Thursday, February 7, 2008

Value, significance, and rose colored glasses...

Everyone has lies they believe… lies about themselves (or others) that have been planted and enforced by careless words of others, or circumstances in their lives, things that have happened to them, or things that they have needed that they haven’t gotten. I know that has happened to me. Some of the lies have been planted so deep, that they go right down to the core of me, the core of my heart, completely affecting how I look at myself. These lies are affecting my fundamental beliefs about myself, and that affects how I act and react to things my life, and how I treat myself, and what I believe about God.

One of the major lies that we encountered last week was I am a mistake, and I am unwanted, un-needed. Yesterday my counselor helped me pinpoint one of the experiences that really rooted that lie in me. As we talked about it and started working through it, she helped me come up with a couple of positive beliefs that could cancel out the lies. They were I am valuable, and I am significant. She wanted to know where I stood on a scale of 1-7 (1 being I can’t believe/feel it one iota, 7 being I not only know it but feel it) in believing I am valuable and significant. I told her 1. Then my counselor asked me if she changed the statement to “I can learn to believe that I am valuable and significant.” I told her I still was only at a 2 on that. Just barely knowing that I could learn this… I doubt it so much right now. After we worked through things some, she asked me how I was doing at the end, and where I rated that phrase again on a scale of 1-7. I said that I was probably still at a 2. She said that was OK, and that it may increase during the week.

All of this to say, she gave me an assignment to read through Psalm 139. I haven’t been able to read through that for about 6 months or more. There is one thing that she has learned about me. I am a good student, and if she asks me to do something, I will do it. I feel committed to doing it. That is just part of my make up. I tend to believe what people say about me (especially the negative) and take it really to heart, and I have a huge sense of responsibility, so if someone tells me to do something, or asks me to, I will do it. So, last night I sat down on the couch after it was quiet, curled up in the corner with a blanket and some pillows and opened my journal and my bible. I finally opened it up to Psalm 139 and read the first verse…

Oh Lord, You have searched me and You know me.

…that was as far as I could get. Because for God to have searched me, He has looked into me, searched out all the nooks and crannies, and because of that He knows me intimately. And because I know me (and don’t like me) it immediately makes me think that there is no way that God, knowing everything about me, could possibly like me, or smile at me, or love me. Yet it hit me last night that again in Romans 8, Paul talked about nothing being able to separate us from the love of God in Christ…. not life or death. And I guess that means that if I screw up in this life, it still doesn’t separate me from His love. That means, if He has searched me and knows me, and He knows all the crud, all the pain, all the joys… He still loves me, because my life, my actions, thoughts, feelings, can’t separate me from God’s love. I am writing that here, and logically working that out as I type this and you read it. But there is a major battle going on for my mind right now. A battle between the Truth and the lies. A battle between my value and significance in Christ, and my being a mistake, unwanted, un-needed. Those lies look so awful in writing…

When my counselor was helping me come up with the positive thoughts to replace the lies, she literally just started throwing out a bunch of words, and asked me which ones I reacted to emotionally the most. And “coincidentally” the very first two words she said were “value” and “significance.” When she said those two, I nearly started to cry because they resonated in my heart at such a deep level. They filled me with hurt (that I didn’t believe them), fear (that I never will), and the deepest longing (to actually be able to believe them). That longing. That from the gut, can’t explain, deepest cry from the very fiber of my being, desperate desire. That started wrenching tears from me when nothing else could yesterday. I left her office having shed only a few tears, but with this sorrow and gut twisting ache, that I just wasn’t able to let out, even when I was willing to. It made me sick to my stomach and shaky. My counselor said that the tears would come. They would come when the time was right, and when I was ready and able to deal with them. Please God let that be soon!

I don’t know when or where all these doubts surfaced, but one of the things my counselor told me early on in our first sessions, was that she sees many people who after they became Christians, horrible things happened to them, traumas and pain. She said that the enemy tries to keep us from becoming Christians, but once we are Christ’s own, he will do anything to keep us from being effective followers, anything to keep us wounded and believing lies and hurting, so that we never use the gifts we have been given… or if we do, they get warped and used in ways God wouldn’t have designed. I can see that in my own life. How many things I could have done differently, people I could have helped. But somehow, I have to grasp on to the verse that God will work all for the good of those who love Him. Not that all things ARE good, but will be worked FOR THE GOOD. The bad will be used to strengthen us and teach us, the good will be used to give us joy and hope. In the end of it all we (I) will have developed perseverance and character and hope.

God help me cling to that promise. That You love me. That You will lead me. That You will work all things together for my good in the end. Help me to cling to that so that I can do battle against all the lies in my head, against all the voices screaming at me that I am worthless, can’t be forgiven, won’t ever be needed, or loved, can’t make a difference, don’t have a purpose. Help me read and study through Psalm 139 and cling to the truth there… one of the phrases I remember off the top of my head… that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Lord, keep me going down this road, even though it is painful and hard to walk on. Help me to remember that I have chosen You, that I have chosen to forgive myself, because You already have, and You see me through Christ’s blood, through rose colored glasses. AMEN!

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