Who do you communicate with the most?
Is it your children? Your co-workers? Your spouse? Maybe you constantly have a group text going between you and your girlfriends. Yes, all of the above and more. We are all in constant communication. Even as you sit and catch up on your favorite show you are communicating. The show is presenting ideas, norms, attitudes, and philosophies that whether you agree with them or not, are settling into your subconscious. These will then slowly touch your thoughts which shape your ideas, norms, attitudes, and philosophies. Whether we like it or not what we place before us affects us.
Someone recently asked me for a list of personal development books that I’ve been reading lately. I stacked my current Top 5 favorites and shot off a picture to her. Then in my truest form, I moved the stack to a table and left it. This morning I was contemplating the ideas of where we get our identity from. Who says who we are? I love personality tests and I think it’s fun and exciting to learn about one’s self to learn and grow. I have learned over the last couple of years that these defining test results and labels (7w6, ENFP…etc) don’t help me when my self is being questioned. When life, people, circumstances, and the enemy punches you square in the jaw, knowing that I’m an ENFP does nothing for me. I know that most psychiatrists believe that it is truth. I am an ENFP. I am a 7w6. You can’t change it, only grow it. Yes, that is true but it isn’t THE Truth. It can’t hold me up when I’m barely crawling through my Tuesday. It might explain why I am feeling the way I feel but it won’t fix it. There are a lot of things that we do or rely on that won’t fix it. They can feed it, nurture it, sympathize, or even relax it.They can’t heal it though.
Ignoring your loneliness or isolation by watching show after show after show.
Claiming you have no time to yourself because you have 3+ kids and life is just crazy… that’s just how it is.
Calling an accountability partner after the fact…again.. and again.. and again…
Inundating your husband with fears, pains, needs, hopes, dreams, and then requiring him to validate them with affirmations, support and a constant stream of romantic love.
I know we’ve all heard the sermon on getting our identity from God. You may have even journaled afterwards and heard Him say sweet things about you that gave you hope and energy throughout the rest of your day and week. But then it died. Somewhere you lost it. It’s not like you forgot but you don’t even the energy from it anymore and it doesn’t seem present and real.
Earlier I spoke of communication. We are all in constant communication. You are receiving ideas about yourself and how you should view and act in the world. Your children, bless them, can’t give you a consistent truth about yourself. Some days they make you feel powerful, gentle and loving. Some days you are the devil incarnate and out to make their lives a living hell. Your husband is not responsible for making you feel complete, confident, and loved. He can bring some of those feelings through things that he may do, but that is not his burden to carry. Talking to your closest girlfriend will probably make you feel better. She can give you great advice. She may even pray with you. That is about as close as she’ll ever get to being able to heal you. Your accountability partner will not set you free. They can support you in your journey, but you will have to face your demons and they can’t fight for you.
Now that we’ve stripped away all your crutches… here is Truth.
You have everything you need now, within yourself to tackle any problem, feel any truth, fight any battle, and love all that needs to be loved. Even loving yourself. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is IN you. You can tap into it and live out of that place. The Holy Spirit is waiting to talk with you. We’ve taken away all the things in life we depend on for answers. Even the most well-meaning people or solutions can’t give us freedom.
James 1:22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it– he will be blessed in what he does.
Time with the Word and prayer once a week isn’t going to cut it. What is He saying to you now? Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 5:16-8 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I love how in the middle of telling us to be joyful always, a seemingly impossible idea, and to give thanks in all circumstances Paul gives us the answer HOW. Pray continually. Get your answers from God continually.
Stop. Breathe. Listen.
Listen to the One who can heal. He can peel back the layers of feelings and show you the root of the heart issues. Listen to the Creator who knit you and KNOWS you. He can fill the holes in your heart with embers of purposeful fire. And when you come back again and again to listen He will blow on those flames and make them grow stronger and brighter. They die out when He isn’t blowing on them. He can’t make you hungry for Him. As humans we hunger for whatever we consistently put in front of us and we build our identity from that. Whatever you eat more of you crave more of. He can fuel your hunger for Him and His word if you are continually putting your gaze on Him.
I had a lot of repenting to do as I looked at that stack of Top 5 favorite books. Each one I saw, as He revealed, that I had asked each author to heal or fix me. I wanted one to make me hate myself less. One to make me powerful and brave, another creative and free. One told me what psychological categories I belong to and even how to grow my personality. My favorite one I had hoped would make me a better mother who liked sitting on the floor for hours with her daughter. Even though each one of these books were a good thing, each had taught we so much and I had grown immensely, I realized look at that stack and then looking down at my rarely read Bible that I had missed the mark. I had a Book and a Spirit within me that had all the answers. They have the truth and the power to actually set me free… to change me. I write all of this as much to my own self as I do to challenge you. I don’t want to glance at the Spirit of God, see who I am and walk away and forget, only to do it again next week. I want to stare into it until the image is burning in my mind continually. I want to walk behind it, always with it lighting my way and illuminating His truth about me.
The best advice I was given as a newlywed was by a dear friend of mine who had been walking the marriage road a few years and had learned a great thing: Shut up and pray. Talking, worrying, crying, and yelling never fixed anything. Prayer, she said though, had always changed things. Prayer breathes life into dying circumstances of hopelessness. Prayer is life.
Be encouraged, love. He is here and is desiring for you to turn your face to him and listen. He will speak words of life over you that will build up and sustain you. His Word is truth that you can cling to and draw hope from.