What is your self-image like?
There are many advertisements on television these days that show a glamorous image of both men and women. Adverts for teeth whitening, weight loss, increase stamina, the right car to drive, best neighborhood to live in, the best casino to visit, the best vacation time to have, the list seems endless.
What effect do all of these advertisements have on our emotional well-being?
Well for starters it reminds us that we are not good enough, and therefore to be good enough we will need, this product or that. This car would make us feel better, and look better whereas the others will not. If you want to be appealing to the world around you, you will need to be on a diet and on and on and on!
Are these things even realistic for the everyday person? Can we seriously live up to these expectations?
Now, what about the expectations that we place on ourselves?
When I was growing up, I heard many times over the years, that I was not good enough, I was fat, I was not smart enough, I was wasting my life, I had nothing to offer the world around me, I was a failure.
Please don’t get me wrong, many people loved and encouraged me to be all that I could be and more, but being emotionally sensitive I heard that I was never going to measure up to anyone’s standards.
These thoughts and doubts, fears and lies, held me captive for many years, because I believed every one of those lies to be the truth. I believed that I was not smart enough to do anything of great consequence for people. I believed that if people really got to know the real me, they would discover like I had, that I was a complete and utter failure.
So, I tried to hide my pain and suffering, by eating more, I became a compulsive cleaner, cleaned everything in sight as well as a control freak. I had to control all of my situations so that I would feel good about myself. I found myself sleeping a lot, as that helped me just to forget or at least temporarily forget the pain that I felt in the depths of my heart.
It was only when I had given my life over to the lord Jesus Christ that I began to discover that the image (idol) that I had built, of who I thought resembled me, actually was not the truth at all.
Those hurts, unkind words and lies that I had believed had kept me in a prison of fear and doubt about myself and my abilities as a person.
The Lord start to unravel those lies when I accepted him as my lord and Savior, the first thing he taught me was that I was now a new creation in him, the old person that I used to be was now dead, and He put His Holy Spirit within me to create a new me.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
In the book of Genesis, it tells us of how God created the world and everything in it and when it was all done, he said it was Good.
That meant, that God thought that I was good too, who he had made me to be was good and he was pleased with me.
The next thing that He did was to show me in his word that I was forgiven of all of my sin, and that He no longer held it against me, I was washed clean.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Then he showed me that he really wanted me to be on this earth and that I was very valuable to him,
Ephesians 1: 4-8
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Also Psalm 139 : 13 – 16
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.
As you can see, God sent his son Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for my sins and yours as well; he then said that because of that sacrifice I would become a new creation in him, holy and blameless in his sight. He predestined that I would be his daughter from before time began for us, and He even knit me together in my precious mother’s womb.
God showed me that I had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit because I believed in his Son, which was a deposit guaranteeing my eternal hope and future.
Ephesians 1: 13 -14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
Once he had established in my heart and mind the great love he had for me, and telling me that I was his possession he set about showing me, where my true image of myself needed to be.
I believe that the question that he asked me was this, “How long will you believe the lies of who other people say you are, compared to the truth of who I say you are?”
I had no real answer to that, as I had taken on and built a false image of who I thought I was; media, friends and family had helped erect this enormous idol in my life.
Why would I call it an idol? Because it is what I believed to be true about who I was, and I was not willing to believe God and his word over what I perceived to be the truth.
It was at this point in my walk with the lord that I believe the lord led me to read about many great believers who had walked this road before me, I read how they believed God and because of that unshaking belief, miracles happened, not only in their lives but in the lives of others around them.
I saw how they learned to rely on the Holy Spirit to direct them and bring hope and restoration to their lives as well as the lives of other people. I desired to experience that. So I searched scripture concerning what it meant to be a woman whose heart was totally devoted to God. I wanted to exchange that false image with the one that God was building in my life, with whom he said I was.
I discovered that the bible said, because I was now a believer in Christ Jesus, I was his child, (a princess!!!!). I was an heir with an eternal inheritance. I no longer had to rely on my own abilities and strength to see me through the day; I could and should run to God as he was my stability, (A Rock, a Fortress, a Shelter in times of trouble, Psalm 91).
God showed me that if I would learn to trust in him, I know longer had to rely on my own wisdom, strengths and ability, because I now could trust in him to help me through all situations and therefore, I could do all things through Christ who gave me strength.
I was starting to see, that in myself I was weak, full of fear and doubts, but with Christ living within me, my confidence and abilities, my strength, wisdom, boldness, love, kindness and peace all came from Him. I no longer had to look within myself to be all that I could be.
I can with confidence look to Christ for all of the help, and self-image that I need, as he is changing me daily to become more and more like himself.
I don’t know about you, but that is a way better image than the one that I had created for myself, Christ in me, the hope of my future Glory!