Been thinking about the idea of self-esteem and self-acceptance the last few days. What occurs to me is that self-acceptance is a very trick word, in part because our sense of self can only be arrived at relationally. We cannot accept our self in a vacuum, as if we could evaluate who we are in isolation. Furthermore, only God can tell us who we are and how we matter.

Then there is the issue of what exactly we mean by acceptance. Worse case, we mean to imply that no one or no thing can tell us we need to be  any different. We are just fine the way we are and are in need of nothing (sounds like a very icky church in Laodecia). Which is really a form of denial and arrogance that can only lead to self-destruction. Or sometimes by acceptance we mean that everyone has to overlook our faults and pretend they are not there. That would be like going to a hospital and telling the doctors and staff to stop trying to help you. How is that even a good thing?

God's acceptance of us is not benign or passive. It's more like, "I love you and want you to be my child. And I will do whatever it takes to bring you to the place of joyful wholeness that I have planned for you!"

With that as a context, we can finally accept our own existence without shame or condemnation: "I love You, too, God, and I feel safe in Your eyes and heart as You begin a work in me to form me into one who is worthy to be called Your child."

I'm thinking God-acceptance goes a lot farther in healing my soul than any "self" acceptance could begin to touch.

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