I’m sure we’ve all heard the “you’re special” message like a million times. We know we’re special, right? But how do we get from “knowing” we’re special to acting like it? If we believe we are unique and special and loved by God, why do we allow ourselves to get pushed around by lying thoughts telling us we’re not good enough? Why do we let outside sources define our value? Why do we listen to people around us and take on their negative outlook? Why do we let people’s words belittle us? Or walk around in the world trying not to draw attention to ourselves, telling ourselves not to make any noise, not to stand up for ourselves because we are too afraid to disrupt the status quo? If we are truly special and loved by God (which we are), and we believe it, it’s time to start living like it.
You know, I’ve always been an artist even from an early age. And I was pretty confident in the abilities God gave me because it was always well received and I always recognized it was a gift from God. Like if anyone ever asked if I could draw a certain thing, I always say yes because I can usually figure out how to do it. And most people raved about my artwork so I started to think I was pretty good at it. But there was a time in my life when I worked for a certain person and when this person would request illustrations or graphic design, I’d come up with like 30 designs or ideas and they would say no to every single one of them. Not only would they say no, but they would ask some teenager with an app on their phone to design the project instead. …on their phone! After years of this (yes, I stayed too long), it broke me. I began to doubt the talent God had given me. I started to believe I actually had lied to myself my whole life and I had no talent at all in reality. Looking back now, that seems ridiculous right? That I would even believe that, but I did. It’s because I let someone else, and how they valued my talent, determine how I viewed myself and what I believed about my talent. I was completely broken. After I stopped working for them, it took about a year for me to regain my confidence again. For me to come back to my senses and realize what I had allowed into my thoughts and beliefs. I had to recognize what had happened and come back to the truth of who I am in Christ and what God has given me and come back to my true identity. I tell this story to emphasize the point that it’s important to evaluate where you’re at right now and the influences you are allowing in. I needed to ask myself, who am I listening to? Who am I allowing to define me? If it’s not the truth of God’s word, then there’s some work to do.
We don’t have to believe every thought that pops into our head. We don’t have to listen to every person who belittles us. We don’t have to take the berating attacks of the enemy! We don’t have to measure up to any woman on a magazine cover or be like the lady next door we think is better than us. These external standards will always cause us to think less of what we are, and it’s a trap.
Today, I want to shine the light on the way out of this trap… er… mindset — and that’s all it is: a mindset. A way of thinking that keeps us from being all that God created us to be. And it’s easy to fall into this trap because false messaging is all around us and constantly barraging our brains! It never stops! Just like fear never stops talking, all these other messages never stop because the enemy never stops trying to derail our destiny. Why would he? He wants nothing more than to destroy us, so he’s never going to stop trying to pull us down and if he can cause us to trip up just once, then he’s that much closer to his goal.
How do we walk in the truth and begin to own our identity in Christ? How do we even know who we are supposed to be? I know I’m hitting on some big concepts here today, so how do we know or begin to recognize if we’ve been listening to lies? It all starts with our thoughts. Are our thoughts true? We’ve been listening to our own thoughts for our whole life! Just a constant tape recording rolling in our head. No one else but God hears what we think, so maybe it’s time to examine our thoughts and see what’s true and what’s a lie. Here’s an example. If you’ve been listening to the lie that you’re no good, no one likes you, you don’t have value, you never do things right, you always fail, so why bother? This false way of thinking affects everything! If you believe this, then you will not go out of your way to do anything for God because you believe you have no value and you may think what could you even do to add to the Kingdom? Nothing you do would be good enough. So why bother? Can you see how this thinking traps you? Can you see how this is exactly what the enemy wants? For you to believe you can’t do anything so you don’t?! Then we get derailed from God’s purpose by not even starting. We don’t move forward because we don’t feel we are good enough to move at all. It’s sad, but it’s so easy to get stuck in this trap. There’s good news though. Lies can only hold you if you let them. The second you realize the truth, you are instantly set free. Lies are just smoke and mirrors. Paper chains painted to look like metal. They can only hold you if you believe them. It’s time to shred that paper chain and walk out!
Here’s the truth. Our thoughts can come from a few places. Sometimes the thoughts are from the enemy speaking to us. Sometimes it’s our own thoughts, our human nature, sometimes our spiritual nature, sometimes it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us, and sometimes it’s just worldly messages from advertising or wherever … and anything in the world is not of God, so that falls into the category of the enemy. (if you’re not for God, you’re against Him Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). So just because you have a thought does not mean you have to keep it. You do not have to think it. It may be the enemy’s! So we need to hold every thought up to the light of the truth in God’s Word to know whether what we are thinking is even real! 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is powerful in this regard.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
I was just talking with a lady this week who was telling me about someone being just nasty to her. Lashing out at her with mean and hurtful words. And we talked about how it’s really not that person, it’s the enemy using that person to try and get to her. Now she’s a really strong lady so she recognized the attack for what it was and she started to tell me who she is in Christ — now that lady can preach and get fired up for sure! But it really encouraged me to see that in her life, even when terrible things happen, she’s secure in her true identity.
We are not fighting against people (as the verse above says, we are not warring against the flesh, or things we can see in our physical world, it’s a spiritual battle), so even though people may say hurtful things to us — that does not mean we have to believe them! If they are not for God, they are against Him, and therefore the enemy can use their words to try to bring us down. That person may not even realize how much their words can affect us, they are just being used by the enemy. So don’t be mad at people and don’t listen to them when they’re saying those hurtful things. It can only hurt us if we let it. If we accept and begin to own what they say! But if we don’t take it on in our mind and believe it, then it’s meaningless! Jesus said “Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them.” in John 5:41-43. Jesus was basically saying, you’re not on God’s side so I can recognize that your words are coming from the enemy so I don’t care what you think about Me. When people belittle us and hurt us with their words, it’s hard not to take it personally, but just realize they are not lashing out at you, it’s the enemy using them to lash out at Jesus in you. If Jesus is our example, then we should not care about what people think of us. It may not be easy at first, but we can start to train our mind to shrug it off and not worry about what people think of us. The only thing that matters is what God thinks of us.
Which brings me to the last point — once we can get our mindset right and take our thoughts captive to the truth, the next part of owning our identity in Christ is to actually know and understand who we are in Christ. This is a powerful transformation that takes place in our lives. When we finally figure out who we are in Christ, the enemy’s words no longer have power over us. When you know who you are in Christ you move from knowing to being. Being loved and special becomes your identity — not that you weren’t loved and special before, you always have been, but you move into the place of owning that identity. You are a child of God a precious daughter of the King, a PRINCESS! And NOTHING, can take that away from you (Romans 8:31-39). That doesn’t mean you treat people like you’re a diva, but maybe you may have more compassion toward people who mistreat you because you recognize where their venom is truly coming from.
So how do we know who we are in Christ? It’s an easy answer but it can also be a long journey. Because the truth is in God’s Word. We are everything the Bible says we are, but we will only know what it says we are if we spend time reading it. How else can we get His word in our heart to transform our lives if we don’t spend the time in it? That’s why it’s an easy (and obvious answer) but it will take a lifetime of soaking in His word, and even then we may never fully comprehend everything within it because God is so multi-facited that our human brains can’t fathom the depths of God fully until we cross over into eternity. It may not be an instant “oh I got it, I know who I am” situation, but a transformation over time. We can’t know everything God knows until we join Him in eternity, but what we have, we can continue to grow in until we cross that line. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.”
John 8:31-32 says So Jesus said … “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if we abide in God’s word, we will know the truth of who we are and will be set free from those paper chains, those false mindsets and lies holding us back.
So the best way to start such a journey is to take the first step. Spend time in God’s Word every day to see what He says about you. Even if you can only spend 5 minutes at a time to start out, just start. Because His opinion of you is the only thing that matters. No human words should hold a candle to what God thinks about you.
To get you started, I’ve compiled a short list below. I’ve written the scripture as a personalized statement and I would encourage you to say them out loud so your mind can hear you saying these things about yourself. It’s a good step toward changing a false mindset to speak truth about yourself. I’ve also compiled the verses from above. I’d encourage you to read through them this week and then journal about how you see yourself in light of what the scripture says. As you’re journaling, ask yourself if you’ve seen yourself differently than what the Bible says about you. Have you been believing lies about yourself? If so, what is the truth? Write out scriptures that particularly speak to you and memorize them so you can start to retrain your thinking to the truth. When those false thoughts come up again, tell them NO, the Bible says ….[and then say what the Bible says] and stop the lie with truth. We have to pull down those strongholds. God gives us the power to do it, but it’s up to us to do the work and change our mindset. So you can stay in your mindset as long as you like. But when you’re ready to break out of it, all the tools are already available to you in His Word (2 Peter 1:3).
- Matthew 12:30
- Luke 11:23
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
- John 5:41-43
- Romans 8:31-39
- Deuteronomy 29:29
- 2 Peter 1:3
- John 8:31-32
I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14)
I am blessed coming and going (Deut. 28:6)
My God always causes me to triumph (2 Cor. 2:14)
God has given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)
I have the righteousness of God in me (2 Cor. 5:21)
All things work together for my good (Rom. 8:28)
I am called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28)
I am loved by God (Rom 8:38-39, Isaiah 54:10, Rom 5:8, Eph. 2:4-5)
I have a fresh start today (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13)
The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
God directs my path (Prov. 3:5-6)
God, I trust You! (Prov. 3:5-6)
God has good things in store for me (Jeremiah 29:11)
God hears me when I pray (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
For more resources on renewing your mind and breaking down the lies we’ve believed, check out BarbRaveling.com. She’s got a lot of great books and free resources on this subject. She also has a section on Truth Journaling which is a great tool to replace lies with truth as you are renewing your mind and putting on the identity of who you are in Christ.