A few years ago I was facilitating a Bible study by Beth Moore called “Believing God”. During this study I realized that I was allowing poor choices that I made in my late teens and early twenties (and the consequences of those choices) to define who I thought I was. For over twenty decades I was believing that I was too “bad” to be accepted and if people really “knew” what I had done then, well, it would prove that I wasn’t “good” enough to be accepted. That’s over twenty years (probably closer to thirty but who’s counting) on this earth believing that I didn’t really deserve to have the life I was living. It got me wondering, if I was thinking this way then there might be others out there like me who were or are allowing “mistakes” that they may have made in their past to define who they think they are today and subsequently affecting how they live their lives. This kind of thinking is really a self-fulfilling prophecy …a “I think therefore I am” (and I know myself better than anyone else) kind of mentality.
I was living my life believing in a lie that told me that I was somehow not accepted, not “good” enough because of my past mistakes. This way of thinking not only affected how I lived my life but the fallout from living and believing in this lie affected those around me, especially those I loved the most. I was observing and not really participating in the world around me. I was the queen of pretence, pretending that all was well, laughing, making myself participate in life on the outside while inside I was quietly dying from self-imposed shame.
What we believe is so much a part of us that we hold it for dear life, even the parts that are a detriment to our mental and sometimes physical health. In my case I wasn’t even aware that I was believing this way. It was just a part of who I was. It wasn’t until taking part in this bible study and being challenged to measure what I thought about myself against what God thought about me, that I began to question some of the things that I was believing about myself as being true.
This was not an easy thought process to overcome (and one that I am still working through). I chose to do away with the belief system that I had and embrace the challenge to believe that I am who God says I am. In order for me to do this I had to get into His Word and find out what God had to say about me. Let me also state that I am working from the position that I believe that God’s Word is TRUTH and it is from here that all things are measured. Once I had my list of who God said that I was, I had to keep telling myself that this was true because it was in God’s Word. I was wonderfully and beautifully made, I was and am loved more than I can ever imagine, I am made in His image and in His eyes I am perfect and the list went on and on. I had to begin to believe that what He said in His Word was meant for me. At first this was more of a logical debate with myself, I would say, “Well if this [I would put in something that God said I was] is the case then I am not who I say I am or who (I think) others see me as because God does not lie”. I also prayed that God would help me see myself as He saw me and open my eyes to see other parts of my belief system that did not line up with His Word. For me this was not an overnight process. It was one that took a while to “catch” and a process that I am still learning to overcome.
I can say that today I am believing that I am who God says I am. I am resting in that truth and it is that truth that I bring up to myself over and over when the lies try to weasel their ways back into my thoughts. I am forgiven therefore there is no longer any shame…but this thought is for another post. 🙂
If you find that you can identify in any way with what I was telling myself then I encourage you to seek out what God’s Word has to say about who He thinks you are. You will be greatly amazed at how much He loves you. 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you.