“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
When I was a child, I often received messages from family that fed into the belief that I was unwanted, unloved, and not enough. A seed of rejection grew, and in my mind, I thought I was not worthy of love or affection. I believed the only way to receive love and care was through performance. As a result, I became a very hardworking individual in my academics and extracurriculars, and I gave 100% of my time and energy to help others in need.
All these things alone may seem non-threatening; actually, it seems like working hard would be celebrated. However, I realized that my countless efforts to help was a response to a deep longing to be needed and wanted by others. Fear of being rejected fueled my “yes” to people regardless if I had the time, resources, or desire to fulfill their requests. Unknowingly at the time, I believed that my worth and relationships were contingent upon my willingness to serve, the quality and quantity of my deeds, and my ability to please people.
The core belief that I was unwanted may have been evident growing up, but as an adult, I learned that I am wanted and chosen in Christ. Through salvation and walking with Jesus, I learned that I no longer needed to validate my worth through my deeds. Reading scripture and surrounding myself with God-centered community helped me find the truth. The love and care I received should not be based on what I can do, but on who I am. Because I know Whose I am, a daughter of the One True King, I can strive for spiritual excellence in my duties instead of striving for a sense of worth. My performance, my “yes’s”, and my service can now come from a place of acceptance not fear.
And that’s the beauty of Christ’s love, my friends! That’s the gospel! Our value is not based on what we can do, but what Jesus did for us! When we make God’s truth our core belief, there’s a powerful shift that happens within our minds. It creates a breeding ground for healing and deliverance. Our God will replace the lies we once believed with His truth and love.
John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I love this list of scriptural truths that therapist and author Debra Fileta outlines in her book, True Love Dates. Read over these carefully. Which of these do you struggle to believe? What is He speaking over you today?
1. You are set apart and accepted. “You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you — from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG).
2. You are wonderfully made. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:13 – 16).
3. You were created for a purpose. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
4. You are noticed. “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely” (Ps. 139:1 – 4).
5. You are forgiven. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13 – 14).
6. You are a child of God. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12 – 13).
7. You are loved. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
8. You are made new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
9. You are taken care of. “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ ” (Heb. 13:5).
10. You are redeemed. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
Author: Fileta, Debra K.. True Love Dates (pp. 41-42).
How do I overcome these old ways of thinking?
I believe the starting point of disabling the old way of thinking is to begin at the core of what you believe about yourself. Determining what we believe about the world, what we believe about ourselves, and where those beliefs come from are great places to start. Spending time reflecting and processing here is crucial for personal and spiritual transformation. Transformative change happens within us -- in our hearts and minds. We cannot control what happens around us, but as we walk alongside Jesus and have Him change us from the inside out, we can live a more fruitful life.
Written by: Ashley K. Stovall