How do we have such a healthy identity in Christ that we’re able to respect ourselves? And teach our daughters to do the same?
One of the things we’re going to talk a lot about in this journey (where we started here) is our relationship with ourselves. I know that sounds a little weird, “relationship with myself?” Do I mean talking to myself?
Actually, yes, but not in the out-loud- crazy-lock-me-up-style way.
Every time we experience anything, particularly within relationship, we tell ourselves a little story or make an evaluation. Usually these evaluations are about who we are – and they are often based on mis-perception.
You know what I mean, you’re at the mall, picking up a few things to wear with a friend, and you see a group of girls on the other side of the aisle, walking and laughing.
And you think you saw a few of them look at you and your friend.
What goes through your head? Bet it isn’t, “Oh, they’re probably just looking at the store I just walked by,” or “They were probably looking at the cute guy in front of us.” More likely, it’s something like, “Are they laughing at me? My friend? The two of us together?”
And you can see how easy it is for our thoughts to begin to run away with us. And then we’re not respecting ourselves – from that very first thought.
One of the biggest mistakes we women of all ages make is wrapping our identity up in the opinions of the people around us. We see it all the time – moms living vicariously through their kids, wives idolizing marriage or their husband, kids looking to their parents or friends to define who they are, or maybe work or position contributes to our perception of who we are.
We are actually wired from birth as newborns to look to mom first for how we fit into the world – babies will seek out faces over any other object right away. Mom communicates whether we are worthy of attention by smiling, making eye contact, attending to needs; or she communicates a lack of worth by neglect, or worse, abuse. We grow up looking to others for our identity. We look to others for acceptable social behavior and we often copy that. We strive to be in the popular crowd at school, in the neighborhood, where we work, etc.
Research shows that our surroundings and our friends have more influence on us than we are aware of. Want to lose weight? Hang out with skinny people (unless they’re skinny over-eaters). Want to be more fit? Yep, befriend a few joggers in the neighborhood. It works the other way, too – want to get off meth? Move away from your drug dealing friends.
Don’t you think this social friend influence shows up worst and first in junior high? *insert eye roll* You know what I mean – the “in crowd” deciding what is cool and what’s not. When we stand back as adults and look at some of the things that were so “necessary” when we were that age… it is ridiculous. The most popular girl at my school had our entire class rolling their lips into a funny position and saying, “Moi!” – then one day, she decided it was over, and you became “so last week” if you were caught doing it.
Deep within us is a God-given desire to feel accepted, loved, important. The world fills us with false notions of how to make those feelings happen. Most women wrap their identity up in what boys and their friends think of them.
Yes, He wired us to crave something, but that something isn’t food and it isn’t men. It’s Him.
We are supposed to focus on what GOD thinks of us, dwelling on how He sacrificed His Son to pay the price for our sin. Who loves like that?
No one loves like that.
Who in your life would you die for? If you are a mom, that’s an easy answer.
If you’re not a mom, can you think of someone you love enough to die for? Who is it?
Would you die for a stranger?
Would you do it for people who hated you at the time?
God’s plan of relationship with us involved putting His own Son, Who was also Himself, Son and God in one, along with the Holy Spirit, on the cross, to suffer and die, making the payment for our sins. Before He did it, however, He asked His Dad, God, if there could be another way… and we know there wasn’t.
Would you sacrifice the one you loved most in the most painful way imaginable to save the world – even if it was your own child, and he asked you not to?
Man. As a parent, I just can’t even imagine.
And I wonder what God thinks when instead of seeking more of Him, we waste all this time trying to be “cool” and wrap our identity up in what other people think of us, when He did this HUGE THING with His Son to help us be in The. Most. Amazing. Relationship.
To the extent that we “get it” – that’s the depth of our relationship with Him. And the coolest thing ever is simply this: there’s always more to Him. You cannot ever get bored with God, once you know Him. And you can always grow deeper.
That’s the point of this life – to learn to love Him, and as a result, His people.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like you get it yet. Most people start off knowing “about” God instead of truly knowing Him. Like any relationship, however, the more time you spend with Him, the more you share who you are with Him, the more you listen to Him, the more you know Him. Add to that worship and praise, and you’ve got yourself a relationship that’s a romance like no other.
And it’s okay if you don’t get it yet.
I’m here to help with that.
It takes a while.
The following is from my blog post entitled, “Who Am I?” at NinaRoesner.com. Very simply, it’s a number of verses that help us discern identity in the way God wants us to understand that He is the One Who defines us – not anyone else.
Here’s an excerpt (and I really recommend chewing and journaling on each Truth as you work through them, thinking in terms of “what does this mean to me, personally?”):
God wants to talk to me any time I want to talk to Him, and I can approach Him with confidence because of Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
No one can judge or condemn me. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
God has a plan for good things for me, regardless of what I am going through right now. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God has a plan for me, and listens to me, and allows me to find Him when I look for Him. Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I am made in God’s own image, and a joint heir with Christ. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Galatians 4:6-7 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am a saint. Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:
I am righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Through Jesus, my work will have a lasting effect. John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
I am made new and am a reconciler and ambassador for God and His people. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
What About You?
Will you join me in prayer?
Dear God, Your Word tells me that I am worth a great price, and have been purchased with Your own Son. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” God, thank You for making me. Help me understand the depth and width of that. Help me understand what it means to be worth so much to You that if I were the only person on the planet, You would still have sent Christ just for me.
Help me remember that I am pursued, sought after, precious, honored, loved, wooed and worthy of nations by You. Lord, You are the Lover of my soul, the One who knows me, who created me, the One who formed me. Isaiah 43:1, 4 (NIV) But now, this is what the LORD says — He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine … Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. How is it possible that I am worth that much to You? How does that great of love even exist? You are love, Father. Help me get it, help me get You. Help me in my unbelief! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
• How did today speak to you as you read through the thoughts about identity? Could you relate? How?
• Have you ever thought about being identified by what God thinks about you? What are you doing instead, if you’re not currently doing that?
• What about the verses? Do you struggle believing those things about yourself? Why do you think that is?
• How did you feel as you prayed?
• What, if anything, did He reveal to you as we did this today? What A-Ha! did you have today?
Dare you to seriously consider what God did for you. Write yourself a letter about how He feels about you – and how you want to live in response. Double dog dare you to share today your responses to the above below – it will help others feel like part of our community here.
Be sure to comment on others’ responses in an encouraging way – if you’ve taken our eCourse, you are familiar with this type of encouragement experience.
By the way, we have a new group starting this week – if you are a married woman and haven’t done our eCourse, you should, especially if you haven’t got a group nearby that you can join. We’re doing something really special this round – I absolutely LOVE this – Sandi, the “Dean of Respect Dare University,” and I are doing these 15-30 minute calls each week and I’ll be answering questions – this round only. I hope you’ll join us – we have a bunch of women who already got in this week, I think they’re planning on Dare #1 for Monday.
Love to you,
Oh, and if you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU to join us on this journey. The road is long and hard, and often paved with tears, but worth traveling – and you’re not alone.
You can get marriage TIPS! articles, a free copy of my eBook, 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband, and other marriage info here. I’ll be taking down the 101 Ways eBook in the next week or so and putting up a new eBook, so grab it while you can. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one or two TIPS! articles a week, plus a blog post as they come, usually 1-2 a week.
If you are just joining us, these might be of interest, too: