i am not brad pitt

Brad_pitt
A few years ago I accepted the truth.  I am not Brad Pitt.

I do not have his adonis features, his golden locks, or his sparkle eyes.  Nor, let me be clear, do I have a man-crush on Brad Pitt.

I’m just saying, I look at myself everyday.  Brad Pitt looks at himself.  Do you think we approach the mirror in the same way?

Not adequately equipped.  That’s the old meaning to the word "disappointed."  And that’s how I sometimes feel about myself.  Do you think I point trigger fingers and wink at the mirror as often as he does?  (Maybe he doesn’t, I’m just saying… he could if he wanted to.)

Now before you try to build me up, just let me tear down some more puffy things for a moment.  (Yes, I can be "puffy".)  Bear with me, I have a point I’m trying to work out here…

Over the years, we have come to use the word "disappointed" to explain how we feel "defeated in expectation or hope."  In terms of our own selves, we can become disappointed because we feel like we don’t have all the tools or capacity or preparation to handle something.  Thus, when I look in the mirror and don’t see a Brad Pitt look alike, I feel defeated in my capacity to be as impressive as I could be.

I can be tempted by a give-up attitude, feeling defeated in my shortcomings (no pun intended) and failures.

Paul wrote (yes, the Great Amazing Absolutely Perfect Apostle Paul!!!):
"I know I am rotten through and through… No matter which way I turn,
I can’t make myself do right.  I want to, but I can’t.  When I want to
do good, I don’t.  And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway… It
seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I
inevitably do what is wrong… Oh what a miserable person I am!"

So Paul is stuck in himself.  He lets himself down repeatedly.  He looks in the mirror and sees something that doesn’t quite impress him.  He’s
miserable, both in his own emotions and in his definition of himself.
In effect he says, "Look at how messed up I am."

This is Paul.  The Brad Pitt of the Apostles.  Well, maybe not physically… I’ve always imagined Paul to look more like Al Pacino.  But I have always placed Paul on a Brad Pitt pedestal, assuming that I
could never be like this man in terms of his faith.  Never would I have felt
adequately equipped enough to be a faithful follower of Jesus that even
came relatively close to the level of Paul’s passion and faith.  But
Romans 7:14-24, Paul reveals to the world his doubts in himself.  He
does not trust himself to do the right thing!  He doesn’t expect much
from himself when faced with a decision of right and wrong, and he
doesn’t hope in himself that he’ll have what it takes to make the right
choice.  Crazy!  This is the Great Apostle! 

And what am I?  No different actually.  No different.

So who will free Paul from this life?  Who will free me?  If we are not
able within ourselves to expect or even hope to overcome our
shortfalls, then who can help us overcome?

Disappoint_teeIf I am disappointed in myself, then I am defeated in the expectation
or hope that I have in yourself.  I feel as if I am not adequately
equipped to handle a situation, a person, a task, a responsibility
that’s weighing on me.  I feel as if I will let yourself down, again.
I have lost hope.  I have lost confidence in what I am capable of
doing… or in what I will actually do.

What a miserable person I am!  Sometimes, I am disappointed in my
height (I’m 5’6") even though I can do nothing about becoming taller.
Sometimes, I am disappointed in my lack of completing tasks that are
important to me (I have 3 books 2/3 of the way done).  Sometimes I am
disappointed in my seeming inability to do the right thing (romans 7).

"Thank God!" Paul says, "The answer is in Jesus Christ.  There is now
no condemnation for those who belong to Christ-Jesus.  For the power of
the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the
power of sin that leads to death." (Romans 7:14-8:2 NLT)

The truth is that each of us falls short (again, no pun intended- or
maybe it is).  We are not able to reach the height of the bar that we
know is up there somewhere.  We are stuck down here.  We are unable
within ourselves to overcome such a shortfall.  No wonder we’re
constantly struggling with disappointment and doubt within ourselves.
We have come to realize that we are creatures with chinks in our
armor.  We are not perfect.  We are sinners.  We are limited
physically.  We are limited emotionally.  We are limited socially.  We
are awkward at times.  We are too nervous.  We are too proud.  We are
worried.  We are lacking care.  We are hurters of others.  We are
hurt.  We are trying so hard.  We give up.  We are not God.

So who can free us?  The answer is not us.  We will be disappointed in
ourselves if we trust ourselves to free ourselves.  The answer is in
Jesus.  Only in him can we find peace in ourselves.  As we give him our
shortfall, he pays the debt.  In the Spirit of Jesus is the capacity to
expect and hope.

7 Comments

  1. Deanne,
    You do not need to compare yourself to those around you.
    Instead expend your energies to build on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. (2 Pet 1:5-7 The Message)
    Then this beautiful unique girl that God created will blossom. You will be like a tree planted by streams of water, and you will yield your fruit in God’s perfect timing.

  2. In honor of this post and your comments, I have written this very inspirational poem:
    Oh, what a miserable man am I.
    Imperfect and blemished- about to cry.
    After years and years of looking in the mirror
    The reality of my appearance is now much clearer
    Finally I just have to admit,
    That I do not look like Brad Pitt.
    My height is five feet six inches tall,
    Brad Pitt is not anywhere near that small.
    My head is crowned with thin receding hair,
    He has thick golden locks – it’s just not fair.
    Brad winks and all the girls swoon.
    I wink and it seems there’s a full moon.
    He has chiseled features and rugged man looks,
    I’m skinny, wear glasses… and read a lot of books.
    He’s a superstar admired by every girl and guy,
    Oh, what a miserable man am I.

  3. Its been a long time since I have posted. This spoke to my heart. i find myself being disapointed in myself and never measuring up.. not liking what I see in the mirror.
    I like what james commented on with regards to believing the lies that satan feeds us to keep us stalled. my prayer is that I would stop falling for the lies! I want to be the bug that god created me to be.. by the way bug stands for beautiful unique girl 😉
    Thanks for the though provoking words ken, james and paul.
    Bless ya
    Deanne

  4. Well, someone has suggested that the passage in Romans 7 is the apostle talking about his life before having Holy Spirit within him, as the passage is fairly silent about Holy Spirit within it, until the end where it is obvious the impact which Holy Spirit has on his life.
    As well, earlier in Romans 6 the author suggests that we are both slave and free at the same time; that we are either a slave to sin and free from God (at least being righteous), or we are free from sin and a slave to God and his righteousness. In the latter, it’s not that we are free “from” sinning, but rather that sin is no longer our master and we do not have to obey it; in fact, through the power of Holy Spirit living in us we can follow his lead (because God is now our master) and sin no longer has its hold as it once did. Obviously, followers of Jesus continue to sin, yes, but they don’t have to anymore, and indeed their lives should indicate a change toward godliness more than a move toward sinfulness.
    And, even earlier, in Romans 5, we see that our identity is in Christ, not Adam; that if the reality of our lives is that we sin just as Adam did, then how much more are we like Christ because of his ability to, by the one man’s sacrifice, wipe away all sin! Therefore, our identity is not, as some have suggested, in our sinful nature (because that is not our true nature), but rather in Christ as he not only lived within the reality of a truly connected relationship with the Father, but has purchased for us also the stronger reality that his sacrifice, his righteousness, his salvation is greater, stronger, more powerful and even more of a reality than what our sin has brought upon us.
    So when it comes to looking in the mirror, do I see the uniquely created person God created me as (and to be) or do I choose to live under earthly standards which tell me I’m not good enough and need to be more like someone else instead of more like my Creator.
    Have fun preparing my friend!!!
    -paulz

  5. Beautiful comment, James. Thanks for this well-thought and well-spoken word. Sounds like you could give the sermon for me on Sunday!
    It’s a great question: “What role/responsibility does the local church have in the way individuals within the body view themselves?” Like you say, self-reflection is an individual action, but it shouldn’t be done in isolation. I’ll think more on this today as I prep for Sunday morning.

  6. There are many ways that I can look at myself. I can see myself through my distorted lenses, and my perceived weakenesses – and become unable to do anything, or through my perceived strengths – and become so full of myself that I am totally useless to anyone.
    Worse yet, I can believe the lies that Satan feeds me, that I am worthless, or that I am superman, with the resulting implications.
    Alternatively, I can believe what people tell me, and after trying for awhile to please people discover that I can’t please anybody so I give up.
    As a Christian, I can have a different perspective, I can see myself the way God sees me in Christ – forgiven, Rom 7:14-8:2, and created by a loving Heavenly Father – Psalm 139:13-17, Rom 8:15-16, Gal 4:5-7, then I can in faith be who God created me to be (living only to please God) and by faith do what God called me to do.
    It is only as we are surrounded by people who see us the way God’s sees us, that we are able to move from ‘being stalled’. It is only as we are surrounded by people who live their life confident that they belong to Jesus Christ, in faith, hope and love, that we are able to step out in faith. It is only as we take our eyes off of ourselves and fix our eyes on Christ that we are able to find the faith to press on. Heb 12:1-2.
    Even though ultimatley it is a personal choice what we believe about ourselves and how we see ourselves – what role / responsibility does the local church have in the way inidivduals within the body view themselves? What right do we have as a church to say to the watching world that they can have hope, that in Christ they can become new creatures, if we cannot help the people within our walls to live with faith, hope and love? (1 Tim 6:11-12).

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