Ladies, in this, the second blog post in our series exploring our true identity, let’s look at whether you’re walking around with a mistaken identity.
Here’s what I mean: there is a very good chance, especially if you’re basing your self-identity and self-worth on the three cultural myths we covered last week, that you’re viewing yourself entirely incorrectly.
Though you might not be aware of it, you are carting around a personal identification photo with you 24/7. Whether you’re in the shower or in the grocery store, at the gym or in your kitchen. Even when you’re sound asleep, buried under mounds of covers.
Clearly, I’m not talking about the photo on your driver’s license. The identification photo I’m talking about is your inner self-portrait. The self-identity that positively, or negatively, affects your every thought and action. The self-identity that broadcasts to the world who you think you are.
Hear me on this, Ladies: who you THINK you are is NOT who you ARE, if your self-portrait is out of whack.
It might be time to get a new ID if you’re walking around defeated, demoralized, and depressed! It critical that you and I walk in the truth of our inherent worth!
How Do You See You?
When you think of yourself, do you worry that people will reject you if they see the “real” you? That people will think you’re stupid? Or silly? Or loud? Or irritating? If you had a critical parent or teacher, you may very well feel all of those things. If so, dear beloved gal of God, your inner self-portrait is badly out of focus.
I personally find it extremely irritating that the opinions of others has a powerful effect on our self-image. At least until we get clear on the worth God has already proclaimed over us. Until we can walk in the reassurance of God’s unceasing grace, the opinions of others will more often than not influence our emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being.
This is because research shows that we tend to act in harmony with what we perceive ourselves to be. And often we allow our perception of ourselves to be based entirely on how others treat us.
So, if, for example, you see yourself as a failure, you will find some ways to fail, no matter how hard you desire to succeed. “I’m just not smart,” you might tell yourself. Or “I always mess up.” Or “I never get ahead.” Or “I will always be ugly and fat.” #shakeitoff #reorientyourvisual
I get it. Truly, I do. I was raised by a super critical mother. A mother who constantly found fault with me and constantly compared me to my younger siblings. One of the most hurtful things my mother ever said to me: “Why can’t you be as mature as your little sister?” Her criticism was cutting, as I was 16 and my sister only eight! For YEARS after I struggled to overcome the need to prove myself to everyone. “Ms. Know-It-All” was probably a good nickname for me during that time. (Apologies to anyone who knew me then!!) Only by beginning to see myself through God’s amazing grace did I become okay with not being perfect.
Is Your Vision Cloudy?
Women with a cloudy self-portrait display a number of debilitating traits. Let’s look at just three of them:
Trait #1: Your Cloudy Self-Portrait Causes You Difficulty With Relating to Others
This is especially true when you are in the presence of people who remind you of your perceived short-comings. Women with a poor sense of identity can be so needy that they are incapable of giving selfless attention to others. The unfortunate result is that others view them as uncaring or egocentric. Others may not realize that your self-perceived inadequacy prevents you from having the courage to reach out and care for them.
Trait #2: Your Cloudy Self-Portrait Causes You to Constantly Look to Others for Your Worth
The problem with this trait is that as you are allowing others to determine your worth, you perceive your worth to be in constant flux. When you’re around people who affirm and praise you, you feel worthy. But when you’re around critical friends, family members, or co-workers, your sense of self-worth plunges. You are, in effect, a slave to the opinions of others. Ladies, I parked here for many years, as I sought approval and validation. The weariness of never liking myself was almost, at times, more than I could bear. Hallelujah that we don’t have to stay here!
Trait #3: Your Cloudy Self-Portrait Causes You to Have Negative Expectations
Ladies, if you anticipate being rejected, cheated, and depreciated, your own self-defeating behaviors—including distrust and suspicion—may cause these very things to happen to you. Any woman who imagines herself to be a worthless sinner potentially opens the door to sinful actions and habits. It breaks God’s heart to see us walk in personal inadequacy! We are beloved daughters of the Most High God! Let’s know it, believe it, and act like it!
Seeing Yourself as God Does!
If we are to alter our inner self-portrait to gain a healthy identity, we must align our view of ourselves with God’s view of us. Ladies, this is entirely possible—no matter how far we think the leap to be!
How does this amazing transformation take place?
I promise you that we’ll answer this question in greater detail during future posts in this series. But just know that it requires three doable steps.
1) We accept that God loves us.
I love that Joyce Meyer once used lipstick to write “God Loves Me” on her bathroom mirror—and kept repeating the phrase over and over and over until one day she realized with a start that she believed it! Get out your lipstick, ladies! It’s time to get this truth down deep into your heart!
2) We commit ourselves to absorbing the character of God by studying His word.
Please don’t be one of those defeated Christians who doesn’t know the power of the Bible! Write scriptures down on index cards and put them EVERYWHERE to remind yourself of how God sees you. I have scripture notes on my fridge, in my car, even in my bathroom. Trust me, they help!
3) We allow mature, loving Christians to help us reshape our self-portrait until we see ourselves as Jesus does.
It’s important that we spend time with people who build us up with God’s love. Ask God to bring girlfriends into your life who will help you to walk in your true identity. Ladies who will remind you of what Jeremiah 31:3 says: That YOU are fully loved and accepted—day in and day out—for all time!
See you next week, when we talk about living in the light of God’s view of us, rather than the shadows we often create for ourselves! Don’t miss it!
Our 12-Week Journey Through Our True Personal Identity
Part of rightly understanding our true personal identity requires that we know how God sees us. As our loving creator, God says two things to us: “You are my child,” and “You are chosen.” Do you sense God’s heart toward you? Can you wrap you mind around the truth that God was thinking about you before He even created the world?
Let that truth sink into the depth of your heart and mind. It may take a lot of determination on your part, but as you begin to realize just how valuable you are in God’s eyes, you will be able to break the chains that keep you from accepting and loving yourself. You can drop the burden of what other people think—and the judgments you hold for yourself!
During this 12-week blog series, we’ll post about personal identity. Each post will include a song to remind us of the truth of how God sees us. Our song this week is Through Your Eyes by Britt Nicole. Britt has it exactly right: “Lord, you don’t want perfection, you just want my heart.” Accept this truth to experience the true joy of being YOU!
This blog series is based on Josh’s book See Yourself as God Sees You.
It is our prayer that during this series you come to recognize and accept your true personal identity!
God couldn’t love you more!
BONUS: Enjoy a free download of Josh’s message, See Yourself as God Sees you, using Coupon code SEE17 (expires in August).