She so eloquently brings out the point that to make Christ the center, He must be all there is. We are dead in Christ and only He lives. She calls it the "Freedom of self-forgetfulness". She says "When we are driven by a concern for how people perceive Christ, we can live free from the bondage of what people think of us." You see, "Jesus won us freedom from ourselves!" That's good news!
Self-consciousness is a prison that we make for ourselves. It compares us to others. It makes us feel the need to be spiritual enough, pretty enough, fit enough, talented enough, successful enough, to be good enough parents, to have a certain type of house, car, purse, clothing or standard of living, to act a certain way depending on whose presence we happen to be in, to be cool enough to fit in at the cocktail parties of our colleagues YET spiritual enough to fit into the prayer meeting at church without compromising our beliefs or tarnishing our reputation or witness, to be the kind of person that people look at and see the value just oozing off of us. The problem is, we don't see any value in ourselves unless validated by other people, a slippery slope that only leads to pressure and anxiety and a constant state of unrest in our souls. We decide what we wear, how we look, where we go, what we do and how we do it by comparing ourselves to our family, friends, neighbors, and culture much more than we realize. In essence, we make decisions based on what they will think of us.
Now you can take that too far as well in having an I-don't-care-what-ANYONE-thinks kind of attitude as well, which for the most part, is self-consciousness hiding behind a defensive shield.
I read so many profiles on facebook that have statements that talk about how Christ has made us valuable and that is where our self-esteem comes from, but that still puts the focus on us trying to convince others that we matter. The fact is, we are not valuable in any way. Christ is valuable and the fact that we are in Him does not make us valuable. It makes us blessed, mercifully and compassionately blessed. We can't enhance or increase His value. We can only let that value the is HIM shine though us as we take Him everywhere we go.
Lydia says "Happiness comes from not being well thought of but by thinking less of ourselves altogether. Fear of man is craving to please ourselves,; we want people to admire us so we can feel valuable and important. But God is the one whose value and importance we are called to showcase." Oh, I love that!
We must, as she says, "live under the gaze of one", but oh, who that one is! For me, that just makes it simple. There is such freedom in living dead!
Tim Keller calls this "gospel-humility." He says "The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humilty is not needing to think about myself...True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself."
And what is the result? Oh, this is so good! "As we trust, we stop viewing others as a measure of ourselves but as people to love. We stop using them and start serving them. We are meant to focus on others, just not with ourselves as the reference point."
As I thought about my own life, my social media presence, our ministry, my life as a parent and as a friend, I was challenged, disappointed and encouraged all at the same time. Although there are many things I would have and will endeavor to do differently in the future, I was struck by the simplicity/complexity of the solution. The answer is so simple yet as a human, so complex because it involves just giving it all up and laying it all down on a daily basis-from one FaceBook post to the next, from one conversation to the next, from one purchase decision to the next, from one thought to the next, from one confession/declaration to the next, from one minute to the next. We are constantly bombarded by things in media, the workplace, the neighborhood and yes, sadly, even the church, that make us stop and take a look at us when all we really need to do is look at HIM!
I found this so convicting, so helpful, and so freeing today that I just had to share it.