There are several characters within the Bible that I am drawn to Abraham for his faith to follow God’s command without needing explanation, Peter for his courage to step out of the boat and David for his willingness to go into a battle where the odds were stacked against him. However, Esther is the one I can relate to and has had such an impact on my life. No, I am not a beautiful young lady who won the position of queen in a beauty pageant. Continue reading
We fall victim to societal pressure to believe that our appearance, status and possessions will make our lives better. When we give into this notion, we are letting society construct our identity. The real question we need to ask ourselves is where does our identity come from?
Another way to put this is: What types of things define a person? Say, for example, you were to introduce yourself to someone you do not know: How would you define yourself? Would you define yourself by your family relationships, by a professional title, or lack of one, or by where you live or go to church? People generally define themselves by age, intelligence, education, marital status, material things, and family.
Satan, the Enemy, knows exactly how and where to attack each one of us. He knows where we are vulnerable. As Christians, we need to learn to recognize the lies and replace them with God’s truth. Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings of inadequacy, and then exhaust ourselves trying to hide them. God, on the other hand, wants us to focus on His acceptance, security and significance and thank Him for His promises that remind us of who we are in Him. We need to remember that God is well pleased with us before we do anything simply because we are His children.
God was there from the very beginning. He spoke each one of us into our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), at just the right time to be here now. It was not by accident, nor was it a surprise to God. We need to get rid of any image of ourselves that is not from God. We have to stop believing what others have said or how we have been labeled in the past, and stop accepting how others define us.
This is a concept that I have struggled with for some time. Honestly, it is so much easier for me to believe the negative than the positive about myself. My insecurities about myself and falling victim to the lies started back in the first grade. My teacher’s negative comments stuck with me. Throughout school, I became more swayed by what others thought about me. Before long, I could not even begin to answer the question, Who am I? Because I had no idea. I had lost all sense of “me” and who I really was. It took quite a while to break free from those lies. In fact if I let my defenses down, the lies and insecurities start to infiltrate my mind and try to take over even to this day.
When we let these lies take hold in our mind, we begin to feel as if we have to hide behind a mask. That way, we can present to the world what we think they want to see. In actuality, by listening to others instead of God to frame our identity, we are building a wall that masks who we truly are. With the empowering of the Holy Spirit and prayer, we can start taking down this wall that has been built by others piece by piece to pave the path to victory — our identity in Christ.
When you start comparing others’ outside with your inside, you need to stop and be reminded what God says about you. (identities from Made To Crave – Lysa TerKeurst, 52)
Forgiven child of God (Romans 3:24)
- Set-free child of God (Romans 8:1-2)
- Accepted child of God (1 Corinthians 1:2)
- Holy child of God (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- Made-new child of God (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Loved child of God (Ephesians 1:4)
- Close child of God (Ephesians 2:13)
- Confident child of God (Ephesians 3:12)
- Victorious child of God (Romans 8:37)
When the comparisons start flooding your mind, let the words of this song, More Beautiful You, wash over you. You are loved, special and beautiful – just as you are.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today loaded down with the burden of trying to be what others want me to be. I ask that you take this from me and remind me that my identity comes from you alone. You formed me for a specific purpose and plan. You do not make mistakes. Therefore, help me to daily let my true identity in You shine forth. In Your Precious Name, Amen.
If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? The majority of us would start with our appearance and then maybe include our occupation and marital status. In most cases, it wouldn’t get any deeper than that. However, there are many more components that compose the real you.
For me personally, I struggled in the past with not only poor body image, but also comparing myself to others. I wanted to have the perfect look, because then everything else would fall into place, right? So, I stressed over an extra pound here or a bad hair day there. All the while thinking that if the outside was better then I would be better on the inside. This way of thinking quickly sucked me into the trap of comparing how someone looked on the outside to how I was feeling on the inside.
I love what Renee says about comparing/competing in Chapter 8 of A Confident Heart, “ God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be” (pg. 137).
I had to come to a point where I saw who I was through God’s eyes – my true identity. God didn’t create flat, one-dimensional people. He gave us spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personalities and experiences, which make each one of us unique.
Each and every one of us has been given spiritual gifts to use for God’s purpose. Think about it like this, I’m certain that if someone gives you a Christmas gift you won’t leave it wrapped and sitting on a shelf or the bottom of your closet. Therefore, you and I need to utilize the gifts God has given to us.
I enjoyed taking the spiritual gifts assessment on Wednesday. If you haven’t taken one before I suggest you spend a few moments to see where your strengths lie. My top three were teaching, faith and exhortation. God has given me these gifts to reach out and shine His light and encourage those around me.
God has also put passions within each one of us. One of mine is to help and lift up those who are broken and hurting. Because of various experiences God has brought me through, I can identify with many hurts and pains.
Besides gifts and passions, we also have various abilities. Some people can sing, paint, lead, speak – you name it. God has blessed me with the ability to write. I first saw this as a possibility when I went through this study through OBS two years ago.
It was at this time I was encouraged to start a blog for the first time. I was so nervous when I hit the publish button the first time, but I chose to use what God had given me and be available to His leading. Since that first post, I have written and published my first book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask, started on my second book and met amazing women through my blog that have touched my heart – all because I chose to use the abilities, gifts, passions and experiences God had created me with for His purpose and plan.
Every pieces of us as individuals may not make sense or be appealing, but combined together you and I are each a living breathing masterpiece from God. You wouldn’t go into a museum and take apart pieces of art thinking you knew better than the artist, so why do we do the same thing with God?
When you and I begin to embrace who God has created us to be, it will lead to confidence.
Your Turn:Who are you? What gifts, passions and abilities has God created in you? Most importantly, what are you going to choose to do with them?
There were many times in the past that I fell into the notion that I was not good enough – from being excluded in school, to comparing myself to others to my husband leaving me. For this reason, the enemy uses this doubt frequently in attacking me.
As long as I am stuck in that downward spiral, I am not moving forward or following after God’s plan for my life. The enemy can simply set back because I am already discouraged and defeated.
But God doesn’t see any of us as not good enough.
You and I must remember that God has made each one of us unique for His plan and purpose. The world needs us to fulfill that plan. We have to come to a point where we see ourselves as God sees us.
I encourage you to read through some of the great scriptures from Renee Swope’s Confident Heart:
- I am accepted: Ephesians 1:3-8
- I am secure: Romans 8:31-39
- I am significant: Ephesians 2:10
Your Turn: Who are you? Not whom others say you are, but whom God says you are. I encourage you to let your true identity in Christ shine through to the dark world today.
Resources: Confident Heart – Renee Swope
Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask – Jamy Whitaker