I hope you are anticipating a joyous Easter. If you’re not on my newsletter mailing list you’ll want to join because this week’s newsletter shows you how Five Words Can Change Your Life.
I am starting a new CORE Focus Group Session that will meet on Saturday, April 26 and Saturday May 3 from 10:30 to 12:00 ET. This is conducted entirely by telephone so you can attend from the privacy of your car if you’d like. I only do one Saturday group session a year so if this time frame meets your needs and you’d like to be a part please join us.
Today’s Question: I am 61 years old. My marriage has been in recovery for some time; God has brought us a long way. There is still much distance. Neither of us really know how to be close; I still have a lot of fear, but not nearly what it used to be.
My problem is that for most of my life, my identity has been defined by the men and strong personalities in my life so that I struggle to be able to trust my own ideas, convictions, faith, the calling of God on my life.
I need to allow God, in His love and grace, to define who I am. I need to have a much stronger root or foundation in His truth for me, but I feel paralyzed to know how to make this shift.
Answer: You are not alone. Many people find trusting what God says above the words of mere mortals very tough. But think about it. Why would anyone allow another flawed human being to determine his or her value and worth? In addition, we often have some pretty unrealistic expectations of ourselves such as I should know better, or I should be better than I am. When we measure our value and worth against our ability to maintain either our own or someone else’s ideal standards we always fall short and suffer. No one ever stands next to “perfect” and feels good about being imperfect.
But you want to know HOW to absorb the truth of God’s word so that it impacts your thinking, feeling and living. That’s the goal for all of us. Romans 12:2 says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Here’s an analogy: when you’re ill, you need some medicine. But the medicine only works if you take it as you’re supposed to and you take it consistently so it can do its work in your body.
In the same way, absorbing God’s medicine of truth takes time and consistent intake. Please be patient with yourself. God is. He knows that absorbing pure truth is often too potent to be administered alone. Truth is always mixed with grace and love, and the Lord usually gives us small amounts of truthful medicine to start. Just as we need to take certain medicines for the rest of our lives, the healing elixir of God’s truth isn’t only taken when we’re sick and weak. We need daily doses of it to help us stay healthy and grow.
The Bible says that our heart automatically leans toward believing lies over truth (Jeremiah 8:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:25). We don’t intentionally plant lies in our heart, but like weeds in our flower garden, they are there. And just as weeds mar the beauty of a garden, lies and deception (whether it be self-deception or lies told to us) ruin a soul.
When we believe lies about ourselves, lies about God, lies about life, lies about how to handle problems, and lies about others, we become or stay mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ill. To become healthy, we must first identify these lies and then renounce them for what they are. This process needs to be done regularly because, like weeds, many lies we have believed have deep roots that are not easily killed.
Next, as we grow to see things more truthfully, we must learn how to live in that different reality. For example, how do I live as a woman of dignity and value? How should I handle myself when I fail or disappoint myself? How do I speak the truth in love to others when they hurt me? How do I draw close to God when I no longer see him as a harsh judge or as a disinterested Deity, but rather as a loving Father who enjoys me? Learning to believe these truths is the first step; living from them takes time and practice. As in most other things, the more we consistently apply what we are learning to real-life situations, the more we will gain confidence and become better with these situations. We will find ourselves becoming whole and healthy.
So friend, each time you identify a lie, renounce it. Call it a lie and tell yourself what the truth is. Next, pray those scripture verses that support God’s truths out loud. This begins the process of uniting God’s truth with a heart willing to receive it. You might not yet be totally convinced of the trustworthiness of God’s character, but you can, by faith, choose to trust it anyway. We do this every day when we choose to put our trust in a cab driver we don’t know to safely take us somewhere or a doctor to give us the right medicine when we’re sick. In many ways, we choose to take a step of faith and trust, even when we’re not sure. Faith is a decision our will makes – even when our feelings are reluctant or negative.
Take that leap of faith and tell God you are willing to believe his words over your own internal words or the lies you’ve been told. Start to internalize his Word every day into your heart. And perhaps a good place to start is with Paul’s words to us in Ephesians. He writes,
“Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved [me] and chose [me] in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt [me] into his family by bringing [me] to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT
Some other blogs on this topic are:
Friends, share how you have learned to believe God over your own thoughts and feelings or the negative words of other people.