Dare 3 Are You Betraying Yourself?
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord
Joanna locked herself in the stall in the gym bathroom, her heart thumping with relief and joy as the tears fell into her hands like cleansing rain. She never imagined she would return to swimming let alone break the school record for fastest female swimmer. God had been faithful – again.
“Your daughter has real talent,” said the coach to Joanna’s Dad almost eight years ago.
“Well, thank you. She certainly enjoys it,” Dan smiled humbly, but inwardly proud of his eldest daughter.
That season went better than even the coach anticipated with Joanna winning consistently. The next season she won every race. She was the talk of the town and even on the front page of the small local newspaper. Her parents gave all credit to God for answering their prayers for their daughter. Joanna knew her talent came from Him, and He was the One developing it.
The more Joanna excelled, however, the more her teammates resented her. “She thinks she’s better than us,” she heard a few girls talking after a meet. “Just because she’s a Christian she thinks “Gaaawwd” is helping her.” They laughed cruelly.
Just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, Joanna caught her coach stealing money from the athletic treasury. Telling the school authorities, was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do. When he was fired, the team blamed her. Deeply broken, she quit the team.
Over the summer, her parents were contacted by the coach of another competing high school. Would Joanna be interested in moving schools and being on their swim team for her senior year?
“Yes!” Joanna said without hesitation. A chance to swim again and even make new friends. “You did the right thing with your former coach, Joanna, and I’m proud of you. You were protecting the students. One day they will understand that.”
Training began the next day at 5 a.m. After almost a full year away from the water, Joanna climbed onto the diving platform, bent her knees, held back her arms – and dove into the water, stronger in body, mind – and faith – than she’d ever been before.
Joanna’s actions, though resulting in some challenges, aligned with her Christian values. She avoided what psychologists refer to as a highly uncomfortable and shame-creating mental state: cognitive dissonance. By choosing to act in alignment with her values, doing her best, telling the truth, bearing up under persecution, she did not betray herself. While it is true that the world did not treat her kindly, she would have created a hell on earth for her inner world had she succumbed to the external pressures. Note that she had limits, however, on what she could handle, and eventually quit the team. One thing we seldom consider is people pleasing as a unique identity damaging form of lying.
Most of us don’t realize that multiple times a day, we are given opportunities to either walk in alignment with our values and identity as followers of Christ or betray ourselves by people pleasing. We put others on the throne when we do that. We say, “yes,” to things we would rather say, “no,” to, and vice-versa. What we don’t realize is those small acts over time often evolve into a potentially dangerous loss of identity. Sometimes, we even need a break from an environment that challenges our ability to remain true to our values.
We need to respect ourselves and our values, and when we do, we maintain our sense of identity.
In prayer, take a few moments to examine your decisions. Maybe there was a moment lately or as a child where you gave into peer pressure and as a result, feel the regret hangover of self-betrayal. Perhaps you stood up to (or caved to) a bully. There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus, remember, so know this is just information for you to examine with the Father.
What about You?
- Ask God, “What do You think of me, Father?”
- Where do you need to extend grace to and forgive yourself?
- Where do you need to extend grace to and forgive others, including God?
- If you could have a “do-over” and NOT betray yourself, what would that look like?
- What is ONE STEP you can take to move forward in who God says you are?
Can’t wait to hear what He does with this! Go ahead and comment below!
Love to you,
PS… if you feel like you consistently betray yourself, check out our Strength & Dignity eCourse and membership site. We’re watching God bring freedom from people pleasing while healing them and their marriages! He’ll do it for you, also!