Healthy Identity in Christ = Self-Respect
One of the things we’re going to talk a lot about in this journey which started last week (click HERE if you missed), is the 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 way.
With every experience, 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?”
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.
Identity in others
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 wired from birth 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. Most women grow up looking to others for our identity. We look to others for acceptable social behavior and 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.
Influence and Identity
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.
Or 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 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 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.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
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 an exercise that can help us begin to discern our identity. God wants us to recognize that HE is the One Who defines us – not anyone else.
Below you will find a Truth and a Bible verse. Read and reflect on this truth, asking yourself, “what does this mean to me, personally?”
Truth: I am worth a great price, and have been purchased with God’s own Son.
Bible verse: 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. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
As you consider this truth and it’s implications for your life, grab your journal and write about your thoughts and feelings.
This was just a single excerpt from the “Who Am I?” page. I encourage you go visit the page now and pick a few more truths and verses to explore. Fill your journal with these truths so that you more deeply identify yourself as a daughter of the King.
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. God, thank You for making me. Help me understand the depth and width of that. Open my eyes so I can 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. How is it possible that I am worth that much to You? How does such magnitude of love exist? You are love, Father. Help me get it. Draw me closer to You. Help me in my unbelief! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
What about you?
• 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. Then 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 below – it will help others feel like part of our community here.
Be sure to comment on others’ responses in an encouraging way.
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.
Join the growing number of women who are finding healing and encouragement in this Respect Dare journey – the novel DARE TO RESPECT follows the fictional story of 6 wives who accept the challenge.
Develop a more fulfilling relationship with your Teens & Tweens in 40 days!
Want to learn more about leading a small group through the Respect Dare?