In the Silence of the Mind: November 1, 2013
Thinking/Over/Thinking – Part 3 – Fixing Our Residual Self Image
Over the past two weeks we’ve been looking at how important our thinking is. In part 1 we discovered, through the research of Dr. Caroline Leaf, that when we think we create physical space in the brain and that negative thoughts are treated by our bodies the same as disease. In part 2, we began looking at how we think about ourselves. In it, I discussed the idea of a “residual self image” and how the way we view ourselves can become a barrier in our relationship with God.
Fixing Our Residual Self Image
It’s important, then, to begin to rebuild our “residual self image.” It’s time to know that we are loved by a holy and amazing God, and that we’re worth more to Him than we often imagine. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We were crafted from the dust of the earth directly by God’s very hands as He then bent down and breathed His very breath into our dusty and lifeless bodies. God cares more for us than we could ever imagine. It’s time to have a more positive outlook on life. It’s time to get out of the depressions that hold us as slaves to failure.
It’s time to win back what the enemy has stolen from us. The only things holding us back are ourselves and the sin we give into. It’s time to claim the power of God in our lives and live as if we were a threat to the enemy that holds back our walk towards God.
Just like in The Matrix, the first step is to begin to believe. The difference comes in that we are not believing in ourselves out of haughty self-indulgence and pride, but are believing what God says about us. The result of this will come when we begin to live as if we are a danger to hell, because we will start to become a danger to hell. One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is Mark 11:22-24. In this verse Jesus is telling His disciples the power that He makes available to their lives and ours.
“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The start of the battle for yourself begins in humble submission before God. We must be willing to admit that we are nothing before God, but know that He can make us into something great for His kingdom (remember, though, Jesus said that those that would be great would be servants).
I recommend putting up Bible verses, like Mark 11 above, along with inspiring quotes in the places you go the most in your day and allow them to speak life over you. Keep a slip of paper with you that simply says You are loved, and look at it periodically throughout your day. Refresh yourself with God’s promises. Then, after having done all of that, try to look at yourself from an outside perspective. See if you can find things in your life that need to be worked on, and at the same time, find things about yourself that make you unique and wonderful. Work only on the things about yourself that are insufferable, and hone your skills on the things about you that are “cute”, “quirky”, “rugged”, or “manly”.
I remember a conversation I had with one of my roommates back in college about life changing us. In the midst of the conversation he told me that he didn’t think that he should ever have to change who he was. The problem was, however, that he didn’t like himself the way he was. It was hard for him to see this, but my advice to him was that it was better to change who you are now and become something much better, than to stay who you are and struggle in the same areas all of your life.
You may think that changing yourself is betraying who you are, but that’s not true. You’re already going to change as you grow older. Life brings change. You’re going to change perspectives on things throughout your life. Change will happen, the difference is whether you let life change you, or if you change life. As John Rueben says, “Life is short, don’t waste it. Life is what you make it.”
We must also come to a place in our lives where we can get an air of confidence in who we are. Mark 11 says, “Do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will happen.” This is the confidence that I speak of. We need to know, deep down in the furthest and darkest reaches of our souls that we are loved, and that if we resist the devil he will flee from us. This is the exuding confidence that each believer should have in the love and power God has made available to us.
At the same time, I am not suggesting that we all become arrogant and cocky about ourselves. I’m simply suggesting that we become truly mature and confident in who we are. It’s time we learn deep down some basic truths; that we are truly loved, that we are a threat to the enemy, and that we can do anything that we set our minds and hearts to through God when done according to His will, His Word, and His purposes.
We need to be able to take the good and the bad things about us and in our lives and shape them into an identity that we can call “me.” We must learn to not be destroyed by our faults, but to see that even our imperfections add to the beauty of who we are. Every single person, whether they are paid a million dollars a day just to look good or they burn pancakes down at the local IHOP, struggles with some aspect of the person that they call “me”. But God does not run from imperfect people with his hands up in the air. In fact, people like this are who God likes to use the most.
Throughout the Bible we find examples of this. Moses had a stutter and a fear of public speaking, but God used him to deliver a nation. David was the smallest brother in a large family, but God used him to slay a giant and become king of a nation. And it was very frequently the women, not the men, around Jesus that supported His ministry as He preached the gospel to all nations, in a day and time when women were considered property and/or objects. God likes to use our imperfections (I am not saying that being a girl is an imperfection, but that in that society it was considered to be and therefore was revolutionary for its time).
We are made to live for more. Jesus said that He came to give us life to the fullest. It’s our job to take Him up on that offer. In his book He-Motions, Bishop T.D. Jakes says, “If Clark Kent didn’t know that he was capable of more than the menial tasks he was assigned at work, he would never have discovered the real identity of his ‘superman’ soul” (Jakes 44). Each one of us must come to a place in our lives
where we are alright with our faults, but yet we see that we are capable of becoming who God has created us to be in spite of them. If we stay in a negative self mindset, then we will be defeated by the enemy’s attacks.
I once read an interview with a professional wrestler named Diamond Dallas Page. In the course of the conversation the interviewer asked DDP what he would have been if he did not become a pro-wrestler. His answer? “Anything I wanted to be.” I love that answer. It’s exactly the kind of answer that a warrior would make. It’s exactly the kind of confidence that is required of us in Mark 11:22-24. Rather than focusing on our faults and shortcomings it’s time to pick up our swords and shields and have humble confidence in ourselves.
We will all fall sometimes, but it is in the getting back up that we are made into battle hardened warriors and warrior princesses. Let’s join together and reclaim our thoughts and inner attitudes towards ourselves in order to stand strong when the enemy throws attacks our way.
Just so you don’t think that positivity is the end of the matter in and of itself, it is imperative that you understand that we are fallen creatures before God and that our sins makes us enemies of the Most High. That said, once we have been redeemed by Christ, we are freed to be more than the depressed mass we see in the world around us. But, know that the Bible also calls us to be slaves of righteousness and of the Christ. We are not to simply be empowered for the sakes of ourselves. It is NOT about us. It’s about God and His plan for the world. But, knowing that actually frees us to have a more positive image of ourselves!
We are freed from sin and its deleterious effects on our lives, but we are also free to become servants to all. And this is the topic we’ll pick up on in the next part. After all, if we only thought positive about ourselves, we would fall into another destructive cycle of becoming self-focused and idolatrous. God frees us so that we can free others. So, let’s take a look at what we can do to think properly about others. See you next week.