I’ll never forget that summer, working under the beautiful blue skies of Wyoming. I was a camp counselor for the first time, and it was a dream. I loved everything about it. At some point, we decided that some of the counselors would share their testimonies in front of all the campers at high school camp. So I sat down to write my story.
I’m one of those people who has always tended to say, “I don’t have much of a story. Nothing too crazy has happened; I haven’t had one of those incredible/challenging life-altering experiences that brought me to Jesus.” But sharing my testimony that week brought to my attention something that changed everything; it was actually how my story began.
As I wrote, I realized that my story was about feeling insignificant. I discovered that I had spent a lot of my life feeling like I didn’t matter, like no one would remember me, that I was not worth knowing or loving. I shared that testimony and the truth that I knew in my head: that God said I mattered, I’m memorable, I am worth knowing and loving. I honestly hadn’t really started believing it in my heart yet.
Sharing that story launched me on a journey of learning and healing in this area. I have shared on this blog before the amazing ways God revealed my identity to me throughout my years in graduate school, and the worth He spoke into me by telling me I was treasured.
And now, after years of the Lord doing surgery on my soul, I feel like I am living into that identity in a really special, wonderful way. I don’t do it perfectly; it will most likely always be a struggle, but I feel like I have embraced this treasured, significant life more than ever before.
Here is what I am learning: we all have our own deepest wound, our root lie that we believe about ourselves. Satan is an expert at figuring out what this is and using it against us. But the beautiful thing is that this place is exactly where God wants to meet us, the place of our greatest calling and ministry, and our place of greatest healing and intimacy with Him. And maybe, we can use our deepest struggle to figure out exactly what it is we are called to in this life.
Because what I am seeing now, is that when I choose to believe the truth about myself – that I am significant – then I live a significant life. I spent years waiting for someone to tell me I was significant, expecting that at some point I would finally start to believe them. The truth, I have realized, is that no amount of people, on no size of a platform, saying I am significant will ever actually be enough to convince me that I am.
We know this, in our heads we know: only God. Only God helping us heal in this way can lead us to believe the truth about ourselves. And when we believe the truth about ourselves, we reflect the image of God in a truer, clearer way.
What is that basic, root lie that you have believed about yourself?
Maybe it is that you are unwanted or a burden. Maybe it is believing that you will never experience true connection or intimacy. Maybe it is believing that your shame will always define you.
How have you expected people or accomplishments to meet that need?
When I have thought of being “significant,” it has often had to do with recognition. If I was on a stage in front of a lot of people doing something important, then I would know that I am significant. Then I would be convinced that I matter. If a lot of people see me, then I must be important. Here is the craziest thing: once I started living out of the truth that God says I am significant, I started getting to do significant things.
This past weekend I was given the opportunity to speak at my church’s conference. I cannot tell you how many times in the past few weeks I have shook my head and thought, If someone had told me two years ago I would be doing this…I would have laughed them right out of the room. The best part is that my pastor introduced me to a room of people and said: “I think she is a significant person.”
This is the gift of the process. Until I could believe it for myself, no one else could convince me. No other person can convince you of the truth until you choose to engage in it for yourself, with the Lord. And honestly, I’m thinking in a lot of ways people won’t necessarily believe it about us until we believe it ourselves. Once I started living into my identity as a treasured, worthy, significant child of God, it felt like everything in my life started to feel a whole lot more significant too. And, I can so much more easily identify the lies from the devil trying to take me back to that place of insecurity and self-doubt.
It is also a beautiful process because it becomes so much less about me and more about Him. As I live out of my truest self, I am so much less consumed with my own struggle and abundantly more open to being a part of what He is doing in the world. Self-reflection and self-work is not selfish when it is done with the ultimate purpose of serving God’s Kingdom.
Friend, hear me when I say: Satan will do what.ever.it.takes. to keep you from living into your fullness. Remember that he is the master manipulator, the deceiver and father of lies. The truth that God wants you to believe? Satan will twist and warp it into your greatest struggle. He will even use our fellow humans to send these false messages to us. But when we can identify this, we can fight back. Just the other day I received an email that could have sent me tumbling head first into my old lies of insignificance and self-doubt, but instead I reminded myself of truth, and told the devil: You can’t touch this.
And consider this: the place of your deepest struggle, when redeemed by the grace of Jesus, may become your most beautiful way of abundantly living and reaching the world.
I love you, friends. Happy Friday!