If point zero is the dividing line between negatives and positives (think Algebra), then I’ve been on both sides of the line. I’m referring to emotional balance, self-esteem, and all the trappings that go with it. I have struggles with failures, missed dreams, discrimination of all sorts enough to understand the negative field. I have had some successes and accolades to understand the positive side. They are both fraught with the human condition. We are not perfect creatures. We must deal with other people’s judgements, our own filters from childhood through which we observe situations, a fleshly nature that keeps calling us back into baser impulses, the presence of evil in this world, as many will agree, and with our healthy pull toward walking the higher path of life. Some will call that the “God vacuum.”
I have found when I am down and things aren’t going too well, I can hear the cosmic voice, “You aren’t worth very much. You did that wrong, and everyone will notice and not like you. You’ll never realize that dream, why bother? Give it up and just live for today…eat, drink, and be merry sort of thing (according to your particular vise).”
I have found when I have experienced a particularly joyful and exhilarating success, the voice changes, “Wow, you are wonderful! Look at what you did. So and so will really take notice of your success and you will be lifted up.” The impulse to think well on oneself rises up within.
From dealing with both sides of the zero line many times, my reaction has become one of generally laughing at myself, “Well, you’re on this side or that side of the line again, aren’t you?” I recognize what’s happening, brush it off, and give myself the short speech I have reserved for such times:
“You can do nothing of yourself, but by the strength and power of God. He can handle glory much better than you can. You don’t need this added baggage. It just takes energy and time, battling with low esteem or with pride and arrogance, whichever side you’re on. Don’t claim this voice. It is not really your voice. The voice of commitment, humility and love is your true voice.”
God tells me who I am. I go to the scriptures and see where He tells me I am wonderfully made, worth everything to Him, and a co-partner with Him in service to fellowman. (That’s a lot of trust and love in me on His part.) I allow Him to define my identity. Living at point zero gives me peace and rest. I can be who I am, in my place in the universe. There is an order where we can flourish and grow into perfection, where we will no longer have to deal with encroaching temptations.
A problem I find on the positive side is when someone compliments me on a good job. It seems rude to discount it, and many times they are thanking me for an understanding that God has given me to share. I consider that I am God’s representative in this case, so I accept it and hand it on up to Jesus as a sweet fragrance of gratitude. “God is gracious to us, isn’t He?”