You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. (Isaiah 43:4, NIV)
All it takes is an instant for me to forget my royal identity and start labeling myself with lies. Like the time I froze up over a spatula while hosting a baby shower. I’d opened the doors of our tiny rental house, keenly aware of the four-foot scrape on the linoleum floor, and other dings and dents left by previous tenants. The pressure of playing hostess to a bunch of southern belles who knew how to act at a baby shower (way better than I did) was stifling. That’s when it happened. Someone asked for my cake server. Knowing I didn’t have one in the wedding-gift stash, I rummaged around in the junk drawer for an alternative. When I finally produced a semi-melted, black plastic spatula, I saw what looked like disdain as the other ladies scrutinized it.
And that’s when I froze. My spirit crushed as I accessed my most painful memories of being bullied in junior high school. In an instant, I was that sixth grade girl, fearful, weak, a nobody. I harshly labeled myself:
“You don’t fit in.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
How God Sees Me
Elijah knew his unique identity in the Lord. But he also knew labels. A prophet of God, he had a special message. One filled with heart for God’s people. And yet, King Ahab, with all his royal clout, labeled Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Ouch.
I love how Elijah dealt with this, and the general dejection of running for his life:
He took care of business – divine business. Read the story of Elijah praying for fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18:21-39. It’s awesome.
He got alone and took his heart to God. “I have had enough, LORD.” (1 Kings 19:4)
And what did God do? He provided for his needs.He fed him bread for the journey ahead.
So what can I learn from Elijah, who was human, just like I am? (James 5:17)
When I feel unloved, I take my hurts to God. He holds my hand and collects my tears in a bottle. (Isaiah 42:6, Psalm 56:8)
When I feel like nobody, I remember that I am precious and honored in God’s sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
When I feel like I don’t fit in, I remember He has not rejected me. (Isaiah 41:9, 10)
Friend, take your hurts to God. He’ll give you bread, sustenance, for the journey.
One Small Step
What lies are your inner bullies telling you? Are you listening to and affirming them?
Prayerfully write down who you are in God. Post on your bathroom mirror, your phone background, and above your kitchen sink. Let these beautiful truths sink in as they become louder than the mind clutter bullies.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26, NIV)
“Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15, MSG)
It was the closet that I’d been avoiding. It was organized, but there were simply too many things I didn’t need and wasn’t wearing. I stared at the same blouses that had hung there unworn since the last purge. I’d made progress, but not with these items.
Why couldn’t I part with these things?! Yes, they were beautiful. Some had been expensive. All were in perfect condition. But they didn’t fit me anymore. Physically they fit, but not in other important ways. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every time I had an occasion to wear them, I decided not to.
Why? In a word – fear.
If I get rid of this, will I have what I need?
But it felt deeper than just that.
As so often happens, I decided to pray. As a last resort. Sigh.
I asked God to show me what was going on.
As I pulled the hangers out one at a time, to look at each garment, I was surprised to realize each was “speaking” to me.
I soon discovered these clothes represented fear about the future, fear about who I really am (and who I am not), fear about my value and worth.
How is that even possible?! It’s a collection of threads, for heaven’s sake!
What’s more, so many of the messages were lies. On hangers. They said:
You’ll have to settle – you can’t get and don’t deserve what you really want.
This is too beautiful for you. You’re not that person.
You can’t rely on anyone but yourself.
If your husband dies, you’ll have to go back to work full time. Be ready.
Strength comes from looking good.
Look outside yourself for love.
You can’t trust your own experience; just ignore these emotions.
You can control everything – how you’re perceived, how others feel.
You can hide here. Be invisible.
I became aware of emotions, too.
The beautiful paisley skirt? I noticed sadness on that hanger. I’d worn it for my daughter’s baptism, but now it reminded me of my Aunt Barbara, who’d died shortly afterward.
When I can’t imagine my future I tend to cling to the past; to what’s familiar. Even when it doesn’t fit me anymore.
But fear calls us to prepare, to decide what action we need to take.
If you find yourself confronting fear in your own pursuit of the Clutter Free life, steep yourself in God-reality:
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Identify the fear or lie that each item brings up. Be specific.
Trust that God will take care of your needs. “Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.”Luke 12:5
Make a decision about what you will do – or not do.
In faith, make room for the new thing God is preparing.
As I read the final words in the 12th chapter of Luke, I felt myself exhaling.
“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.” Luke 12:24 (MSG)
God, help me to be grateful for all you have already given me. Help me let go and live lightly. Keep me open to receive what you want to give me, above all your love and direction.
Kimberly Gonsalves helps parents thrive while raising capable, connected, compassionate, resilient kids. An ICF-accredited coach, she combines Adlerian-based principles of mutually respectful relationships with the science of healthy habit creation, helping parents bring their best to their most important leadership roles. Married for 25 years, she and her husband have a young adult son and high school aged daughter. Her family provides daily opportunities to practice walking her talk. Her motto is “Be creative: make a new mistake today!”
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