But the beauty is that rather than walking around in pride that I have it all put together or putting up a facade that I do, I can whole heartedly seek the one that allows me to do "all things THROUGH HIM who gives me strength." It is not that I can do all things. Apart from him, I pretty much am doomed. But through Him, there is nothing that cannot be done. And the same is true for you.

The books advocate guys and girls listening to the still, small voice that will tell them that they have what it takes or that they are beautiful... something that I view could be dangerous (i.e. opening oneself up to other spirits that will speak to them). Besides I don't believe that is biblical. Rather than God speaking that we are capable and beautiful, I think the message of the Bible is "THROUGH ME, you are capable and beautiful." The Bible talks of beauty and says that real beauty does not come from outward adornment, but is an inner quality (1 Peter 3:3). I would venture to say, that just like a man and being capable, true beauty is something that is only produced through a life controlled and consumed by the Holy Spirit.