During my growing up years, I was a timid little boy. Each time the refuse collection truck passed by my house, its monstrous size and thunderous roar scared me so much I would hide behind the main door or run to the back of the house. Growing up as a teen, I disliked myself much and often tried to behave like those who were very popular and accepted by many. I would try to wear what they wore; speak how they spoke and even write in styles they wrote. When relating to others, I would not allow others to get too close to me lest they see the real person in me. As a result, I had difficulties building authentic close relationship with others. This became an issue in my teenage years and through my time during National Service.
Then in 1987, God broke through. He sent an army colleague to invite me to the Reinhard Bonnke rally at the National Stadium. There, I surrendered my life to Jesus. After becoming a Christian, the first thing I learned was that God loves me. I reflected in amazement, “I don’t even love myself, yet this God who is above all, accepts and loves me?” It was a breakthrough. From then I started to accept myself more and related with others better.
Later, I discovered that God treats me as His treasured possession (Deut 26:18). Possessions that are treasured are always kept by their owner in the most secure place, watched over carefully and endeared greatly. On days when I felt down or defeated, I asked myself, “If I am His treasured possession, how could He have allowed such issues to happen to me? Surely, He cares about how I am feeling.” I rationalized that He must have allowed it because He had a special purpose for me. That thought would lead me to prayer and waiting upon Him (to understand His reason). And in the meantime, I would pick myself up again, in assured hope I would hear from Him (and I did).
In recent years, I discovered that after salvation, till the day I die, every day God is busy at work remolding my inner person (Isa 64:8, 2 Cor 3:18) to be who He had made me (before sin broke it) and calls me to be. As I abide in Him daily, part by part, step by step, He restores me. He rejoices at every change that happens in me. There is still lots of work to be done. But He never sleeps nor slumbers, He continues shaping me, and will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6). Amazing!
I do not dislike myself anymore. In fact, I love myself very, very much (haha)! But this is not in arrogance nor self-pride but rather in humility, thankfulness and rejoicing. I do not see myself from my viewpoint because if I do, I might rate myself too highly (resulting in arrogance and pride) or too lowly (resulting in low self-esteem). Rather, I see myself from His viewpoint. And what He sees is a treasured possession.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!” (Ps 139:17NLT)
By brother Sam Tan