“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?
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,
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.