I was feeling pretty good about myself as I rode my motorcycle around the little town of Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park. The sun was shining, it was hot outside and the place was packed with people.
Many times in the past I had watched guys ride through this town on their motorcycles and thought, "Look at that lucky dude! What a great place to ride!" and now I was the "lucky dude" that everyone else was watching and envying. It felt good to be the centre of attention.
As I turned the corner and headed back down past all the shops to show off one more time, a couple of guys stepped out on the street right in front of me. I grabbed the brakes and the clutch lever and stopped. The guys jumped back and gave me one of those "Oops – sorry about that" waves. I waved back, let out the clutch… and stalled the bike.
I had been cruising around town in second gear and when I stopped so quickly I forgot to put it back into first. Now, stalled in front of an ice cream shop packed with people, I could not get the bike started again. As a line of cars formed behind me, my "cool biker" image was fading fast.
In fact, the line of cars made even more people come over to see what was going on and soon I had a huge crowd staring at me for all the wrong reasons. Finally, I got the bike fired and drove straight out of the park. I was too embarrassed to be seen there anymore. In a split second, I went from "Hey, look at me!" to "What are you looking at?"
Isn't it strange how often things backfire when we are motivated by pride or the desire to impress others? When we buy into the idea that our self-worth is dependent on our performance and other people's opinion of us, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment because we cannot do everything perfectly and we cannot control what others think of us. Maybe what we need is a different reason to feel good about ourselves.
What if your self-worth was based solely on the fact that you are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28) and that he loves you? What if your self-worth had more to do with "Who you are" rather than "What you do?"
Maybe we would feel better about ourselves if we were less "self-focused" and "others-focused" and were more "God-focused."
"For God so loved the world [including you] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).