A Little Game of He Said/He Said

wash in truthWhen words cut to the very heart of your soul, there is only one way to heal, and that is to replace them with truth. It’s time for a little game of he said/He said.

he said…
I don’t love you anymore.

HE said…
You are loved with an everlasting love that is steadfast, and nothing can separate you from that love. (Jer. 31:3, Psalms, Romans 8:35-39)

he said…
I’ve been trying to escape you.

HE said…
I’ve been pursuing you since the moment of creation. (Proven over and over in His Word.)

he said…
I choose someone else over you.

HE said…
I chose you. (John 15:16)

he said…
I don’t know if I ever wanted you.

HE said…
I have wanted you since before time began, and I prayed for you over 2,000 years ago, that you would be one with me. (John 17:20-21)

he said…
You are not attractive enough.

HE said…
I created you as a beautiful image of Myself. (Genesis 1:27)

he said…
You are not important enough for me to truly get to know you deeply.

HE said…
I know everything about you from the hairs on your head to the thoughts in your thinker. I know you inside and out and back again, and you are precious to me. (Luke 12:7, Psalm 139)

he said…
I do not take pride and joy in you.

HE said…
You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and everything that I make is good. I am proud of you, My Creation. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Hear, oh my heart. Hear these words. Let them seep into every jagged crack, filling in those broken places, making you whole. He will rebuild you and make beauty from ashes. He is God, and He can be trusted.

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

Our idnetity is something we investigate.“To thine own self be true,” said Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

But why? Why should we know and embrace who we are?

Why not just follow the masses? It’s more popular that way.

Why not just live the average Joe life with a white picket fence and money in the bank? Is the American dream, after all.

A knowledge of our identity is not something we’re born with. It’s also not something we just know by the time we’re grown up. It’s something that must be learned, in the same way that we learn how to walk, how to read, how to add, how to tie out shoes, how to cook, and how to drive.

We research. We investigate. We experiment. We review. We repeat the truths over and over again until it is mastered.

Quite frankly, it’s a lot of work, and we’re constantly bombarded by things that try to distract us or confuse us or outright lie to us. But it’s worth every minute of effort.

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

1. It gives clarity and purpose to your days. From our first breath, the average human being possesses 28,835 days on this earth. Days to be spent.

Like money, these days can be spent on anything from “cheap crap” to investing in great riches.

You can buy a cheap plastic toy from the dollar store and it’s only a dollar, but it will break by the end of the week. True. it was only a dollar, but it’s a dollar you will never get back. In the same way, you can give a day to a mediocre life (or even a life of “hell”). But chances are, it will break down or dissatisfy you. And while it may only be a day, you’ll never get it back. The more days you spend this way, the fewer you have left.

Would you not rather spend every day you have on a life lived to its fullest, embracing your place in this world…in history.. in this thing we call life?

Be sure to check out Robert D.’s video for a visual of our days.

2. It proves that we own nothing and are owned by nothing. When we realize we have a reason to live, it gives us a sense of purpose, and only one thing becomes important… that purpose.

There are beautiful gifts that we enjoy along the way, such as family, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep on. And while they may enhance or compliment our purpose, they are only gifts. We do not own them. They are not part of who we are. And they could be taken away at anytime without any warning.

In the same way, nothing owns us. Not our possessions. Not our money (or lack of it). Not any other person. Not any difficult circumstance or situation. If we are here for a purpose, than we belong solely to that purpose and nothing or no one can keep us from that.

3. It gives both confidence and humility. Like super heroes just discovering their secret powers, we see our abilities and strengths in a brand new way. We see them as assets to success… ways to reach our goals and to accomplish our purpose in life.

At the same time, it opens our eyes to the individuality of those around us… our spouse, our children, our brothers, sisters, co-workers, friends, the common stranger. And we realize we’re all super heroes. We all have abilities.

And suddenly we’re consumed with a confident, humble desire to somehow convince the earth’s inhabitants just how incredible they are.

Nothing you’ve learned in life came without some amount of effort. Most of us have never completely mastered a skill overnight. You will bleed, sweat, and cry your way through this journey to finding yourself, but I promise it will be worth every drop of blood, every drop of perspiration, and every tear.

 

*photo credit

In His Image

HisImageOur pastor spoke Sunday on our image. There’s so many little thoughts fluttering around in my head from that sermon, and I’ll probably come back to it here when the thoughts begin to land in an orderly fashion, but one thing he said as a short side comment keeps nudging me.

I hope I’m not misquoting him, but this is what my heart heard. “If you’re trying to change yourself in order to love yourself, you’ve got it backwards. You can’t love what you don’t understand. You’ve gotta learn who God created you to be, then you can love who you are, and as a result, your actions will reflect wise stewardship of the body and mind and heart that He created.”

He took us way back to Genesis and pointed out that every life is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27). We are made in His image. Our bodies, our minds, our personalities, our talents, our built-in interests… they are all in His likeness.

But if we’re all different, then how can we all be in His image? How can we all have bodies and personalities in His likeness? I think it’s because He’s bigger than us. He’s bigger, more complex, more all-encompassing that we can even fathom in our little human minds. And I think He gives us a taste of His loveliness every second of our lives right here in our very own bodies and personalities.

These beautiful likenesses were never meant to be changed. If our body and personality are a glimpse of Himself, then to try so desperately to change these things is to scoff in His face… to call Him ugly and stupid and incompetent. Ouch.

Just grasping the concept that my very existence and being is a glimpse of His majesty… wow! People, I am beautiful. I am glorious. My worth is immeasurable.

And would this truth not spur me to guard my heart, my body, and my personality with wise stewardship? Would it not spur me on to be all that He’s created me to be? Would it not spur me to care for and protect this glimpse of Himself?

Just wrapping my mind around this thought brings tears to my eyes. I feel like I could write forever about the loveliness of all this, and yet I can’t even put it into words. It’s nearly above my human intelligence, but it penetrates my heart, and it makes me smile.

 

*photo credit

Music Mondays: Gold

goldBritt Nicole – Gold

(Listen on Spotify or Youtube)

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feelin
Words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million
 
This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold
 
Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
Just ignore. They don’t know the real you
All the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
Of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter
 
This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold
 
So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
And don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
Yeah there are days that we all feel like we’re messed up
But the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you are
 
This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, It’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold
 
So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out 

 I recently heard Britt Nicole on the radio telling the story behind the birth of this song. She tells how she woke up one morning feeling defeated, beating herself up, and just plain down. She pulled her Bible into her lap and prayed, “God, what do you think of me?”

She read in Psalm 8 how God created us a little lower than the angels and crowns us with glory, and in I Peter 2, we are called a royal priesthood. How exciting that we are royalty, that we are right up there with the angels!

As I listened to her story, I thought about all the negative voices that tell us just how worthless, ugly, and insignificant we are… past abusers, current abusers, bullies, culture, magazines, TV… sometimes, even our own voice lashes out against us.

But we are His. We are loved. He has made us royalty and crowns us with glory. What a tragedy to throw this gift on the ground in disdain. No matter what any of the voices tell us, we need to hold our heads high and wear our crowns with confidence.

 

*Britt Nicole’s website can be found here. However, it is download heavy and may crash your browser session.

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In the conservative circle in which I grew up, contemporary Christian music was not allowed. After marrying, I began to listen to a CCM radio station. Much of my spiritual growth since then can be attributed to the many CCM artists and the songs they write. There is truth in those words and power in their music.

If music means as much to you as it does to me, you might want to check out Spotify. This music program allows you to search for particular songs and save them to playlists, allowing you to listen to your music whenever you wish. Best yet, it’s free. (It will require you to download their music program to your computer, but I promise it will not download any junk.) You can find all the songs highlighted in Music Mondays at the Recovered Identity Spotify playlist.

photo credit

Why I Stopped Trying to Lose Weight

me2The American culture is obsessed with weight. Celebrities are harassed when they drop a few pounds below the optimum weight and publicized and made fun of when their weight rises above the perfect skinny.

I was standing in the grocery line the other day when a magazine cover caught my eye. It had pictures of mystery celebrities… “Guess whose thighs are dimpled with cellulite. Which movie star has pudge rolling over her bikini?”

But here’s the thing… those women (whom they were, by implication, calling fat and ugly) were probably at least 50 pounds lighter than I. Their cute cellulite make mine look like a freak disease. Their smooth bellies may roll by half a centimeter over their bikini bottoms, but hey! they are wearing a bikini and rocking it.

If these poor women are being ridiculed for their slight “imperfections”, what would these magazine editors say about me? I can only imagine. I’ve spent my entire post-birth days trying to lose weight. That’s eight years! Sometimes, weight would come off easily with a little work. But after the last baby three years ago, it doesn’t budge. But eight years is a lot of time spent trying to look good.

You see, if I say to myself that I want to lose weight to look better, then I am by default telling myself that I am fat and ugly. I just am. And with all the trying, I’m not getting results. Therefore, I’m constantly feeling fat and ugly AND like an inconsistent failure.

Sure, I could go all crazy and do the fanatic thing… you know, go on a super strict diet of only veggies and become a gym addict. But that’s not the life I want. I don’t want to be ruled by a desire to be skinny. It’s also not the kind of life my husband wants me to live.

So, I’m ready to say “the heck with it” because ultimately, I don’t want to lose weight. What I really want is to just be ok with who I am inside and out. I want to see myself as beautiful and attractive, no matter what my weight is. I want to be confident in myself in any stage of life and health.

So I set aside the goal to lose weight so that I can focus on changing my thinking. I still plan to maintain my exercise routine. I don’t plan to go hog wild with junk food. I’m just not going to stress the weight. Instead, I want to learn to love myself now, at my heaviest, so that when I do lose weight, it’s not any different than showering or brushing my teeth. It’s just caring for the beautiful body I already have.