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Feeling Inferior? Embrace Your Purpose!

11 Aug

Humorist Steven Wright once said, “I have an inferiority complex, but it’s not a very good one.” (1)

Pebble on BeachPeople often try to overcome an inferiority complex with the help of counselors. A young husband with an inferiority complex insisted he was just “a little pebble on a vast beach.”

The marriage counselor, trying to be creative, told him, “If you wish to save your marriage, you’d better be ‘a little boulder.’

Whether you believe an inferiority complex is a psychological malady or just too much focus on self, the truth of scripture is that every person is valuable ~ created with purpose.

We are not accidents. The Bible says believers were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Furthermore, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God has saved us and called us to a holy life; it’s part of His purpose and grace, “given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9).

God says we are valuable, and He has not blessed us haphazardly. He gave us special gifts (Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:9-11, 1 Cor. 12) to accomplish His purposes. He has an everlasting plan, and we are part of it!

If we feel we are inferior, it is because we have not fully grasped the love and purposes of God for us, as unique individuals.  Those things that we see in ourselves as handicaps and hindrances, God may well have designed them for His glory!

I think of Nick Vujicic, the Austalian born without arms or legs ~ just a vestigial left foot. He is a Nick Vijicic, speakingpowerful evangelist, traveling the world and sharing the gospel and his unique take on life.

In 2007, Vijicic told a group gathered at Gateway Fellowship Church, “By the end of this service, you are going to be jealous of my life… You can’t undo my joy, you can’t undo my faith.” (2)

The inspiring young evangelist tells people about God’s purpose for their own lives as he shares his own: “God has a purpose for you,” he says, leaning intently forward. “God has a purpose for you to love. To love people… Do you know how to do that? That is what the church is for.”

Vijicic is fulfilling God’s purpose for his life because he is using what the Lord has given him ~ spiritual gifts, knowledge of the Word of God, his personality, and even his so-called “handicaps.” He doesn’t have time for an inferiority complex that would come with comparisons. (Comparisons are never wise ~ 2 Corinthians 10:12.) Though Vijicic  admits to down times, his resolve to live in hope is powerful.

That day at Gateway, Vijicic spoke of the desire to fall in love, marry, and have children. The audience began to sense that there was more to life than what they understood. He spoke of not being able to  dance on a wedding night or put an arm around a crying child. But his understanding of the real values in life came shining through. He said, for example, that it really doesn’t matter that he couldn’t hold his wife’s hand someday. “You don’t need hands to hold her heart,” he said.

There are many reasons for an “inferiority complex” ~ perhaps valid ones born in abuse, depression, or other life circumstances; but with God, there is always hope. God’s plans include “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, “Why… are you downcast? [down in the dumps, crying the blues, feeling inferior] … Put your hope in God” (Psalm 43:5). Hope can transform the heart and motivate change, as it did for Nick Vujicic.

You are loved and created with a purpose, Friend. Embrace and apply that truth today.

(1) http://quotingquotes.com/20028/

(2) http://www.religionnewsblog.com/17383/nick-vujicic

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I Love Happy Endings

28 Jul

DaisyThe other day when I visited my “granddogger,” Daisy, (a female pup my son owns), I had to laugh when my son and his wife talked about the cost of Daisy’s haircut. It reminded me of this cute joke:

A friend took her dog to the parlor for a haircut, and asked what it would cost. Being told that it would cost her $50, she was outraged.

“I only pay 30 bucks for my own haircut!” she said.

The groomer replied, “That may be true. But then, you don’t bite, do you? (1)

Daisy has a long, swishy tail that acts like a propeller when she’s happy.Daisy on grass

That reminds me of young Jonathan, who had been promised a new puppy for his tenth birthday. He had a tough time choosing one from the dozen likely candidates at the neighborhood pet shop.

Finally, he decided on one nondescript, shaggy pup who was wagging his tail furiously.

Explained Jonathan, “I want the one with the happy ending!” (2)

Happy endings. We all love it when stories end well, don’t we? There’s that sigh of joy … the “aaaaaah” factor when a tale ends well.

Unfortunately, although that might work well in Hollywood, in real life, some stories don’t have happy endings. There are divorces that destroy whole families, financial struggles that overwhelm, and problems with no easy solutions.

Jesus said that we would have tribulation and trials in life (John 16:33). It’s just part of the human condition, brought about by the entrance of sin in the world (Romans 5:12). But in that same verse, Jesus said we can take heart because He has triumphed. In Jesus, there is hope (Titus 1:2) … He is our Hope (1 Timothy 1:1). There is hope and encouragement for our days on earth (1 John 3:2-3), and an ultimate future reward (Ephesians 1:181 Peter 1:3).

Hope in Jesus ChristOur happy ending is sure because of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s not a fairy tale happy ending to a story about a wise teacher, but a sure hope based on the truth surrounding who Jesus is ~ God, the Son.

Jesus died for our sins, but the resurrection is what makes Christianity distinct from mere religion. Other leaders of religions may have lived exemplary lives, led great movements, and even died a martyr’s death ~ but not one of them was raised from the dead.

The resurrection proved that God’s purpose for mankind in redemption was accomplished (1 Corinthians 15:13-20). (Evidence for the Resurrection.)

We have peace, power, victory, security, hope … and we will be with Jesus throughout eternity. Because Jesus lives, we, too, will live (John 14:19) ~ that is our happy ending!

(1) http://funnyjokes4me.blogspot.com/2009/07/clean-jokes-dog-haircut.html

(2) Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking, (Zondervan, 2004), #305, p. 128

Keep Your Chin Up!

13 Jun

Wrinkled Frowning WomanOur humorist friend, Rhonda Rhea, wrote on Facebook:  “Putting on my makeup this morning, [and] realizing concealer is no longer cutting it. Now moving to ‘consoler.'”

A Facebook friend added, “Uh huh … I now use grout.”

I (Dawn) had to laugh when I saw this photo. Imagine waking up to that sour look every morning! But I love “aging” humor ~ I figure it’s better to laugh than to get upset.  I mean, if we frown at our reflection in the mirror, we’re just going to make more lines, aren’t we? Who wants that?

Though I work (occasionally) on my sagging frame, I’ve noticed that I don’t hold in my stomach any more, no matter who walks in the room.

Rhonda’s blog, titled “Rhonda Rhea Hilarity and Hope,” feels like a sister-blog to this one, and she is indeed hilarious when she writes about women’s struggles with their bodies!

Rhonda wrote, in “Juggle the Jiggle,” ~ “…I have to admit that keeping my chin up is a lot more challenging now that I have more than one. You know, more than one chin….”

But then Rhonda takes on a more serious tone.

“In truth, though, keeping your chin up is not so much about where you keep your chin ~ or ‘chins,’ as the case may be,” she said. “No, it’s not about the chins at all. It’s about the eyes. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, focusing on everything eternal, will bring us right back around to everything that’s truly positive ~ everything that will always truly count.”

Rhonda is so right. As I get older, I know that my eyes won’t get much worse (finally), but my spiritual eyes can certainly improve. God wants to bring eternal things into focus and change my perspective.

Rhonda, Pam, and I all have a strong HOPE-focus, because we know the God of Hope personally, and He wants to lift our spirits as we trust Him and believe His Word. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Isn’t that what you want? To be so full of hope that it overflows into other’s lives?

You can have overflowing hope because God loves you and you are accepted in the Beloved ~ accepted in His Son. It’s not that God offers us hope, but that He is Hope! It is part of His inherent nature. There is no hope for salvation apart from Jesus Christ. We were given hope when we became a part of God’s family (Romans 8:24a), and we only know the God of Hope because of Jesus. 

The present hope that springs up in us comes directly from God ~ it is a gift. And when we need it most, we find it doesn’t fail us. Hope is found Continue reading

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