"Um, right before my dad died, I got really skinny. I pretty much stopped eating everything except baby carrots. I mean, we could have shared clothes. And I was just so sure that being skinny would make me happy."
"My whole life I had that voice in my head just screaming just shouting at me: Lose the weight! Just try harder! You're fat, and you're pathetic! And so I did it, I lost the weight."
"But listening to that voice my whole life, I didn't know who I was without it. And then I just felt empty. I was more comfortable being fat because I actually liked being mad at myself all the time ..."
"I liked the voice."
I love the show "This Is Us." It can be terribly painful for me to watch sometimes because it's so real to my own personal story. But I think that's why America likes it so much; we can identify with the characters.
The specific example I used above is probably every one of us at some point. We can learn a lot from Kate's honesty about how she grows accustomed to the voice in her head.
I read and follow a lot of other authors and bloggers all across the board; from the charismatic circle to reformed Christians. Something that I've recently come across (quite a few times) are posts written against Christian self-help blogs. I've read multiple times to stop teaching women to "love themselves" because who they are without Christ isn't lovable.
Sure, I get that. I get that we are a sin-wrapped people. And if I'm honest, I've preached this message myself many times. The message "there's nothing good about you except Christ in you. Stop dwelling on yourself. And keep your eyes fixed on Jesus."
I still agree with that message, but I also believe that in the times in which we live, women do need to be taught to see themselves differently.
Women Need to Be Taught (Shown) to See Themselves Through the Lens of Jesus
Most women come from very broken homes. Abuse, molestation, neglect, divorce and more.
Their parents were supposed to teach them how to see themselves, how to process the world and how the world treats them. But most of us, me included, came from a home so dysfunctional and broken that we were only left to question if anyone genuinely loved us.
And I don't believe we can realistically expect someone to get saved and then at the snap of our fingers be healed of all their dysfunction. Yes, I believe God, in His immense mercy and grace, can miraculously heal those who have come from abuse and neglect. But is it the norm? Should it be the measuring stick against which we measure Christians? I don't believe so.
Most Women Are Like Kate From 'This Is Us'
From a young age, we experience heartbreak, and then in comes "the voice."
The voice that teaches us that no one loves us. The voice that teaches us no one can be trusted. The voice that's there to say, See! Why didn't you listen to me in the first place?
So, we are taught to be fearful, anxious and unwilling to take risks.
We know that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we should think differently. We shouldn't be so anxious. We shouldn't be guilt-ridden and marked by paralyzing fear.
But, like Kate, we learn to love the voice. Our identities become the things the voice has whispered to us for 10, 15, 20, 30 some-odd-years.
So, how do we change?
How Do We Learn to See Ourselves Through the Lens of the Gospel?
In Genesis, we see someone else who saw themselves negatively, and in that same story, we can also see for ourselves how God changed them.
Jacob was a twin. From the beginning, he was in second place; he was born after his brother Esau. From his childhood on, the Bible says that Isaac loved Esau, and Rebekah loved Jacob (Gen. 25:28). What a dysfunctional family, right? The father openly admits that he loves one child more than another. How sad for Jacob.
Jacob's story continues to spiral downhill from there.
He was known to be a deceiver and to trick people into giving him what he wanted. (Gen. 27).
Jacob saw and treated others the same way he saw and treated himself. He thought less of himself.
When Jacob's father, Isaac, was nearing his death, he wanted to give his blessing to his oldest son, Esau. This is where Jacob comes and deceives and steals the blessing (Gen. 27).
Jacob receives the blessing. Yet, even when his father does bless him, his identity has not changed. God had to come and rename him so he could receive his new identity and see himself differently (Gen. 32).
Even knowing that he had received the blessing of his father, he had listened to the voice calling him "rejected" and "deceiver" for years. He had learned to like the voice, just like Kate had. He had grown accustomed to the thoughts.
The only way Jacob could see himself through the lens of the gospel was by God himself coming and giving him a new name; a new identity and purpose.
God does this with Jacob in Genesis 32. God comes and wrestles with him. He asks Jacob to admit his name—to confess who how he saw himself—and from there, God gave him a new name.
God has given us new names too, sweet friend. It's time you start to receive them.
Let go of the voice that's telling you that you're unlovable, rejected, stupid, not good enough, and receive the new name God has for you.
How to Reject 'The Voice' We've Known for So Many Years and Receive the New Name God Has Given Us
1. Ask God to give you a new name and write it somewhere you can see constantly (bathroom mirror, car, cell phone background). And write out the Bible verse that goes with it as well.
You are named:
Daughter (Gal. 4:7)
Friend (John 15:15)
Beloved (Rom. 1:7)
Beautiful One (Song 2:10)
Redeemed (Rom. 3:24)
Chosen (Eph. 1:4)
Forgiven (Eph. 1:11)
Purposed (Jer. 29:11)
Whole (Col. 2:10)
2. Every time the voice speaks a lie to you, say out loud, "That's not my thought!" Start speaking out against the thoughts that are not from God.
3. Transition from "feelings" to truth.
We have been trained to process life based on the way we feel. We think we must feel love for love to exist. We think we must feel wanted to truly be chosen. We think we must feel God's presence for Him to really be close. But God never meant for us to feel our way to Him. God wants us to stand on the absolute truth that He is with us no matter how our feelings may betray that reality. When I process life through my feelings, I am left deceived and disillusioned. When I process life through God's truth, I am divinely comforted by His love and made confident in His calling on my life. —Lysa TerKeurst
In our day and age, what we feel is often how we filter the truth, but feelings cannot be the truth. We have to allow God's truth to reign supreme in our minds, and as we take every thought captive and hold it up to the Word of God, we will begin to believe God's word over the voice.
For further growth, I challenge you to study the life of Jacob in the Bible (Genesis 25-35). Here are three journal prompts for deeper study:
1. How do you see yourself?
2. What's the name you or others call you? (A disappointment. Rejected. Awkward. Unlovable. And so on.)
3. What's the new name God is giving you?
Amaris Beecher is a whole-hearted Christian, richly blessed wife and mother of two stunners, living life in sunny Orlando, Florida. Her goal is to inspire women to live their lives with authenticity and freedom through Jesus Christ.
This article originally appeared at sheisreclaimed.com.
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