I don’t know about you, but I have always seemed to base my self worth off of what others think of me. I know, I know – it’s terrible. I can almost guarantee, however, that some of you can really relate to that. If you’ve ever experienced the anxiety that accompanies people pleasing, then you know what I am talking about. The subtle looks, the loss of affection or praise due to disappointment and even the words that leave scars – all of these things can affect what we believe about who we are.
Living life with a false perception of who we are is not what God intended for us. The One that dreamt us up, handpicked special quirks and qualities, chose the perfect time for us to enter the world and created us for a special purpose wants us to know who we are in Him. He wants us to shift our focus off of the thoughts and opinions of others and to set our minds on Him and His truth. I have identified 5 ways to help us do that:
1. Surrender all of the labels.
We must first ask Him to take away all of the labels and lies we have been believing about ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even recognize certain labels because they’ve been stuck to us for so long – they feel like part of our actual identity. God wants to remove every stinging word, reoccurring lie and painful reaction from our hearts and make us new again.
2. Fill our lives with scripture.
Having scripture around us is essential to fighting back at the enemy’s attacks over our identity. This can be done by finding scriptures related to our identity and writing them down on sticky notes to place around the house, on note cards to keep in a purse or even finding a wallpaper off of Pinterest for your phone’s lock screen. Another great way to get more scripture into our lives is through worship music. There are many songs that have been written, giving melody to scriptures found all throughout the Bible. If you don’t know where to start, Ellie Holcomb and Leeland are great artists who have incorporated scripture into their music. I think it’s critical to sing or speak scripture over our lives each and every day.
3. Think about what is lovely.
I’ll admit that sometimes this is not such an easy task, but it proves to be a life changer. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” If we constantly ran every thought we had about ourselves by this filter, our minds and hearts would be so much healthier. I believe our thoughts about others would be better, too.
4. Trust He is who He says He is.
In His Word, God is described as steadfast, secure, our protector, our comforter – and He means it. He does not throw these character traits out there to mislead us. He is who He says He is. When we believe that God does not lie, we can look at ourselves and see beauty because of what He has said in His Word about us. Because everything He says is true, we can rest in what He says about us and hold it dear to our hearts as proof of our value.
5. Ask Him for affirmation.
Our God is so kind and so understanding of our human state. He understands our deep longing for approval and love – and He wants to drench us in it. We don’t have to go through life acting like we don’t need affirmation. Instead, we can ask Him to remind us of His love and show us His affection for us. He is the only One who can erase a lifetime of lies with one whisper of truth from His lips.
God’s thoughts of you and me are truly the only ones that matter. His whispers of love are incredibly special because He sees and knows us in every way – yet He still calls us His beloved. Beloved is not a wavering or uncertain identity. Rather, it is a qualified, protected, treasured, valued, delighted, adored and loved identity – an identity that is steadfast. Nothing we do can add to or take away from our identity in Him because it was placed upon us the moment Jesus died for us – we just have to accept it. We have to choose to wear that identity each day and believe who God says we are: His beloved. I’d much rather cling to that one label from my Jesus than a thousand labels from others any day!