Renewing Your Mind with the Truth

Today’s Truth
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Friend To Friend
I see three emotions blocking women from being all God intends for them to be and from accomplishing all that God intends for them to accomplish – feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy. I hear women make comments such as, I can’t do that.  I wish I were talented like Sarah.  If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.  I’m not very smart.  I feel like a failure.  I can’t do anything right.  I could never stand up in front of anyone and speak.  I believe the Bible works for her, but I don’t believe it would work for me.  I don’t fit in anywhere.  Nobody loves me. And friend, I admit I have heard similar comments come out of my own mouth!

Where do those feelings come from?  From the time we are born, we receive messages about ourselves. These messages are programmed into our minds. We may not realize our minds are being programmed, but it happens as surely as I’m typing these words on my computer.   Either we felt esteemed, encouraged, and embraced as a child or we felt unloved, uncared for, and worthless.  Messages were given both intentionally and unintentionally by family, friends, teachers and other significant people who made up our own little world.  They were programmed into our minds and formed a type of filter or grid system. Every thought we have, every piece of information we receive must pass through that filter before it is processed by our minds. Soon, a false filter distorts the truth.

For example, little Mari was told at an early age that she was stupid, ugly, and clumsy.  Her ears looked like wings; her teeth looked like a twenty-car-pileup, and her legs looked like a flamingo’s. In the fourth grade, she got coke bottle glasses and kids called her “four-eyes” on the playground when the teachers weren’t close enough to hear. One day in geography class, the room erupted with laughter when she incorrectly answered that Philadelphia was our nation’s capital.

Seven years later, as a high school junior, Mari’s head has grown to catch up with her ears, the orthodontist has done a stellar job of straightening her now perfectly aligned white teeth, and her blue contact lenses accentuated the aqua marine hue of her eyes. She is inducted into the National Honor Society and scores 1420 on her SAT.  Yet, when Mari walks into a room full of people, she feels like that awkward fourth grader with the big ears, skinny legs, and thick glasses who was laughed at in geography class.  Even though she is a beautiful, intelligent young lady, that negative self-degrading filter is still in place, and deception is the glue that holds it there. She does not see herself for who she really is.

Now let’s pretend that Mari goes to a church retreat and hears the good news of Jesus Christ for the first time. Let’s say she makes a profession of faith, accepts Jesus as her Savior and begins the journey of making Him Lord of every aspect of her life.  What happens to the negative filter covering her mind?  Does it immediately disappear when she becomes a Christian?  No, it does not.  As a matter-of-fact, she probably doesn’t even know it is there.  Even though Mari is a child of God, holy and dearly loved, unless she removes the negative filter by renewing her mind, she will most likely continue feeling inferior, insecure and inadequate.  Only now, she may heap guilt on top of it for not feeling more victorious and peaceful in her new Christian faith.

When Mari became a Christian, she received a new spirit and a new identity. She just didn’t know it.  It reminds me of a story I heard about two boys arguing if a chicken running around the barnyard with his head cut off was dead or alive.  While they were watching this strange phenomenon, an old wise farmer walked up.

“Sir,” the boys asked.  “Is that headless chicken running around dead or alive?”

The old farmer scratched his chin and pondered the situation.  Finally, he spoke, “Well, best I figure, that chicken is dead, but he just don’t know it yet.”

That pretty much describes many Christians.  It described me for about fifteen years of my life after I became a born-again Christian. My old self was dead, but I just didn’t know it yet. I had the spirit of Jesus Christ living in and through me; I just didn’t know it yet. I was a saint, the salt of the earth, holy and dearly loved; I just didn’t know it yet. But when I finally understood who I am in Christ, what I have in Christ, and where I am in Christ, those feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy began to fade away.

How about you?  Do you know who you are?

Let’s Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to renew my mind with the truth of my new identity.  Help me see the areas when I have been filtering life through the lies of the past.  As I read Your Word, please use it to renew my mind with the truth.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Think of a time in your childhood that shaped how you see yourself today.

Is it the truth of who you really are or are you allowing the enemy to hold up a false mirror, distorting who God says you really are?

Look up 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Write it down.  What does that mean to you?

I’d love to hear your answers on question #2.  Let’s chat.  .

More From The Girlfriends
We will never be truly beautiful as long as the dark cloud of past wrong thinking blocks the radiance within. If you would like to learn more about who you truly are and how to renew your mind with God’s truth, see Sharon’s book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful: Seeing yourself through God’s Eyes. 

 

7 Responses to Renewing Your Mind with the Truth

  1. Danica March 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    I distinctly remember overhearing a loved one commenting on what a witch I could be as a teenager. Even though I have received numerous cards and notes saying the opposite, this comment has really stuck with me. With two teenages daughters of my own, I am trying not to make similar remarks. It is so easy to listen to the lies and flounder, rather than live a life that shines with God’s glory!

  2. Kelley March 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    I like that scripture because it describes me to a tee. I don’t remember feeling anything but loathing toward myself most of my life and I’m 50. It took years of alcohol abuse, a slow form of suicide, to decide I needed help. I hated myself so much because I thought I was bad through and through. I didn’t go to treatment or a hospital. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, very drunk,full of guilt, remorse and shame. I finally asked God for help. That was June 9, 1993, I haven’t had a drink since. It’s a miracle every day I wake up and don’t have to take a drink that day. I couldn’t get sober by myself but God did for me that which I was unable to do for myself. It’s awesome. I still don’t love myself and I may never. I like myself though. I really like the person I have become and that is amazing by itself. I have read the book ‘God Thinks Your Scars are Beautiful’. I didn’t ealize how much the incident in 6th grade still affected me. My teacher stood me up in front of the class and yelled at me because of an incident in the cafeteria. She called me everything but a white child. From recess to lunch I stood in front of the class, even after she finished her tirade. I cried when I read the story about the little girl whose classmates wrote bad things about her on the board. I understood her pain. God works in mischievious ways. I worked with her at the college for over 15 years and enjoyed visiting with her about what ever was going on at the time. I rarely, at least conciously, thought of the grade school horror of that day. Fortunately, most of my scars are not bleeding anymore though some are a little tender. Progress. My favorite scripture is Isaiah 40:31. In sobriety, I can fly with the eagles and be sustained by God.

  3. Melissa March 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    I am really grateful for the Girlfriends in God devotional, it has really helped me especially on those days when I really feel low. Im going through a divorce now and sometimes I dont know who I am but I keep reading the word of God. Emotionally, Im past the worst (I think) but its still hard. I was loved as a child, cared for. But since the divorce my husband has said some very mean and ugly things to me that has me searching myself.I dont know myself to be the person he described but his words really hurt me and its really hard seeing past the pain and meanness. Thank God for my friends who have been there but when a loved one says mean things to you about who you are, even when they are untrue, it does damage to your self image and your self esteem, even for an adult. I didnt know words could be so painful. I still love him and dont understand why he doesnt love me anymore, nor can I see through his anger and how he got here. I have resolved to pray for him, because only through Christ can he be made whole. February’s devotions on marriage were very difficult because I thought I did all those things but the marriage failed anyway. So I questioned God and my ability to be a good wife. I will continue to read His word and be made new by the truth in them.

  4. Cheryl March 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    This story sounds so much like me. My parents divorced when I was five. My father and stepfather repeatedly told me I would never measure up to anyone else. Eventually, even though I tried, my father had nothing to do with me. My stepfather had problems of his own as an alchoholic. Although, I accepted Christ many, many years ago, I constantly struggle with my self esteem. At 54, I still feel like that scared little girl inside. I have accomplished alot in my like but it never feels like enough. I can’t seem to get rid of the negetative thoughts about myself. It’s hard for me to believe God loves me because of my relationships with my father and stepfather. I will keep praying and reading the Word and hope that one day I can truly see myself as God sees me.

  5. Suzana March 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    I used to cry because I was worthless. Your article remembered me to praise the lord and be thankful for the new me.
    I’d like to say something useful to Melissa. As I’m not able, I thank God for her situtation. And I’m praying for her.

  6. Jennifer March 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Jesus makes all things new. This was the theme of my wedding 2 1/2 years ago when I married the man who will be my lifelong companion. When my first husband divorced me 10+ years ago, I was devastated, much like Melissa. I was blamed for everything, even by our pastor!! Talk about adding insult to injury. Through the past decade I have made my share of poor choices and lived through the consequences of each of them. But God is ever patient and merciful as He has brought me a fair amount of wisdom through all of it and has never seen me as anything other than His bride in all purity. All praise be to the Most High.

  7. Beverly March 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I have been a believer since I was a young person. I grew up believing I was never good enough. My dad showed that he felt that way with me and I attended a Christian school that I never felt that whatever I did was enough. Even though I graduated top of my class in every area, received recognition for many different titles etc… I still struggle with that false belief today. A mother of four, working part time w/ my husband as his assistant in real estate, managing the home and learning a new business and trying to be a great mom for my kids from the ages 17-4 has been a big challenge these last 4 years. Trying to renew my mind to the truth that I am GOOD ENOUGH and I am SYGNIFICANT has been a struggle. Thanks for the reminder from God’s Word. I long to have the thought process and mindset that I am doing just great and what I did today was good enough. God loves me and is pleased. That is who I need to focus on.

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