What if what you experience of yourself isn’t the whole truth about who you are?
Several years ago before we had kids, a single mom and her 7-year old boy were staying in our home for a few days. The first night of their visit, on my way to bed, I went into the bathroom and found my toothpaste open, sitting on the sink. And hanging right next to my toothbrush was this little boy’s dripping wet toothbrush.
“Ugh, God,” I complained, “I’m trying to love this little guy, but this grosses me out. You know I’m a germ-a-phobe.”
To my surprise, God replied immediately. “No, you’re not.”
His words came silently but firmly. For a few seconds, I stood there in my bathroom, considering what He’d said, turning it over in my mind—first like the words of a puzzle, then like the words of a love note.
What if I’m not bothered by germs? What if God really never designed me that way? What if that’s just something I’ve come to believe about myself? What if I’m bigger than that?
I was catching a new vision of myself, and I liked what I saw.
What if your experience doesn’t carry the full story of who you are, but God does? And what if believing what God says about you might over time change your experience?
I know a man with a mercy gifting who has struggled for many years to feel like he fits in with other, “tougher” men. But he’s learning to listen to who God says he is and to trust Him instead of pulling away from other men. One of his more stoic male friends recently told him, “I’ve always needed the kind of friendship you give me, but I never knew it was possible. Actually, before you, I didn’t know I needed it.”
So what about you? Where have you been letting your experience tell you who you are over who God says you are? Maybe your experience tells you . . .
Exercise doesn’t come naturally to you.
You can’t imagine life without ever seeing porn.
You’re not yourself until you’ve had a few drinks.
You’re timid and fearful.
You’re gay and can’t be fulfilled without a same-sex partner.
You and your spouse are far too different for this marriage to work.
You’re not the kind of person who hears from God.
What if God is telling you that even though it feels this way, something else is true of you?
Like any kind of longstanding pattern, reorienting your thoughts, actions, and feelings to align with who Christ has made (and redeemed) you to be, takes time and usually requires help. (Regeneration would be honored to walk with you!)
A change in my thinking helped me more fully welcome a fatherless boy into my home. My friend has given deep mercy to a once-hardened man.
What other gifts might come forth upon the earth at the “revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19)?
Question: What’s an area in your life where your feelings or experience seem to be telling you something different about yourself than who God says you are? Leave a comment here.